BY AHMED KATEREGGA MUSAAZI
Sixty-six year ago today, at Mulago hospital, Kabaka Ronald Mutebi ll was born, to Sir Edward Muteesa ll and Namasole (Queen Mother) Sarah Nalule, reason for today’s celebrations.
Later on in 1969 in exile, three years after the Kingdom had been abolished, Kabaka Mutebi, from London succeeded his father, paving the way for a Kingship coronation in 1993 after the country had been liberated in 1986.
Like any other society, Buganda evolved from a decentralized society to a highly centralized kingdom up to colonial period when it lost independence but remained an autonomous province.
It is believed through myths the creation of Buganda started with Kintu, the only man who lived on earth, with one cow whose dung and urine he fed. Later they went to Gulu in heaven where he married a beautiful daughter Nambi Nantuttululu, and while descending back to Earth with all domestic animals and plants, Nambi forgot her millet for her chicken and returned home, defying his fathers’ order not to.
It is after this unfortunate incident that her brother Walumbe accompanied her without her will, and came on Earth and started killing Kintu’s sons, however, they were so many that they could not be wiped out.
The story is not only similar to that of Kintu in Kitara (forerunner of Bunyoro and Ankole), the first man on earth who had three sons; Kairu, the father of cultivators, Kahima, the father of pastoralists and Kakama, the father of rulers, but in one way or another, is close to the Biblical story of creation in the book of Genesis.
Kintu is also in the legends of Basoga and Bagisu in Eastern Uganda, where he is said to have feared circumcision and ran to Buganda.
What is not in dispute however, is that, 700 years ago, Kabaka Kintu, after waging a protracted people’s war against Bemba’s tyrannical rule, he killed him at Naggalabi Buddo, now the coronation site – starting the modern dynasty of the Kingdom of Buganda.
Kintu held many sessions of Lukiiko (Parliament) of clan leaders and chiefs, and the famous one was at Nnono in Magonga in Busujju County- current Mityana District, where the unwritten constitution of Buganda was enacted.
As the Kingdom expanded and in order to preempt succession struggles, Kabaka Ssemakookiro, in the early 19th century after defeating his brother Kabaka Jjunju in a long civil war, over centralized the structure where hereditary leaders like clan heads and royals were barred from holding political offices. All officials appointed by the Kabaka and Saza chiefs were given additional roles at the courtyard where they had to report regularly and to attend Lukiiko sessions.
By the time Buganda became a British protectorate (1890-1893/4), it was highly centralized and that was confirmed by the Buganda Agreement of 1900 which only left the Office of Kamuswaga (Ssaza Chief of Kooki) as hereditary.
Although the Kabaka lost his sovereignty to the British and that is why Kabama Mwanga ll (1994-1897) fought them and lost, the British emphasized indirect rule, where the Colonial Governor could summon the Kabaka and his executives and instruct them on administrative issues. The Kabaka would then relay the instructions to downward structures for implementation.
One such example from the Colonial Office through the Government House, Entebbe was the campaign to join King’s African Rifles (K.A.R.) during the First World War that occurred between 1914-1918 where Kabaka Daudi Chwa ll himself participated inTanganyika and the Second World War (1939-1945).
In the NRA’s guerilla war, Kabaka Mutebi mobilizied his subjects to fully participate in the liberation struggle led by the NRM/NRA Supremo Yoweri Museveni.
After the war, negotiations started the climax being the Army Council Resolution in 1992 supporting the restoration of traditional/ cultural institutions in areas where they were cherished and restoring traditional and cultural property to legitimate owners.
This was enacted by National Resistance Council in 1993 that paving the way for coronation of Kabaka Ronald Muweda Mutebi ll on July 31st 1993 at Naggalabi in Wakiso where additional names of Luwangula and Kimera were given him, in memory of Kimera who restored the dynasty after the demise of Kabaka Chwa ll and there was no other royal to ascend to the throne.
The fundamental difference between Buganda under the past Kings and the present Kabaka is that in the past the Kingdom exercised political power even when the power of the Kabaka reduced.
By 1900, the Kabaka could appoint officials and chiefs subject to approval of the colonial governor. Then starting with 1955, the Kabaka was a titular head swearing in a Katikkiro elected by Lukiiko acting as an electoral college.
The only semblance of that was in the 2005 constitutional amendments that restored regional governments and regions of Buganda, Busoga, Tooro , Acholi and Lango were deemed to have accepted to form into regional governments.
However, infighting at Mengo between government and opposition supporters, Roman Catholics and Protestants/Muslims and reluctance of the center to devolve power to regions, sabotaged efforts that would have led to devolution of power to all regions of Uganda kingdom and non-kingdom as it is the case in South Africa.
It is our prayers, that Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi ll continues reigning like his fore fathers but allows his subjects to rule in accordance with the laws of the land, including provisions of the constitution, and where there are loopholes, the Kabaka and the President should have a hotline to iron out any real or imaginary threats to co-existence for the good of Buganda and Uganda.
Haji Ahmed Kateregga Musaazi is a veteran journalist and aCommunications Assistant with the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance.
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