Modes of British imperial control of Africa: A case study of Uganda, circa 1890--1990

Date of Completion

January 2009


History, African|Political Science, General|Political Science, Public Administration




This dissertation studies how Great Britain, as a colonial power in Africa, organized and exercised control at the international and domestic level to advance British interests in Uganda and beyond. The study combines archival primary sources with secondary materials for the period 1890-1990. These sources are supplemented with secondary materials drawn from the fields of history, political science, sociology and anthropology. The study incorporates materials from books, journal articles, newspapers, academic manuscripts and dissertations. While this dissertation is by no means an exhaustive study of the various modes of control that took hold in Uganda since its inception as a territorial state up to the period of juridical independence, it is hoped that its historiographical contributions for the post-colonial dispensation of Uganda will be threefold. First, it will systematically shed light on the combined influence of racist ideology, class, and politics in perpetuating informal imperial control in Uganda. Second, it will demonstrate that consolidating informal imperial control has required externalizing the legitimacy of the Ugandan state. This suggests that African leaders not supported by external powers may be externally delegitimized and their position made untenable. Third, it demonstrates that informal control of Africans constructed by external powers, by removing incentives for internal legitimacy, encourages violations of human rights as African leaders need not obtain the consent of their own people in order to remain in power. Furthermore, it advances the argument that democracy, the rule of law and human rights can be achieved in Africa if leaders enjoy internal legitimacy derived from the people.^