Reconstituting Ugandan Citizenship Under the 1995 Constitution: A Conflict of Nationalism, Chauvinism and Ethnicity

Published: 1/Jan/2000
Source: Centre for Basic Research (Kampala)

By John-Jean Barya, CBR Working Paper No.55; 55p. 2000.

This essay is divided into four sections. Section I introduces the concept of citizenship generally, and the context in which citizenship should be analysed in the light of the constitution-making process which led to the promulgation of the 1995 Constitution. Section II deals with the history of citizenship in Uganda, and in particular, the role of British colonial rules and laws in determining the major issues that would arise after independence concerning Ugandan citizenship. This section also deals with the earlier legal and constitutional experiences in dealing with the question, particularly the1962 and 1967 Constitutions, as well as the Citizenship Act as amended.

Section III, drawing on the background laid in the earliersections, analyses the struggle over the definition of Ugandan citizenship and the interests that contended during the 1988-1995 constitution-making process. In particular, this section identifies central issues that arose during this process, and attempts to explain why they arose, and why they were resolved in the manner that they were. The major issues concerned:

1) the fundamental question as to who is, or should be, regarded as a citizen and why;
2) related to the above was the question of tying citizenship by birth to membership of, or belonging to, an indigenous community or nationality (tribe) as at 1926;
3) the granting of citizenship to foreigners and refugees vis-a-vis the status of aliens;
4) dual citizenship

The final section is the conclusion, pointing out the significance of the constitution-making process on the question of citizenship, the socio-political implications, and the changes in the constitution and other laws that may be required. Our major findings are that citizenship is a political category and determinable under specific political conditions. Recommenations for requisite changes are also made.

Download file (OCR version): Barya Reconstituting citizenship CBR2000

Themes: Discrimination, Ethnic/Racial/Religious, Dual Nationality, Nationality and Refugees
Regions: East Africa, Uganda
Year: 2000