By Mulengera Reporters
From the comprehensive research we have been carrying out for some time, Mulengera News has established and come up with a long list of diehards who have been there and stood by Ronald Muwenda Mutebi since he became the Kabaka of Buganda. He was enthroned in July 1993 and the following story reflects on the profiles and the roles played by different key personalities in ensuring the Buganda King remains okay. These are actors whose role and support to the Kabaka has glaringly been manifested since 1993 and even before. They have simply been key in the King’s life and meant a lot for the Kingdom of Buganda over the years.
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The very informative book titled “King on the Throne [authored by Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga]” is one of the many pieces of literature we have had to review to be able to come up with this part I of the very informative weekend feature-and as such, we shall conspicuously be referencing on the Katikkiro’s book in our narration. And here we go:
CHARLES ROGERS DDUNGU: This was Mutebi’s personal friend in UK and businessman as well. In the early 1990s, when the Banda Palace and all the others were still a mess, Ddungu donated his posh home in Bweyogerere to Mutebi who always retreated there whenever he needed a quiet place to chill from. It’s here that Mutebi would meditate and reflect on life.
EDWARD NSUBUGA: He was a city tycoon who traded in UK as well where he had properties. Mutebi often resided at his home while trying to make ends meet in UK exile. Mutebi was merely a prince those days without any certainty he would ever reign as king in his father’s place back home in Uganda. He actually left UK to return home the same period Mutebi returned just to be there for the young Ssaabataka.
EDITH NAGUJJA NAKAZAANA: She was Mutebi’s maternal grandmother having been one of the sisters of Mzee Kisosonkole’s wife Victoria (mother of Kabaka’s mum Sarah Nalule Kisosonkole). The parental loving old lady filled the vacuum created by the death of Mutebi’s mum in 1974. The old woman looked after Mutebi pretty well like her own son while in London. The orphaned Mutebi for some time lived at her flat. She loved Mutebi very much even after he became king. She demonstrated this in 2002 when Mayiga checked on her during his visit to UK-having been detailed by Mutebi to check on her. She gave him an envelope full of pounds to bring to her grandson Mutebi. He was already doing well as of 2002 and her offer showed how much she loved him. In fact she rang Mutebi and alerted him of the envelope and by the time Mayiga (11 years before he became Katikkiro) landed at Entebbe, Mutebi was already calling about it.
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JOLLY JOE KIWANUKA: This sports enthusiast was also an iconic activist of Uganda’s independence struggle and can be said to have epitomized defiance at that time. City lawyer Kiwanuka Kiryowa (who works with President Museveni’s son in law Edwin Karugire & is also the Attorney General) is currently one of Jolly Joe’s Kiwanuka easily noticeable descendants. He is actually his direct grandchild. In 1969, Jolly Joe a renowned militant risked the Obote wrath by boarding a plane at Entebbe for a journey to London where he sneaked the culturally very important bark cloth (akabugo) without which younger Ronnie Mutebi couldn’t have been able to perform the ritual required to qualify him to succeed his father Mutesa II who died that same year in London. In his book “King on The Throne,” a grateful Mayiga notes this was a risky venture and could have led to Jolly Joe’s death if the Obote system was to intercept him. This made Mutebi the undisputed successor (to the Buganda throne) decades before the Nagalabi coronation of 1993 which to many was merely a ceremony ratifying what he had already become in 1969 when he laid the Jolly Joe-delivered bark cloth to his deceased father’s face which commenced his headship of Buganda kingdom.
MARGARET KAVUMA ODAKA: She was famously married to UPC Strongman Sam Odaka (now deceased) who was an influential finance and foreign affairs Minister in Obote I & II administrations. Her father was Paul Kavuma, Buganda’s former Katikkiro. Margaret was Mutebi’s mother Sarah Nalule Kisosonkole’s best friend. In peace time, she was always with her at Mutesa II’s Bamunanika Palace which in fact became Kisosonkole’s marital home (just like the Kireka Palace is for Nabagereka). When time came to deliver baby Ronnie, Margaret accompanied Kisosonkole to Harrods garments store in London to shop on the eve of future Buganda Kabaka’s birth.
Yet the more important Margaret Kavuma played was in January 1999 when three rebel Princesses Catherine Nkinzi, Dorothy Nabweteme & Elizabeth Nakabiri (Mutebi’s paternal aunties) disputed Mutebi’s paternity. Specifically they claimed, without proof, that Mutebi was fathered Daudi Ochieng, an Acholi politician who was their brother Mutesa’s close friend and political ally in KY. All this was well captured in Monitor newspaper of 23/1/1999 which Mulengera News accessed and reviewed as part of our research preceding the publication of this news article.
