THE GOD-GIVEN TASK OF SUBDUING
UGANDA, when Johnston assumed his Special Commission, was in its seventh year as a British Protectorate. With its eastern frontier running, as it then did, right through the middle of modern Kenya, along the eastern scarp of the Rift Valley, it was about three times the size of Nyasaland and had about two and a half times as many inhabitants. As in Nyasaland, the greater part of the area was still in practice unadministered. Garrisoned forts were strung out along the main lines of communication, along the caravan-route from the East Coast to Lake Victoria and on to Ruwenzori in the far west, and from Lake Albert down the Nile towards the recently reconquered Sudan. Real political control, however, was only exercised, and that cautiously, in the small area between Lakes Victoria, Edward and Albert which comprised the native kingdoms of Buganda, Toro and Bunyoro. Buganda had been since 1877 an important mission field of both the Anglican and the Roman Catholic Churches, and British political influence had inserted rather than imposed itself during a period of social revolution and civil war resulting from the conflicts between pagan, Muslim and Christian on the one hand, and between Roman Catholic and Protestant Christians on the other. Into this medley had come in 1889 the representatives of the Imperial British East Africa Company, first Jackson and then Lugard, who by astute diplomacy and by the judicious employment of a tiny force of independent troops had managed to hold the balance between the warring factions, and even in some measure to unite them under a coalition of Protestant and Catholic chiefs. The Imperial Government had stepped into the shoes of the financially ailing Chartered Company, in Uganda in 1893 and in Kenya—the East Africa Protectorate as it was then called—in 1895. Commissioners had been appointed, together with civil and military officers, and grantsin-aid had been voted on what was, by comparison with Nyasaland, the fairly liberal scale of about £50,000 a year for each Protectorate. Most important of all the building of a strategic railway from Mombasa to Lake Victoria had been set
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Publication information: Book title: Sir Harry Johnston & the Scramble for Africa. Contributors: Roland Oliver - Author. Publisher: Chatto & Windus. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1957. Page number: 287.