Yahya Sseremba is a post-doctoral research fellow at Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISER), Makerere University in Uganda. He received his PhD from Makerere University in interdisciplinary social studies in 2019. He was awarded numerous awards from the Social Science Researdch Council’s Next Genderation Social Sciences in Africa Program: 2016 Proposal Development Award, 2017 Disserattion Research Fellowhsip, and the 2018 Complettion Fellowship. He also was a 2017 fellow of the Young African Scholars Program of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation.
The societies of the Rwenzori Region in western Uganda are involved in a long conflict that often becomes violent and claims lives. My proposed research seeks to historicize this conflict. I intend to problematize the two prevailing narratives explaining the conflict, including the cultural explanation, which says that the conflict is a struggle between the Bakonzo on the one hand and Basongora, Banyabindi, Bamba and Batoro 'tribes' on the other. This explanation takes "tribe" as a given and deprives ethnicity of its history and politics. The second narrative, which conceives the conflict in terms of class, does not explain the violence that cuts across classes. My proposed research shall begin by -- but go beyond -- examining the relationship between this conflict and the colonial regime's indirect rule policy that divided the African natives into separate tribal political units and tribal homelands. I examine the legacy of this divisive policy and how it informs the prevalent 'ethnic' tension.