Buganda Kingdom – Biggest Kingdom in Uganda
Buganda Kingdom is gateway to Uganda the Pearl of Africa, one of the biggest and organised empires of the interlucustrine region not only in Uganda but Africa at large. The Monarchy is situated in the south-central region of country and crossed by the Equator in the heart of Africa originally regarded as “a dark continent” and it’s bordered by one of the largest fresh water bodies in the world (L. Victoria) to the south and source to the Great Nile the longest river in the world. The strategic location of the kingdom has secured it accolades to not only as a home to the Nation’s and political and commercial capital, Kampala but also the republic’s international airport (Entebbe) once upon time the largest in Africa.
The realm was instigated by invasion of Kintu Kato on the original inhabitants about five clans of Ngeye, Ffumbe, Lugave, Nnyonyi, Nnyange and Njaza clans.The invader was quite aggressive and persuaded the clan heads to collaborate with the former (Kintu) defeating the reigning leader of the time Bemba. Owing to his radical force by 13 clans on arrival to this place, a successful ride was inevitable with concerted effort from the converted inhabitants getting rid of their own oppressive leader Bemba who lost his “Buganda” residence in Naggalabi currently used by Baganda in coronation ceremonies for the a name “Buganda” was preferred for the kingdom that has remained to date. Naggalabi Buddo Coronation Site is a place in Wakiso district off Masaka road where the Kings of Buganda are enthroned from. This site is among the cultural tourist attractions in Uganda and one those that can be visited by travellers doing a Kampala City tour. Despite the coronation site not being in Kampala city, its near Uganda’s capital and therefore ideal for touring. Luganda is the official language for the Baganda (people in territories while Muganda for a single person). The practices and way of life exhibited here are commonly referred to as Kiganda customs nevertheless generic term Ganda substituted for the former
and can be applied interchangeably.
Buganda kingdom has had 36 kings right from Kintu Kato to the current Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II All with Palaces in their preferred points most notably on hills. The early history of Buganda has been passed down the generations as oral history where leadership in the kingdom is hereditary with subsequent succession from the royal clan by Princes mixed with violent and peaceful transitions and with modernisation and demise of elders it’s unfortunate that many source have come with various theories
about the kingdom.
The kingdom started as small territory consisting only four counties (Masaza) of Busiro, Busujju, Kyaddondo and Mawokota but later went on expanding at expense of rival territory of Bunyoro and other neighbours and currently constitutes to over 20 counties making the Baganda the largest portion of the population estimated at almost 20% of the total population out of the 36 million in the kingdom and Uganda at large and this could be attributed to the favourable standards of living, need to preserve cultures among
Spiritually, the Baganda believed in a spirit beyond visual one, who was referred to as “Katonda” phrase meaning “creator”. The natives took on a belief and strongly featured in their way of life looking at “God”
superior and second to none thus designated as “the father of the gods’. Below Him, were three main shrines dedicated one at Namakwa, Buzu and Bukule and dozens of Lubaale believed to intervene in the daily affairs of man for their exceptional powers during their stay venerated upon demise for their spirits were probable to intercede daily human and political affairs and among the notable ones were Mukasa (of the lake), Kibuuka (for wars) and Muwanga (the powerful) among others.
This foundation strengthened the moral ethics of Buganda society religiously and was preserved with commendable behaviours. It will be noted that the influence by the Guardians (gods) in any matters went on receding until it was ruined in 1884 by the invasion of the Christianity and Islam during the reign of Mutesa1 that disregarded the traditional norms of worship in shrines.
As of August 1996 46 clans were officially recognised by His Majesty’s government as constituting the clans of Buganda however oral history asserts that the kingdom is made of 52 clans, This anomaly is attributed to failure of some clans to establish their claims legitimately whereas some clans got extinct with no heirs to carry on the clan heritage therefore facts behind this mismatch is subject to debate and all clans are denoted by totems (Omuziro) adopted as opposed to being named after the founders. This made them (totems) identical with each clan with exception of the royal clan “Olulyo Olulangira” that had no totem attached to it owing to the genealogy sketched along the patrilineal streak right back to Kintu the founder of the kingdom. The Kabaka is always its head and Members of this clan are referred to as Abalangira for males and abambejja for females. Other notable clans include; Babiito, Ffumbe, Mbogo, Nkima, Mmamba, Nvubu and Nte clans among others which Mutesa II claimed to be a member (Nte) that caused shock and drew many Baganda into debates.
Economically, the citizens were hard working and cherished “Matooke” (banana) their staple food up to date but also carried out barter trade with her neighbours to exchange the grown cash crops as coffee and cotton with salt from Bunyoro, where in terms of industrialisation, there was iron smelting by the black smith to get hunting equipment as arrows, spear for fighting and hunting as well as jewellery items.
The Buganda King’s decision to declare his clan left lots of Baganda staunch Baganda completing on where kings are matri-lineal or Patri-lineal owing to the trend of evident love of the kings devoting their greatest love and affection to the clan of their Mothers. In conclusion, elders cleared misconception clarifying the relationship that most Kings would seek for reliable military support in case of attacks and attempted succession wars from the relatives from patri-lineal side. On the other hand the all clans had an equal chance to have representation for the kingship since the king married from all the clans upon discretion. The clans loosely autonomous even when they share similar culture, customs, rituals and languages.