Far more promising as a source of political support were the British colonial officers, who welcomed the typing and translation skills of school graduates and advanced the careers of their favourites. The contest was decided after World War I, when an influx of British ex-military officers, now serving as district commissioners, began to feel that self-government especially in Buganda Kingdom was an obstacle to good government. Specifically, they accused Sir Apollo Kagwa and his generation of inefficiency, abuse of power, and failure to keep adequate financial accounts.
Sir Apollo Kagwa resigned in 1926, at about the same time that a host of elderly Baganda chiefs were replaced by a new generation of office holders. The Buganda treasury was also audited that year for the first time. Although it was not a nationalist organization, the Young Baganda Association claimed to represent popular African dissatisfaction with the old order. As soon as the younger Baganda had replaced the older generation in office, however, their objections to the privileges that accompany power ceased. The pattern persisted in Ugandan politics up to and after independence.
The commoners, who had been labouring on the cotton estates of the chiefs before World War I, did not remain servile. As time passed, they bought small parcels of land from their previous landlords. This land fragmentation was aided by the British, who in 1927 forced the chiefs to limit severely the rents and obligatory labour they could demand from their tenants. Thus the oligarchy of landed chiefs who had emerged with the Buganda Agreement of 1900 declined in importance, and agricultural production shifted to independent smallholders, who grew cotton, and later coffee, for the export market.
Unlike Tanganyika, which was devastated during the prolonged fighting between Britain and Germany in the East African Campaign of World War I, Uganda prospered from wartime agricultural production. After the population losses from disease during the era of conquest and at the turn of the century (particularly the devastating sleeping sickness epidemic of 1900- 1906), Uganda’s population was growing again. Even the 1930s depression seemed to affect smallholder cash farmers in Uganda less severely than it did the white settler producers in Kenya. Ugandans simply grew their own food until rising prices made export crops attractive again. In addition, on the Asian-owned sugar plantations established in the 1920s, labour for sugar-cane and other cash crops was increasingly provided by migrants from peripheral areas of Uganda and even from outside Uganda.
Two issues continued to create grievance through the 1930s and 1940s. The colonial government strictly regulated the buying and processing of cash crops, setting prices and reserving the role of intermediary for Asians, who were thought to be more efficient. The British and Asians firmly repelled African attempts to break into cotton ginning.