Problems Faced by the Nationalists in East Africa

Sectarianism and tribal differences. In Kenya KADU accused KANU of being a tribal grouping for the Kikuyu and Luo. In Uganda, the Baganda instead of uniting with the rest of Uganda, they wanted to pursue their own road to independence.

Differences in political ideologies. In Kenya, KANU favoured a strong central unitary government, while KADU wanted a federal type of government.

Differences on how to achieve independence. For example, in Kenya some nationalists like the Mau - Mau preferred violence and others peaceful means.

In countries like Uganda there were no accepted leaders with a strong local loyalty. Apollo Milton Obote was opposed by the Baganda because he came from the North. Muteesa was also busy with Buganda's secessionist demands.

Still in countries like Uganda, a uniform language was lacking. Luganda that would have worked was unpopular because of Buganda's already elevated position.

The death of the leaders of national movements for example, General China in Kenya instilled fear among the Africans on top of creating a leadership vacuum.

Disunity was also another big setback. The nationalist movement in Kenya failed to preserve its unity and split into KANU and KADU.

The religious differences also posed a threat. These were created by the missionaries among their converts making it hard for them to come together be it for a national cause.

In countries like Uganda, there was no national grievance on which to rally people. Hence lack of support from the local people.

In Kenya, there were threats of secession from the Somalis in the North and the Arabs from the coast. In Uganda, the Baganda also threatened to breakaway from Uganda.

The inferiority complex among the Africans also posed a problem. Many Africans underrated

themselves and therefore thought that they could not successfully fight the white man.

Tile operations of national movements were hampered by the lack of funds. They could not therefore have all the supplies needed, for example guns and ammunitions.

Some Africans collaborated with the colonialists and these weakened the nationalists. They saw no need of fighting the whites.

There was also a problem of foreign interference. For example in Kenya the Mau-Mau movement was crushed by a force flown from Britain.

The high levels of illiteracy among the East African people made it difficult for the nationalists to

explain to them the need for independence.

Lack. of proper organization. Most nationalist movements were not thoroughly organized and planned. Their wars were based on sentiments but not on well laid out military plans.

The poor transport and communication networks in East Africa also proved a problem to the

nationalists e.g. there were no telephone lines to ease the dissemination of information.

There was language barrier as a result of each tribe having its own language. Therefore the nationalists found it difficult to communicate to those who were not from their area.

Africans in Tanzania and Uganda were also locked out of active politics at the central level. This also

blocked the development of nationalism.

The violent and radical methods adopted by some national movements like the Bataka Federation and Mau _ Mau also denied them sympathizers on top of earning them bans from the colonial government

There was also hostility from the colonial governments towards those who were trying to agitate for political independence. For example the colonial government in Kenya disorganized and banned political parties like KANU and also killed some nationalists.

In Kenya and Uganda, the nationalists over concentrated In urban centers and hence denying

themselves support from the rural people.

Upcoming nationalists were arrested and imprisoned as a way of stopping their political activism for

example Jomo Kenyatta in April 1953. This curtailed effective mobilization.

The British policy of divide and rule also undermined the work of the nationalists. In Kenya and

Uganda the British exploited the rivalries between the different societies to consolidate their power.

In Kenya Europeans and Asians dominated the economic and political life. This completely closed Africans out and made it practically impossible for them to come out of the doldrums and fight for self rule.

There were also clashes among the leaders of the various nationalist movements. These wrangles

reduced on their effectiveness.