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Reinventing Uganda. Political imagination and social change after the fall of Idi Amin (1979-80) 
Florence Brisset-Foucault (IMAF)
Justin Willis (Durham University)
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Pamela Khanakwa (Makerere University)
History (x) Futures (y)
Neues Seminargebäude, Seminarraum 24
Saturday 3 June, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

This panel accounts for the multiple visions of a Ugandan future which were expressed and discussed after the fall of Idi Amin in April 1979. It seeks to showcase the ways in which marginalized actors made sense of this period and embraced political change in the pursuit of their own agendas.

Long Abstract:

On 11th April 1979, a broadcast went out on Radio Uganda announcing that Kampala had been "liberated" and now in the hands of the Uganda National Liberation Front. Seventeen years after independence - years that had seen the abrogation of the constitution, a military coup and terrifying violence - Ugandans had the opportunity to start again. The unhappy end to those turbulent months - the deeply flawed elections of December 1980 that brought president Obote back to power - has meant that the period has been largely ignored in scholarship and remembered as a time of wasted opportunities. This panel seeks to challenge that presentation, and to decenter our gaze away from ruling elites and Kampala's politics to account for the ways in which marginalized actors - women, "stayees" who had remained in the country under Amin, local leaders from other parts of Uganda, religious actors and ordinary people - made sense of this period and embraced political change in the pursuit of their own social and political agendas. For a few months, ideas about what the nation was, what it should be, and how it should be governed, were open for discussions. Ugandans pondered and argued - and took action - in pursuit of multiple visions of a Ugandan future. But not everyone had an equal voice. This panel aims to contribute more widely to a reflection on the meaning of political change and offer an unusual window into the breadth and richness of political thought in post-independence Africa.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Saturday 3 June, 2023, -
Session 2 Saturday 3 June, 2023, -