To mark 50 years of Uganda’s independence, New Vision will, until October 9, 2012, be publishing highlights of events and profiling personalities who have shaped the history of this country.
To mark 50 years of Uganda’s independence, New Vision will, until October 9, 2012, be publishing highlights of events and profiling personalities who have shaped the history of this country. Today, DOREEN MURUNGI, brings you the story of Daudi Kintu Mutekanga, one of Busoga’s great administrators.
For many, Busoga College Mwiri still evokes images of a giant reigning supreme for many. One of its pillars is Daudi Kintu Mutekanga, who toiled to see the school and education in Busoga take shape. He lived in times where education was not something society was keen about yet he carried the gospel of the book and ink and is remembered as a pillar when it comes to matters pertaining to education for many Basoga. His was not a gospel of words, he was a man of action, who spearheaded the construction of Kamuli High School (now Busoga College, Mwiri).
“Mutekanga valued education and apart from the infrastructural contribution, he ensured that all his children went to school,” says Professor David Bakibinga, the former deputy vice-chancellor of Makerere University and one of the recipients of Mutekanga’s legacy when it comes to educational lineage. A God-fearing man, he valuedreligion and hence Mutekanga spearheaded the construction of the Naminage and Kamuli (Bukwenge) churches.
The health advocate
In the early 1920s Bugabula was rat-infested and Mutekanga played a critical role in fighting the plague which was then called Kawumpuli. He worked closely with health officers by mobilising the people to construct proper stores and rat-proof buildings at each gombolola (county) headquarters. This supplemented granaries built on poles which he recommended that were not more than three feet high.
Mutekanga also battled the problems of venereal diseases, which were causing blindness and adultery. “Heavy sanctions were imposed to curb the disease,” Bakibinga states. He adds that to fight jiggers in parts of Busoga region.
Mutekanga mobilised people at local levels to help combat health epidemics in the region. He also effected the construction of the maternity home at Kamuli in 1921. The home was later closed in 1925, claiming it was not effectively utilised due to the small number of patients. This initiative was aimed at improving maternal healthcare which is still relevance as one of the United Nations Millenium Development Goals.
His role in road maintenance
The recent riots and demonstrations of dissatisfaction with the speed at which the Kamuli – Jinja Highway Road is being repaired is a reflection of the role Mutekanga played in maintaining roads within Bugabula county.
“Mutekanga’s campaign to maintain roads was so persistent that the roads around Kamuli had progressed from “rocky” in 1921 to “excellent” in 1929 based on the assessment of the colonial administration,” says Bakibinga.
Every Monday, the roads, particularly the one leading to the council (lukiiko) house, were swept. Trees were also planted at the road sides. The roads between Kamuli and Kakindu and from Ndolwa to Namasagali were renovated so that they could be used by lorries to transport cotton.
His contribution to agriculture
Mutekanga implemented the colonial government campaign to grow cotton, which increased the income of farmers. The period of 1918-1927 was noted for its lack of food and famine.
“There was a big campaign by the administration urging people to plant and conserve food. People were urged to construct granaries in their homesteads to preserve food,” Bakibinga notes.
Mutekanga also implemented the construction of rain-proofed granaries at each gombolola (sub-county) headquarters to provide relief supplies in the event of subsequent famines.
According to Bakibinga, Mutekanga ought for the health, wealth and welfare of the Basoga with projects such as the campaign to grow rice as a supplement to cotton, millet, maize and banana plantain (matooke).
Each gombolola (county) was also encouraged to cultivate an acre each of musambya trees to be used to construct public buildings.
Mutekanga ensured that gombolola chiefs did not abuse their authority, especially in relation to the imposition of fines. “He insisted that such cases be handled by the sub-county court. He also dealt with issues of absenteeism by gombolola and Bwesengeze chiefs from the saza lukiiko (county council). Disobedience or insubordination which were referred to the saza lukiiko or district officer, as the case required, the chiefs would be reprimanded, fined or dismissed,” Bakibinga states.
His devotion to the Kyabazinga
Sir William Wilberforce Nadiope was the kyabazinga of Busoga at the time of Uganda’s political independence and the first vice president of Uganda (1963-1966). Mutekanga became Nadiope’s regent. He took care of the personal, administrative and political affairs of the young chief and served as chief of Bugabula county for 20 years. By looking after Nadiope’s personal property, Mutekanga was, in legal parlance, a trustee for the young chief.
This included administering the fund into which the saza lukiiko (county council) had sanctioned an allowance of half a percentage of poll tax collections for the young chief.
Mutekanga sent Nadiope for his education to Kamuli High School, then to Mengo High School. In 1924 Nadiope was sent, together with Mutekanga’s elder sons to England to study at the Loughborough College in Leicestershire.
Nadiope returned to Bugabula in 1929 and worked under the supervision of Mutekanga as chief until 1933 when Mutekanga retired from the British colonial service.
Kintu Mutekanga was the son of Igaga of the musubo clan and the red small bird totem. He was sent by his father, Igaga, to work in the Gabula’s courtyard. While there, he acquired knowledge of the art of governance and administration.
He was a trader who dealt in simple agricultural implements, clothes, beads, tobacco and also bought cattle from Bukedi through barter trade. The trade also involved exchange of goats’ hides and skins with hoes from European and Indian traders which he then sold in Buganda.
In 1927, he acquired Naminage estate near Kamuli from the Indian proprietor, Nanji Kalidas Mehta. This was aimed at expanding his farming activities and also preparing for retirement. By the time he became a muluka (parish chief), he had become wealthy, a factor which exposed him as a potential leader. In 1906, Mutekanga became a sub-county chief of Gombolola Mutuba I Nabiwigulu, Kamuli. It was during this time that he got baptised and was named “Daudi” (David) at Kamuli Church.
Following the departure of Kasibante from Buganda as Katikiro (prime minister) to Nadiope, Mutekanga was appointed Katikiro in 1911. Two years later, Nadiope died and was succeeded by his three-year-old son, William Wilberforce Bwamiki Kadhumbula.
At the same time, Mutekanga was appointed by the Saza (county) Lukiiko (Council) to act as Kadhumbula’s regent from January 9, 1913, a position he held until January 20, 1933. Mutekanga constructed a number of buildings at Balawoli, Kidera, Naminage and Kamuli, which he let out to Asians shopkeepers.
He also bought land from Prince Badru Kakungulu in Kibuli, which was subsequently developed by one of his sons and a grandson. In addition, he owned lorries and a car with which he conducted a transport business. Mutekanga also owned canoes for fishing and ferrying people across the River Nile to and from the Buganda shore. Mutekanga’s story is a lesson in diversifying sources of incomes.
Mutekanga’s multitasking skills brought change in Busoga