Uganda, an East African British Protectorate for almost 70 years, from 1894 to 1962, is a landlocked country engaged in the process of nationbuilding. As of mid-1968, when research and writing for this handbook were completed, the Government, under the leadership of President A. Milton Obote, was implementing one of a series of 5-year development plans and promoting political and social unity. The Government and the ruling party, the Uganda People's Congress, headed by Obote, were acting under a new constitution which came into effect September 7, 1967, and although the 1 1/2 years preceding the adoption of this Constitution were characterized by fundamental political changes, the period after its adoption was one of relative political stability.
This book is an attempt to provide a comprehensive study of the dominant social, political, and economic aspects of the society, to present its strengths and weaknesses, and to identify the patterns of behavior characteristics of its members. Sources of information used included scholarly studies, official reports, local newspapers, and current journals. Relatively up-to-date economic data were available, but recent changes in political affairs and the current extent of political awareness and participation had received only fragmentary description and analysis in the literature available in mid-1968. Since most ethnographic reports have been based upon field work conducted before the 1960's, the impacts of the achievement of independence and acceleration of modernization upon the social customs of the people were difficult to assess.
The authors wish to express their gratitude to persons in various agencies of the United States Government who gave of their time, documentary possession, and first-hand or other special knowledge to provide data and perspective. The following persons each contributed a chapter to the handbook: Milena Choumenkovich, Andrew L. Habermacher, James L. McLaughlin, Barbara C. Skapa, and Michael Smith Wells.
The spelling of proper names conforms to current usage in the country. Prefixes, which are used in African languages to indicate categories--i.e., Mu- for man, Ba- for people, Lu- for language, U- for place--have not been added to the basic names of the various tribes. Thus, the Baganda are referred to simply as Ganda, and no indication of the plural is made. Place names are given as established by the United States Board of Geographic Names. A short glossary of foreign words, economic terms, and acronyms has been compiled for the convenience of the reader.