The three princess claimed this was a secret their brother Mutesa II had told them about when still alive. Ochieng was also Acholi elder Mzee Martin Aliker’s brother and the background to this fallout was that, because he was also financially still struggling as a newly crowned king, Mutebi wasn’t financially looking after them and like many members of the royal family, the trio was materially very needy. To access some financial benefits and some visibility in the public, the trio arbitrarily captured management and control of Kasubi Royal tombs and installed Prince Irene Ndagire as the caretaker (Nalinya wa Masiro). She had been Mutebi’s co-heir as well.
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The trio’s rebellious act was declared to the press on 17/1/1999 and besides blackmailing Mutebi, the trio was seeking to control the money collected from hundreds of tourists visiting this UNESCO-recognized cultural heritage every year for their upkeep. Irene Ndagire was also working in State House as President YK Museveni’s Private Secretary/Advisor on poverty eradication. Ndagire, who was backed by soldiers commanded by Kakooza Mutale, was being imposed on the Masiro against Nalinya Victoria Muggale who Kabaka Mutebi had appointed. Traditionally the Masiro caretaker is hereditary but Kabaka has power to ratify/veto whoever ascends this office. The trio argued that Mutebi had no power to frustrate their Ndagire because he was after all not even Mutesa’s son. Mutebi declared Ndagire installation null and void and uncertainty reigned across Buganda.
There was a lot of anger directed at Gen Museveni’s central government who many saw as sponsoring these proxies to destabilize Mutebi’s throne. Militant members of Bazukulu ba Buganda pressure group held a massive demo on the streets denouncing the trio and gave Gen Museveni an ultimatum to fire Irene Ndagire or else he would pay heavily in the subsequent 2001 elections for her demeaning actions. The Museveni government was officially silent and it was only Miria Matembe (then a powerful Minister) who defied that official position and bashed the trio saying their activities were unethical and prone to cause instability. Thick-skinned as always, Mutebi remained silent through all this but prompted Margaret Kavuma who was taken to the Buganda Lukiiko and shared photos clearly showing Mutesa was his father.
Margaret Kavuma Odaka, who died a few years ago, had many such photos having kept them since 1974 when Mutebi’s mum died. The photos included fun being had on the holiday in Southern France where Mutesa and Sarah Kisosonkole went and in his book, Desecration of My Kingdom (which Mulengera News equally reviewed as part of this research), Mutesa himself confirms that is when Mutebi was conceived. Margaret Kavuma Odaka had many photos to that effect whose sharing emboldened the Lukiiko members many of whom were becoming nervous about the possibility of Mutebi not being Mutesa’s biological child. Within a week after now Minister Joyce Nabbosa Sebugwawos had led a riot during which angry protestors forced the rebel Princesses out of the Kasubi Tombs, Lukiiko was convened during which Kabaka sent his man John Katende to make a presentation assuring everybody all was well. Katende still came with Margaret Kavuma to collaborate whatever was being said. The fact that she was Sarah Kisosonkole’s housemate in Italy, where they were nursing students, at the time she made the romantic trip to France, put Margaret Kavuma Odaka in a specially privileged position to counter what the rebel Princesses were saying.
GEORGE MAWANDA CHWA: He was Mutesa’s elder brother who actively contradicted what the poverty-stricken trio (of the three rebel princesses) was saying about Mutebi. He was then heading the royal clan members and his word carried weight. He spoke to the press and authoritatively confirmed the narrative which John Katende and Margaret Kavuma Odaka were promoting as accurate. He said the rebel Princesses weren’t talking for the royal clan but merely self-seekers out on a frolic of their own.
JOYCE SEBUGWAWO: Besides all the other things she has done for the kingdom over the years, the former Rubaga Division Mayor is the one who led a large crowd of angry Baganda youths that stormed Masiro and forcefully threw out the rebel Princesses and their caretaker Irene Ndagire. The Sebugwawo mob attacked after the rebels had occupied Masiro for four days under heavy military protection commandeered by Maj Kakooza Mutale who at that time was a very powerful actor in State House. The idea was to lynch Princess Irene Ndagire for undermining the Kabaka but she locked herself into Muzibu azaala Mpanga (the large hut in which 4 Buganda Kabakas are buried). As Ndagire took refuge there, Gen Salim Saleh stormed the place with troops from anti-riot and military police which shot in the air, dispersed the crowds and evacuated Princess Ndagire (then an influential Museveni Secretary in State House) to safety in an operation that lasted less than an hour.
