How many traditional kings are there in Uganda

AFRICA / UGANDA - The "historical kingdoms" in Uganda. background

Wednesday September 16, 2009

Kampala (Agenzia Fides) - The unrest that broke out in Uganda last week between the police and the supporters of the "Kabaka" king of Buganda, Ronald Muwenda Mutesi II, drew the attention of the country and the international community the historical kingdoms.
The problem goes back to the 19th century, when colonization disturbed the balance that had prevailed between the various kingdoms that are on the territory of what is now Uganda. The English colonial administration integrated the various Ugandan kingdoms according to the principle of "indirect rule" which made the traditional African and Asian rulers into agents of British colonial rule.
The largest of these kingdoms was and still is Buganda, which stretches from central Uganda to the shores of Lake Victoria. In exchange for cooperation, the English colonial rulers allowed the King (Kabaka) of Buganda to expand their own empire at the expense of the Kingdom of Bunyoro, which led to a dispute between the two empires that has not yet been resolved.
The Kingdom of Bunyoro today has 700,000 inhabitants and is located in western Uganda on the shores of Lake Albert. Bunyoro (which is ruled by an "Omukama") was one of the most powerful from a military point of view at the time of the conquest by the colonial powers and opposed colonization. Therefore it was punished by the English with the transfer of some areas to Buganda. The recent discovery of important oil deposits on their own territory made control of the empire by the central government in Kampala relevant from a strategic point of view.
On the eastern shore of Lake Victoria lies the Busoga Kingdom, one of the country's oldest kingdoms. It is ruled by a "Kyabazinga" who rules over around 2 million subjects. There, after the death of King Henry Wako Muloki in 2008, fights for the succession broke out. The coronation of Edward Columbus Wambuzi as the new king of could not completely settle the dispute. Also in western Uganda is the Toro Kingdom with around 800,000 subjects, which has close ties to the Libyan head of state Muammar Gheddafi.
In northern Uganda, Acholi live in groups of clans, each of which is headed by the so-called "Rwot" as chief. After two decades of violence against civilians by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), around 2 million Acholi were forced to seek protection in refugee camps. However, since the members of the LRA are themselves Acholi, they are held accountable by the authorities according to the principles of traditional justice known as “mato oput”. Guilty people are acquitted when they admit their guilt and show remorse. The aim is to help integrate former LRA fighters.
In southwest Uganda, the Banyankore (or Banyankole) are divided into two groups: the smaller group of Bahima (shepherds and ranchers) and the larger group of Bairu (farmers). These are the most important empires from a historical demographic point of view, but there are several others recognized by the Kampala government.
After independence (1962), relations between the Kampala government and the various empires were at the center of political discussion between supporters of a centrally governed state and those who wanted a federation within which the kings would continue to have political and administrative power should. After the fall of Milton Obote (1966), the empires were abolished (1967). They were reintroduced as "cultural institutions" in 1993 by the current President Yoweri Museveni, whose takeover of power was supported by the subjects of the Buganda Empire.
The Buganda has been in conflict with the central government in Kampala since it asked again two years ago to convert Uganda into a federal state. Against the backdrop of the presidential elections in 2011, the disagreements between the various kingdoms should be handled with caution, otherwise they could endanger the cohesion of the country. (LM) (Fides Service, 16/09/2009 - 54 lines, 618 words)


Share: