WHY NO POLITICAL PARTIES WERE FORMED UNTIL 1952

The first major political party in Uganda was the Uganda National Congress (UNC) formed on March 2, 1952 by Ignatius Kangave Musaazi,

It was full of the Old Boys of Buddo and mainly opposed to Buganda's secessionist tendencies. Prior to this, no political party existed in Uganda. This was due to the following;

Uganda had no general pressing problem. No forced labour, Settler influence or land alienation as the case was in Kenya. It was such problems that necessitated the formation of mass political parties in Kenya, but these were lacking in Uganda.

Tribalism also hindered political awakening in Uganda. The tribe element was so high that people could not unite for even a common goal. For example, Buganda was busy demanding for her own independence and had on several occasions refused attempts aimed at bundling it with other provinces of Uganda.

Uganda did not have a strong White community that was perhaps threatening to snatch independence from Africans. The mass political parties in Kenya were a result of White settlers' attempts to transform Kenya into a Settler colony.

Uganda was considered politically docile (apolitical). Many of its people actually felt comfortable under British rule. This was common with those who had gained from the colonialists in terms of posts. Others felt that politics was above them.

A national language that would have fostered unity among Ugandans was also lacking. There Was a multiplicity of languages to the extent that it became difficult to bring people together. Luganda was feared because of Buganda's already privileged position.

The educated Africans who would have championed the formation of political parties were all comfortably employed in the civil service. This would not have been a problem if the law did not bar them form participating in politics.

Indirect rule encouraged parochial or self - centred thinking among the people. They looked at themselves as a tribe, region etc. This made unity hard to achieve

Indirect rule also made Africans satisfied and contented with the "small" offices they held in the civil service and district councils. They therefore forgot all about national politics.

Chiefs who owed their positions to the British colonial government did not want to lose them. They therefore resorted to making the work of young politicians who wanted to form political parties difficult. They (nationalists) were considered a threat to the status quo.

The squabbles, quarrels and conflicts that characterised the newly formed parties made the British believe that Ugandans were still politically immature and not ready for self - rule.

Uganda lacked a serious economic complaint against the protectorate government. Peasants were growing cotton, coffee and tea and thus had a steady source of income, unlike the Kenyans whose lands had been taken and then refused to grow cash crops. Therefore there was no poverty to force people to form national movements.

The nature of ethnic composition in Uganda (Bantu in the South and Nilotics in the North) created two natural divisions that were difficult to bridge to form a national party.

Traditional rulers especially in Buganda looked at the formation of political parties as a threat to

the monarchy and Buganda's special position.

The idea of political parties was foreign and hence lacked a local appeal. Those who were advocating for them were Ugandans who had been educated from out and by 1950 were few.

The leaders of political parties were not full - time politicians, this was because they had other jobs. This only involved in politics over the weekend. This delayed political awakening.

There was also religious rivalry among the various Christian factions. For example, the Catholics could not join with the Protestants to form one party. This frustrated those who wanted to form parties.

However, from 1952 political parties were formed in big numbers, starting with Uganda National Congress in 1952 by 1. K. Musaazi, the Democratic Party in 1954 by Matayo Mugwanya, the United National Party (1958), Uganda National Movement in 1958 by Augustine Kamya and others, UPC in

1960 by Obote and others, Kabaka Yekka in 1961 by Kabali Masembe. These parties were however, marred by disunity and by the time of independence many had closed.