ISBN 9789970464012
Pages 522
Dimensions 254x178 mm
Published 2023
Publisher Progressive Publishing House, Uganda
Format Paperback

Abu Mayanja, MP

The Intellectual Star of Uganda’s “Struggle” for Independence and the Search for a Liberal Democratic State, 1929-2005

by A.B.K. Kasozi

This book, Abu Mayanja MP: The intellectual star of Uganda's "Struggle" for independence and the search for a liberal democratic state, 1929-2005, is a biography of a brilliant African politician, a history of a country and a continent told through the lens and activities of an individual politician.

The book breaks new ground in how Uganda and Africa have been viewed by academic and popular opinion. Mayanja's life sheds light on the last days of colonialism and the early postcolonial history of Uganda and other African countries. First, although Africa, particularly Uganda, is viewed by popular imagination through the images of dictatorial and corrupt African leaders like Amin, Obote, Mubotu, Bokassa, Bongo and others, there were, and still are, voices of reason who advocated for the advantages of good governance.

Secondly, it shows that it is not only heads of states who influenced the political direction of postcolonial states in the period just before and after independence. Other actors shaped the opinions of the masses and influenced how laws were formed and implemented. Thirdly, Mayanja is one of those public intellectuals who stood up to autocracy and what he thought should be done through words and actions.

He analysed political and social issues at a higher conceptual level than almost all his contemporaries He was indeed the "intellectual star" of Uganda's "struggle" for self-rule and the nine years that followed independence. His ridiculing of those in power for their failure to know or understand governance issues landed him in prison and denied him full participation in governing the Uganda postcolonial state. But he left deep footprints on Uganda's and East African political thought. Had his suggestions for managing postcolonial Uganda been followed, the country would not have suffered as severely as it has since 1966

Some prominent individuals have commented on his brilliance, including the following:

Writing to A. F. Brockway, (a UK MP) on 9th January 1953, the Chief Secretary of the Uganda Protectorate,

C. H. Thornley, noted that Mayanja was "one of the best brains the Protectorate has produced" (FCO 141/18246/25, National Archives, London).

"Mayanja was undoubtedly by far the best legislator of his generation, as Kasozi demonstrates from Hansards, newspapers, and pamphlets. He was also a public intellectual along the lines of Kofi Busia of Ghana, Tom Mboya and Ali Mazrui of Kenya". Professor Lwanga Lunyiigo.

It is true that," academically, Abu Mayanja was one of the brightest people of his or any other time Uganda has ever produced." Mayanja consistently, emphasized that what was taught should not only cultivate the minds of students but should also respond to the needs of the nation". 28th November 2022. Professor Frederick Kayanja, founding Vice Chancellor, Mbarara University of Science and Technology.

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About the Author

A.B.K. Kasozi

Kasozi, A. B. K. was a Research Associate at Makerere Institute of Social Research, from 2013 to 2017, a Vice Rector at the Islamic University in Uganda, from 1995 to 2002; and the founding Executive Director of Uganda’s National Council for Higher Education (UNCHE), from 2002 to 2012. He has taught at Makerere University, the University of Khartoum, the Islamic University in Uganda and other universities in North America. In 2007/8, he got a Fulbright New Century award to serve as a visiting professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York. He was a DAAD distinguished visitor to German institutions of higher learning in 2007. He is the author of several books, articles in academic journals and newspapers. He is a recipient of many awards including the Nyakasura School Achievers’ Award, (2002); the Nyakasura School Lifetime Achiever’s Award,(2014) and the Uganda Golden Jubilee Medal, (2013). He is a Fellow of the Uganda National Academy of Sciences.