Evarist Ngabirano is a graduate student at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. He holds a Master of Advanced Studies in theology and religion (KU Leuven, Belgium), Masters of Religious Studies (KU Leuven, Belgium), a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Makerere), a Bachelors of Divinity (Makerere), and a Bachelors of Philosophy (Urbaniana University, Italy).
He has now received the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa fellowship three times (2017, 2018, 2019). His area of concentration is culture and politics in an interdisciplinary PhD in social studies program. His topic of research is “The Politics of Tribalism: A Comparative Study of Kigezi and Toro districts in Uganda.” Before joining Makerere, Ngabirano taught at Mountains of the Moon University in Fort Portal, Uganda where he directed the project to preserve and digitize the district local government archives and initiated the Centre for African Development Studies to study, research, publish and disseminate African indigenous knowledge. He has also previously received a University of Michigan African Presidential Scholars fellowship (UMAPS 2013) as an early-career faculty to prepare himself for graduate training.
I am focusing on the problem of nationalism and tribalism in postcolonial Uganda. The current scholarship point to the idea that the tribe is something that continues to be reproduced to explain postcolonial political tribalism in Uganda. I am doing a comparative study of the inter-tribal politics in Kigezi and the tribal politics in Toro to re-examine this essentialism of the tribe. Kigezi like Toro is multi-tribal, yet this fact has not given rise to political tribalism in Kigezi as it has in Toro. I argue that while colonialism predisposed community builders such as Isaya Mukirane of Toro to become tribal leaders who led a separatist movement, those in Kigezi namely Paulo Ngologoza were predisposed to build a community based on the geographical area of residence, Kigezi to define their people as Banyakigezi in the making of 'Kigezi and its people'. This study therefore seeks to historicize the making of 'Kigezi and its people' and the making of tribal politics in Toro in order to explain intertribal and tribal solidarity in postcolonial politics of Uganda. I critique contemporary scholars who maintain that the people of Toro tribalized themselves, and situate my argument within a more significant scholarly debate that traces tribalism from the colonial structure of indirect rule. As a methodology I focus on the colonial archives, media literature, ethnographical work of missionaries and oral interviews.