In the end, Princess Irene Ndagire became frail and resigned her job in State House after public pressure and condemnation became too much (imagine there was social media at that time). She went into oblivion from where Gen Museveni posted her in the obscure Education Service Commission where she worked quietly but hatred against her remains up to this day. In his book, Katikkiro Mayiga commends Mutebi for maintaining “dignified silence” during all this turbulence. The first time he spoke about this was on 19/2/2000 when meeting his cabinet in Banda Palace. He told them he was grateful the people of Buganda, his subjects, had decisively handled that matter without him uttering even a word. He had during the week the rebel princesses occupied the Kasubi tombs disappointed thousands of his subjects who came to cheer him as he opened Pride Theatre Complex. They expected him to comment on the rebel Princesses but he didn’t at a time the illegal occupation was ongoing.
CHARLES PETER MAYIGA/CPM: The current Katikkiro, whose King on the Throne book is simply among the best authorities on Mutebi-led Buganda, did a lot during the Masiro siege by the rebel Princesses. The most important contribution was his 20/1/1999 detailed article in Njuba Times which must have made the rebel Princesses laugh at themselves. Renowned for being a word smith, Mayiga contradicted their each and every point including asking why they waited for this long before coming out to volunteer to the public such very important information. He argued these were adults even at the time of Coronation (in July 1993) and wondered why they didn’t object that early. Arguing that Mutebi wasn’t just being mean, CPM stated that the rebel Princesses were leading a miserable life simply because the NRM government (whose interests he claimed they were serving) was starving or depriving the kingdom of financial stability by denying it Federo under which Mutebi, like his ancestors, would collect taxes and look after his aunties and other relatives.
The trio had demanded Mutebi’s resignation after which they claimed they would reorganize the kingdom. Mayiga’s very enlightening Njuba Times article revealed that Princesses (like the trio) had no role whatsoever in succession matters in Buganda. He also educated the public that nobody could become Masiro caretaker/Nalinya wa Masiro without Mutebi’s endorsement. Subsequent, other newspaper articles quoted Mayiga’s authoritative missive in Njuba Times. This greatly helped to placate the throne besides amplifying public awareness about what the truth was. In the end, Mutebi-appointed Beatrice Namikka was installed at a defiant ceremony at Masiro where crowds cheered declaring this was triumph for their king.
Briefly, Mayiga’s other roles (as corroborated in our earlier stories focusing on his service to the Kingdom) manifested in work done for SSC since July 1991, returning to Bulange, Coronation, Kabaka’s Royal wedding and many others. Between 1991 and 2002, over 3,000 meetings were held regarding the Kabakaship restoration and then a much younger Mayiga was secretary to over 1,000 of them. In the same period, he wrote hundreds of Kabaka’s speeches besides being secretary to almost all task force committees Kabaka would set up from time to time. He took minutes in as many Kabaka-related meetings as he attended.
Yet in the same period (1991-2002), the same Mayiga wrote and published over 200 articles defending his king. He also published over 1,000 other articles on Kabakaship, land matters, governance, Federalism etc using pseudonyms. He also tolerated many stressful situations including being publicly dismissed as a fool by ex-Katikkiro JB Walusimbi. This was during one of the James Mulwana-chaired Royal Wedding organizing committee meetings. The quarrel rose after CPM opposed reception subcommittee chairman JB Walusimbi’s idea for two receptions-one VIP and another for the general public. Saying they had already confirmed everything, Walusimbi and Mulwana rejected what CPM was saying and when he didn’t easily back off, Walusimbi (known to be a man of few words) told him off likening him to a fool.
Mayiga suffered almost the same way the very first day he met the Kabaka in 1991 after being recruited by Sr Counsel John Katende as Administrative Secretary heading SSC secretariat. It was a Saturday and Mutebi had summoned John Katende, Besweri Mulondo and Rev Dan Kajumba (who were running SSC) for a meeting at his Bamunanika Palace. Mayiga, a fresh campus graduate, came casually dressed in his khakis. Katende furiously threw him off the van and sent him home to dress more appropriately. He had told him to load all the office files on a pickup truck he sent in case Mutebi needed to refer to any of them at the meeting. Mayiga says that, in his naivety, he carried some files and left behind many others he thought weren’t important. When the meeting started, the boss (as Mayiga, Hope Mukasa & Andrew Kasirye referred to the king) demanded for a certain file which actually was among those Mayiga left behind. Burning in as rage, Katende raised his voice and abusively told him off for being amateurish and not good for the job as the “boss” sympathetic looked on as the young man nervously sought to explain himself.
