Youth, Social Heritage, Political Manipulation and Pluralism in Kibaale District, Uganda
Ssentongo, Jimmy Spire
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Considerable research has been done about ethnic conflict in Kibaale. However, in spite their active role in the conflict, the youth as a category hardly feature in the studies so far done. Such omission leaves a knowledge gap that would cripple any analysis on the possibilities of co-existence in the area. This paper tries to explore the ethnic intricacy that the youth of Kibaale District are faced with and to discuss some of their views on the causes of the existing tension and possibilities for pluralism. The study is based on a single-site casein order to allow for in-depth analysis, basing on the researched people’s own accounts, and it is qualitative in approach. Data was collected on youths both in and out of school through triangulating one-to-one interviews, observation and focus group discussions. In the youth’s perception of the causes of ethnic tension in the area, political manipulation featured as one of the key factors, thus explaining why tension often escalates around election time. Other causes include memories of oppression, exploitation and marginalisation of the Banyoro by the British and the Baganda. Some elders use these painful memories to mobilise the youths‘to claim their time’ and not allow history to re-occur. The non-Banyoro, on the other hand, fear that they could be evicted from Kibaale, yet it is their new home. In this mazelike situation, the youths’ agency is seen in claiming their space in dealing with issues that concern them.