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Accepted Paper:

"They think the city belongs to them": Quotidian Events and Ruptures of Violence in Kampala  
Christine Chalifoux (Franklin Marshall College)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores violence that took place in Kampala, Uganda, in September 2009, and its effects on social relationships. During the days of unrest, friendships and kin bonds were broken as ethnic loyalties were tested. How do people trust others in a setting with quotidian ruptures of violence?

Paper long abstract:

Based on long-term fieldwork, oral history interviews, newspaper archives, and NGO accounts, this paper interrogates the precarity of ethnic identification and how it affects interpersonal relationships in Kampala, Uganda, through an account of the Baganda strike of September 2009. Baganda, the largest ethnic group in the country, maintain intense loyalty to their king, often overriding allegiance to the Ugandan state, and Kampala is located within the bounds of their historic kingdom. When President Museveni, a self-identifying Munyankole from Western Uganda, warned the king of Buganda against traveling to a contested district due to security concerns, many Baganda began setting up roadblocks throughout the city while searching for Banyankole to punish. Ankole actors were seen as inseparable from the actions of the president, and even Banyankole who were married to Baganda could not escape suspicions.

This paper explores how trust, friendships, and kin bonds can remain in a city where a seemingly mundane announcement can trigger an eruption of violence. Focusing specifically on a Muganda man married to a Munyankole woman, I ask: how did the events of 2009 affect their feelings of intimacy and trust? In moments of extreme ethnic allegiance, how does one prove loyalty to one's family and one's ethnic group in a mixed marriage? Showing the complicated dynamics of kinship and ethnicity, I argue that the Baganda strike shows how the politics of the state affect even the most intimate family relationships.

Panel P115b
Trust and Violence in Times of Political Transformation II
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -