Kabaka of Buganda

Ndawula of Buganda Kikulwe of Buganda Interregnum
The Kabaka's Palace at Mengo, Kampala

Kabaka is the title of the king of the Kingdom of Buganda.[1]:142–143 According to the traditions of the Baganda they are ruled by two kings, one spiritual and the other secular.

The spiritual, or supernatural, king is represented by the Royal Drums, regalia called Mujaguzo and, as they always exist, the Buganda at any time will always have a king. Mujaguzo, like any other king, has his own palace, officials, servants and palace guards. The material, human prince has to perform special cultural rites on the Royal Drums before he can be declared king of the Kingdom of Buganda. Upon the birth of a royal prince or princess, the Royal Drums are sounded by drummers specially selected from a specified clan as a means of informing the subjects of the kingdom of the birth of a new member of the royal family. The same Royal Drums are sounded upon the death of a reigning king to officially announce the death of the material king. According to Buganda culture, a king does not die but gets lost in the forest. Inside Buganda's royal tombs such as the Kasubi Tombs and the Wamala Tombs, one is shown the entrance of the forest. It is a taboo to look beyond the entrance.

Election of kings

Buganda has no concept equivalent to the Crown Prince. All the princes are equally treated prior to the coronation of a new king following the death of a reigning monarch. However, during the period of a reigning king, a special council has the mandate to study the behavior and characteristics of the young princes. The reigning king, informed by the recommendation of the special council, selects one prince to be his successor. In a secret ceremony, the selected prince is given a special piece of bark cloth by the head of the special verification council. The name of the "king-to-be" is kept secret by the special council until the death of the reigning king. When all the princes and princesses are called to view the body of the late king lying in state, the selected prince lays the special piece of bark cloth over the body of the late king, revealing himself as the successor to the throne.

The word Kabaka means ‘emissary’, and sometime in the past an overseer sent from Bunyoro had set himself up as an independent ruler.

-Kabaka Mutesa II.[2]

By tradition, Baganda children take on the clan of their biological fathers. It is a common misconception that the Kabaka (king) of Buganda takes his clan from his mother. Some go as far as saying that Buganda's royal family was matrilineal. Neither of these assertions is true.[3] The Kabaka has his own clan which is called the royal clan "Olulyo Olulangira". Members of this clan are referred to as abalangira for males and abambejja for females. The misconception arose in part because the royal clan has no totem which is something that all other Baganda clans have. However, the totem should not be confused with the clan. The totem is just a symbol but the clan is a matter of genealogy. The royal clan has its own genealogy traced along the patrilineal line, extending all the way back to Kintu.[4]

The firstborn prince, by tradition called Kiweewa, is not allowed to become king. That was carefully planned to protect him against any attempted assassinations in a bid to fight for the crown. Instead, he is given special roles to play in the matters of the royal family and kingdom. Thus, the name of the possible successor to the throne remains secret.

Kings of Buganda

The following are the known Kings of Buganda, starting from around 1300 AD.[citation needed]

  1. Kato Kintu, early fourteenth century
  2. Chwa I, mid fourteenth century
  3. Kimera, c.1374-c.1404
  4. Ttembo, c.1404-c.1434
  5. Kiggala, c.1434-c.1464 and c.1484-c.1494
  6. Kiyimba, c.1464-c.1484
  7. Kayima, c.1494-c.1524
  8. Nakibinge, c.1524-c.1554
    a period of Interregnum, c.1554-c.1555
  9. Mulondo, c.1555-1564
  10. Jemba, c.1564-c.1584
  11. Suuna I, c.1584-c.1614
  12. Sekamaanya, c.1614-c.1634
  13. Kimbugwe, c.1634-c.1644
  14. Kateregga, c.1644-c.1674
  15. Mutebi I, c.1674-c.1680
  16. Juuko, c.1680-c.1690
  17. Kayemba, c.1690-c.1704
  18. Tebandeke, c.1704-c.1724
  19. Ndawula, c.1724-c.1734
  20. Kagulu, c.1734-c.1736
  21. Kikulwe, c.1736-c.1738
  22. Mawanda. c.1738-c.1740
  23. Mwanga I, c.1740-c.1741
  24. Namuggala, c.1741-c.1750
  25. Kyabaggu, c.1750-c.1780
  26. Jjunju, c.1780-c.1797
  27. Semakookiro, c.1797-c.1814
  28. Kamaanya, 1814 - 1832
  29. Suuna II, 1832 - 1856
  30. Muteesa I, 1856 - 1884
  31. Mwanga II, 1884 - 1888 and 1889 - 1897
  32. Kiweewa, 1888 - 1888
  33. Kalema, 1888 - 1889
  34. Daudi Chwa II, 1897 - 1939
  35. Mutesa II, 1939 - 1969
    a period of Interregnum 1969 - 1993
  36. Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, 1993 - Present

Further reading


  1. ^ Stanley, H.M., 1899, Through the Dark Continent, London: G. Newnes, ISBN 0486256677
  2. ^ Mutesa, Sir Edward F, Desecration of My Kingdom, 1967.
  3. ^ "Abalangira, Buganda's Royal Clan". www.buganda.com.
  4. ^ "Amannya Amaganda n'Ennono Zaago", Michael B. Nsimbi