Research Trip: London & Bristol, August 2007

It’s fairly difficult to do primary research on anglophone Africa if you live in France. There are some resources in libraries such as the Bibliothèque des langues orientales, the Bibliothèque de documenation internationale contemporaine (at Nanterre) and the Bibliothèque publique d’information (in the Centre Pompidou), but more obscure sources are often difficult to find. For this reason (among others, of course), I try to get over to the UK as often as I can.

In mid-August I visited London and hit a couple of my favorite research spots. The Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the School of Oriental and African Studies libraries have wonderful collections that are absolutely essential to my project. At SOAS, I spent some time browsing through the Uganda section (for anyone who’s interested, that’s call number series VJ on level D, stack #70). It seemed rather less chaotic than it has been in the past, though there were still some misshelved and missing books (we librarians notice that kind of thing). I also looked briefly at Lugard’s diaries1 for accounts of his presence in Western Uganda (at which time Bazarrabusa’s father, Paulo Byabasakuzi, was reportedly captured by one of Lugard’s followers).2 However, on this occasion I didn’t really have time to go through the diaries methodically.

At the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, I looked again at East Africa and Rhodesia, the very useful but rather voluminous weekly newsmagazine published in London by F. S. Joelson. Luckily, Google Books has started to index it, which helped me locate an interesting obituary of Bazarrabusa.

I also perused the official report on the 1961 Uganda Legislative Council elections.3 Though the first direct elections were held in 1958, Buganda, Ankole and Bugisu refused to participate. The 1961 elections were the first to be held nation-wide and with a common electoral roll.

The report indicates that Timothy Bazarrabusa stood as the UPC candidate for South Toro district (which comprised Busongora county and one sub-county of Bunyangabu). He lost to another Mukonzo, the Democratic Party’s Ezironi Bwambale (who would later be kidnapped and brutalized by Rwenzururu militants).4 According to testimony I collected in Uganda, Bazarrabusa’s defeat in this largely Konzo electoral district was probably linked to the fact that he did not speak Lhukonzo.

Bazarrabusa played an important role in preparing Uganda for these elections. He served on the 14-member Constitutional Committee of 1959 (known as the “Wild Committee” after its Chairman, John V. Wild) which Governor Sir Frederick Crawford appointed to plan the 1961 elections and reflect on the future form of Uganda’s government. The Committee’s report (referred to as the “Wild Report”) was a landmark in the march towards independence.5

As I was in England, I decided to visit another member of the Wild Committee, the historian Kenneth Ingham. Bazarrabusa and Ingham sat next to each other in the Legislative Council, and remained in contact when Bazarrabusa was High Commissioner in London and Ingham was Director of Studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. I had visited Kenneth at his home in Bristol before, but this time he kindly accepted my request to interview him. I hope to discuss our conversation in another post.

  1. Frederick John Dealtry Lugard, The Diaries of Lord Lugard, vol. 2, East Africa, December, 1890 to December, 1891, ed. Margery Perham (London: Faber, 1959). [Back to text]
  2. M. Louise Pirouet, “The Expansion of the Church of Uganda (N.A.C.) from Buganda into Northern and Western Uganda Between 1891 and 1914, with Special Reference to the Work of African Teachers and Evangelists” (D. Phil dissertation, University of East Africa, 1968): 380. I will address other theories about Byabasakuzi’s capture in a later post. [Back to text]
  3. R. C. Peagram, Uganda Legislative Council Elections, 1961: A Report on the General Election to the Legislative Council of the Uganda Protectorate Held in March, 1961 (Entebbe: Government Printer, n.d. [1961?]). [Back to text]
  4. On Bwambale’s misadventures, see Tom Stacey, Tribe: The Hidden History of the Mountains of the Moon: An Autobiographical Study (London: Stacey International, 2003): 206-207. [Back to text]
  5. Report of the Constitutional Committee, 1959 (Entebbe: Government Printer, 1959). Bazarrabusa: A Ugandan Life will contain a detailed discussion of the Wild Committee. [Back to text]

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