In Buganda’s almost 100 years old history and 36 Kings, none of the 35 predecessors (Ssekababakas) lived beyond their 50th Birthday. Those who came close included the 30th Kabaka of Buganda, Ssekabaka Muteesa I, who reigned from 1856 until 1884 and died at the age of 47.
By Enock Mayanja Kiyaga
Come April 13 this year, the Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, will be celebrating his 61st birthday. This birthday is significant in a way that the Kabaka continues to surpass his own record of being the longest living Buganda monarch, for which we are thankful to God and continue to pray for his long life and good health.
In Buganda's almost 1000 years old history and 36 Kings, none of the 35 predecessors (Ssekababakas) lived beyond their 50th Birthday. Those who came close included the 30th Kabaka of Buganda, Ssekabaka Muteesa I, who reigned from 1856 until 1884 and died at the age of 47.
The second was Mutebi II's father, Edward Muteesa II (35th) who passed on in London at the age of 45. The one before him Daudi Chwa II (34th Kabaka of Buganda) died at the age of 43 and the list goes on and on. These historical facts put into context the significance of Kabaka Mutebi's 61 years and encourages us to continue hoping for his long and healthy life.
Kabaka Mutebi also went in the annuls of history as the only other Kabaka of Buganda who successfully restored his Kingdom after 27 years of abolition by former President Obote, following in the footsteps of his forefather, Ssekabaka Kimera. He personally took part by going to the battlefield and mobilised his subjects in the struggle against the individuals that had abolished the monarch in Uganda and successfully restored it after 27 years.
Buganda has had great kings in its almost 1000 year's history but as well, great Katikkiros. A lot has been written about the prominence of some Katikkiros like Apollo Kaggwa, Martin Luther Nsibirwa, Kawalya Kaggwa and Paulo Kavuma, which came within inches of the Kabakas they served. Similarly, under Kabaka Mutebi, we have had Katikkiros that include; Joash Mayanja Nkangi, Joseph Mulwanyammuli Ssemwogerere, Daniel Muliika, John Baptist Walusimbi and now Charles Peter Mayiga, who have all made significant contributions to the Kingdom.
Among the Kabaka's many titles in Buganda is one of "Maasomoogi" loosely translated as the "most foresighted" and this could not have been more relevant and meaningful as reflected in his choice of Katikkiros and other Kingdom officials. I will limit myself to the strategic appointment of Charles Peter Mayiga as the Katikkiro of Buganda for which the appointing authority must be applauded for the usual foresightedness among others.
In the three years of Katikkiro Mayiga's service, he has been able to achieve a lot for the Kingdom, but most outstanding is the aggressive mobilisation of the Kingdom subjects in all corners to interest them and take part in developing their Kingdom under the theme "Okuzza Buganda ku Ntikko". This is synonymous with invoking the true essence of team spirit commonly known as "Obuganda".
Mayiga's "Ettoffaali" project has been credited for spearheading efforts to restore the glory and pride of Baganda to inspire them to regain self-belief and work harder towards personal and common good.
He has also been able to traverse all the kingdom's corners and reach out to places where none of his predecessors has ever been before. In Uganda, for instance, the Katikkiro broke the record by reaching out to places outside Buganda like Mbarara, Mbale, Tororo and Busoga, among others. In Buganda itself he managed to reach out to the remotest of villages like Mannyogaseka in Kiganda Singo and Lubaali in Bukuya Buweekula Mubende district to mention but a few. Through "Ettoffaali" drive the Katikkiro has been able to mobilise funds that have led to completion of the spectacular Masengere building which was opened by the Kabaka as the main activity to mark his 60th Birthday. After Masengele, the Katikiro has now embarked on rehabilitation of Kabaka's lake, one of the surviving man-made lake in Africa and a product of Ssekabaka Mwanga's ingenuity.
In the diaspora, there used to be traditional cities where the top kingdom officials would visit in UK, US and Canada but ever since Katikkiro Mayiga took office, new grounds have been explored and the outreach programme expanded to cities like Dubai in United Arab Emirates, Mbabane- Swaziland, East London, East Cape Province, Cape Town, West Cape Province Johannesburg, Gauteng Province all in South Africa.
In the UK, for the first time the Katikkiro of Buganda is scheduled to visit places outside London for the first time. For instance on May 16, 2016, the Katikkiro will be visiting Scotland area headed by Omukungu Rebecca Lubega-Bukulu. The next day on 17th, the Katikkiro will make another maiden visit to the North of England with the main event taking place in Manchester. The Katikkiro's visit has already been well received by Ugandans in Leeds, Liverpool, Birmingham and surrounding areas. From Manchester, the Katikkiro will continue his Europe tour to Copenhagen-Denmark and Netherlands before returning to Kampala.
These visits have helped a lot to rejuvenate and inspire all Ugandans in the diaspora by giving them a sense of belonging, opportunity to promote their culture, especially among the Ugandan children born and raised abroad and re-assurance that the Kingdom belongs to and welcomes all. His reign has united more Ugandans in the diaspora than ever before.
All these achievements and others can rightly be attributed to the foresightedness of the appointing authority Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II and to pray that God continues to guide him, grant him good health and many, many more candles to blow. Happy 61st to the Kabaka. Wangaala Maasomoogi.
The writer is a Journalist and Deputy Kabaka's Representative in the UK and Republic of Ireland (Manchester area)