21 Pages

Colonial Chiefs and the Making of Class: A Case Study from Teso, Eastern Uganda

ByJoan Vincent

This chapter presents the study of Teso District, eastern Uganda, during a period of colonial administration from 1896 to 1927. It discusses the brief historical overview of the establishment of colonial administration in Teso District where Baganda conquest and British consolidation effectively undermined the diffuse power structure of a localised Iteso gerontocracy. In neighbouring Teso, the British administration was faced with chiefs who were 'bureaucratic creatures of the colonial government. Between 1896 and 1934 the amorphous population of Teso was transformed into a closely administered, cash-crop growing, taxed and locally represented peasantry. In 1924 native councils were introduced in Teso, largely so that elected representatives might offset the powers of the chiefs and a voice be given to peasant discontent. The exploitative nature of the chiefly class that grew up in Teso between 1896 and 1927 is a matter of record.