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Patrons, Clients, and EmpireChieftaincy and Over-rule in Asia, Africa, and the Pacific$
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Colin Newbury

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199257812

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199257812.001.0001

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East-Central Africa

East-Central Africa

(p.125) 8 East-Central Africa
Patrons, Clients, and Empire


Oxford University Press

The kingdoms of East-Central Africa provide examples of patrimonial states utilized for the purposes of European over-rule. In societies where political clientage was ubiquitous, the Kingdom of Buganda became the archetype for a chiefly oligarchy with guaranteed status and lands, as well as a surrogate agency for administering segmentary clans in the region. It became difficult later to preserve this legacy of British administration within a unitary state, as Uganda moved towards an elected government in the 1950s. But the Kabaka of Buganda reinforced the patrimonial system of allocating offices and resources; and he became Chief of State, until his kingdom was dismantled by President Obote in 1966. Similar policies of using royal lineages to administer a subordinate peasantry were applied by German and Belgian officials in Rwanda and Burundi. The exacerbation of traditional patron client divisions by administrative patronage had disastrous consequences for relations between Tutsi and Hutu at decolonization in 1962.

Keywords:   Kabaka, patrimonial states, segmentary clans, Buganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tutsi, Hutu, patron client divisions, decolonization

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