How Buganda expanded from a humble beginning to a state


Buganda was founded around A.D 1200. It consisted of three counties of Busiro, Mawokota and Kyadondo.

Baganda were originally divided into six clans, each with a separate totem. Although the six clans were equal, the leader of Civet Cat (Ffumbe) clan was leader of all clans, making him the first leader of Buganda.

The first Kabaka of Buganda was Kato Kintu. Kabaka Kintu deprived clan heads of their political and judicial powers, leaving them with cultural powers only. He created thirteen clans to counter the original six and made himself the leader of all clan heads (Ssabataka).

Baganda were divided into royals and non-royals. The non-royals were subdivided into three groups: clan leaders (Bataka), civil/political leaders (Bakungu), and peasants (Bakopi).

All the land was entrusted to the king for use by all without discrimination. (The 1900 Buganda Agreement between Buganda and Britain changed this arrangement giving land to the Kabaka, saza chiefs, few prominent Baganda and the Crown, leaving peasants who constitute the majority of Baganda out in the cold. Land ownership in Uganda including in Buganda is currently changing hands once again). The Kabaka was supreme ruler.

At the beginning, clan leaders were hereditary and were powerful. Kabaka Mawanda made some changes and gradually eliminated most hereditary leaders. Ultimately power was centralized in the Kabaka. Kabaka Mutesa I had absolute power and his word was final, reminiscent of Louis XIV of France.

The expansion of Buganda began in the 17th century. The areas of Butambala, Gomba, Busujju and Southern Singo were conquered and colonized or annexed to Buganda.

Conquest and colonization continued in the 18th century. Buganda gained territory largely at the expense of Bunyoro. The counties of Kyagwe, Singo and Bulemezi were colonized. Buddu was added to Buganda around 1770.

Buganda gained more territory when six counties of Bunyoro were forcibly annexed by Britain to Buganda in 1893 as reward for Buganda’s support in Britain’s defeat of Bunyoro resistance to colonial rule. Buganda also absorbed Kokki and Kabula.

The acquisition of guns by the kings of Buganda helped in Buganda’s colonization process. For example, by 1880, Kabaka Mutesa I possessed 1000 guns. The possession of guns and Anglo-Buganda alliance speeded up the geographic expansion of Buganda.

Contrary to popular belief, Buganda is an amalgam of many clans with different histories and cultures, with some clans bigger and more powerful than others. Given this background, secession of Buganda from Uganda could open a pandora’s box that may be difficult to close.

By way of illustration, soon after Dudayev announced Chechen-Ingushetia sovereign and independent of Soviet Union on November 1, 1991, the Ingush people split from the Chechens. On November 30, 1991, the Ingush people voted to remain within the Russian Republic.

Thus, there is a possibility that some clans in Buganda may choose to remain within Uganda should Buganda attempt to secede.

The information is not exhaustive. It has been provided on demand as part of civic education.

Eric Kashambuzi

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: