PhD Public Defence: Mr. Frank Emmanuel Muhereza, MISR

Event Date
Wednesday, 24 January 2018 - 2:15pm
Event Info

The Director Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) Prof. Mahmood Mamdani cordially invites you to the PhD Public Defence

CANDIDATE: Mr. Frank Emmanuel Muhereza

THESIS TITLE: The Transformation of Karamoja: Sedentarization of Pastoralists and the Adoption of Settled crop farming.

SUPERVISOR: Prof. Mahmood Mamdani

OPPONENT / DISCUSSANT: Professor Issa G. Shivji - (Professor Emeritus, University of Dar es Salaam and Director, Nyerere Resource Centre)

ABSTRACT: This dissertation seeks a paradigm shift in the conceptualization of the problems engendered by initiatives aimed at the transformation of Karamoja as an entry point to explain why interventions by the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government in Karamoja aimed at sedentarization of pastoralists and adoption of settled crop farming and large scale commercial livestock ranching: (a) are unlikely to have the intended effect of delivering Karamoja from its unending vulnerability to annual food shortages, and halting the rising incidence of absolute poverty among the majority of ordinary Karamojong, and (b) have instead facilitated not only the extension, entrenchment and consolidation of political control over Karamoja, but also laid the foundation for an unbridled exploitation of its natural and other resources. I undertake an analysis of the epistemological and theoretical foundations of development pathways preferred by different governments since the colonial period to identify their ruptures and continuities, in order to mobilize Karamoja's past experiences with government interventions, drawing lessons from it, to illuminate the complex dynamics of Karamoja's present, as a strategy to re-imagine Karamoja's future.

In discussing the various ways different forms of state violence have played a critical role in re-ordering Karamojong society, I analyze how Karamojong cattle have been instrumentalized by all governments in Uganda that have all sought the sedentarization of the Karamojong, and why it is the colonial state and the NRM that were the most far-reaching, and the implications of the trajectories of development that ensued from the instrumentalization. I argue that unlike the colonial state whose preoccupation with the commodification of Karamojong cattle to generate revenues undermined its inability to resolve the contradictions between native administration and traditional authority structures, culminating into the blossoming of the tribal war machine on the basis of which colonial political control was resisted, the NRM, unlike all post-colonial past governments, instrumentalized Karamojong cattle in ways that resulted in wide-spread cattle dispossession, heralding the dismantling of the Karamojong tribal war machine and co-optation of the traditional authority structures which ended Karamojong resistance to political control. This enabled the return to Karamoja of the 'absent state of Uganda'.

In challenging the underlying logic of seemingly neutral development programs that __use poverty as their entry point, but end up re-engineering the Karamojong society in ways that make the development programs levers for the enactment of state power, while __having very limited effect on poverty, the dissertation calls for a shift from conceptualizations that __construct Karamoja as a 'colonization project' of governments, to embracing Karamoja as a 'political project'. The latter entails acknowledging the Karamojong as a part of the people of Uganda with rights of citizens, including having more say on their ways of life and use of their natural resources, and being able to do something positive about it.

For more details visit the MISR Website

Event Venue
Seminar Room 1, Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda
Category by Unit
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Contact Info
Contact Info: 
Office of the Director, Makerere Institute of Social Research-MISR, CHUSS, Makerere University, Email: director[at]