Katende admonished Mayiga for 15 minutes and by the time he was done, the young man from Kyanamukaka was on the verge of wetting his pants. Mayiga also recalls a 3/3/1992 incidence on the day he was enrolled as a High Court advocate at the High Court. There was sarcastic laughter when Justice John Kwesiga, who was his nominator, ran through his profile emphasizing that he works with Ssaabataka Mutebi’s SSC offices. Those present laughed wondering what a young law school graduate was doing in such an obsolete institution. As it indeed was, many considered SSC to be too poor to even pay him any salary. Indeed much of the time, CPM went without pay and the Katendes only paid him whenever they had something. This is something Mayiga, who mostly survived on tips from Mutebi supporters who would visit SSC offices, rarely regretted because he knew the job would initially require a volunteer as there was no money.
In later years of the restoration, an impression was created that Mayiga was very close to the Kabaka and this is the context in which his enemies conspired to have him publicly thumped by Royal Guards (Abambowa) on 31/12/1999 during a public ceremony inside Mengo Palace. Mayiga was the main organizer for Kabaka’s millennium festivities that day (2000) and the Chief Body Guard, who his adversaries had already manipulated, approached and accused him of being proud. The chief body guard started shouting at him accusing him of making derogatory statements about the Kabaka and for refusing to give food and sodas to the royal guards present. The chief body guard told other guards to “discipline” CPM and within no time, they began thumping him, a fracas the media extensively reported about. When the Kabaka saw what was going on and asked, he was told by the chief body guard “we are disciplining him” for abusing the king.
The incident for weeks attracted a lot of media publicity and was such a big scandal for Mengo. Some called on Mutebi to fire Mayiga who was youth minister if he couldn’t voluntarily resign. The Kabaka was initially resentful as to why Mayiga could utter demeaning stuff about him and even constituted an inquiry whose report exonerated CPM. In April 2000, as he celebrated his day, Mutebi referred to the probe report and praised Mayiga for hard work and for attracting the youth to Kabakaship. The Chief royal guard, who ordered CPM humiliation, was actually fired after Kabaka realized he was causing trouble by deliberately antagonizing him with one of his most hardworking ministers. As he spoke, Mutebi called CPM to stand next to him in the same umbrella and showered him with praises for mobilizing the youths. On 3/8/2002, as he celebrated the 9th coronation anniversary, the Kabaka appreciated Mayiga and declared his wish for historians to record him as one that prioritized the youth during his reign as Buganda’s 36th king.
SHEIKH ALI KULUMBA: He was Speaker of the Great Buganda Lukiiko and loyally served his king until 28/6/2004 when he collapsed and died during a Lukiiko session right in his chair as he chaired one of the stormy sessions. He had just celebrated his 90th birth day and his funeral service at Kibuli showed the colossus he was. Museveni came and Kabaka, who is culturally barred from such functions, sent Katikkiro Mulwanyamuli. Thousands of wailing Baganda Muslims attended and unanimously agreed he was a great man. Mutebi liked him for his experience having been a veteran Lukiiko member since 1950. He had personally related with Mutebi’s dad Mutesa II and was very close to Uganda Muslim titular head Prince Badru Kakungulu, the father of Prince Kassim Nakibinge.
Museveni greatly respected Kulumba who would talk to him like his own son. He had greatly supported NRA just like Badru Kakungulu, Abu Mayanja, Suleiman Kiggundu and other big name Muslims had done. Mayiga’s book records the August 1999 incident where Kulumba publicly cracked the whip on Gen Museveni as they walked out of Bulange to the steps for a photo session after a session during which Kenyan leader Moi had just addressed Lukiiko, sharing a platform with Mutebi as Museveni and others listened. Kulumba looked Museveni in the eye and said “look here my son this land law you are promoting is bad and it’s going to cause you political problems.” The other time he showed leadership was when the Kabaka brought his Nabagereka to the Lukiiko for the first time. There was nervousness with organizers clashing on the most appropriate way to sit the Queen. Some wanted her to sit next to the Kabaka which others opposed as it would amount to equating the two. Kulumba, who was chairing the session, weighed in saying there was no problem Nabagereka sitting next to the king.
MAHABUBA SEMAKALU: Mutebi valued his institutional memory and guidance having been Lukiiko member since the 1960s. He had also been County chief for Singo (basically Mityana etc). He was very talkative and mentored many. He had been a UPC diehard at some point and always bragged being among those who had guts to reject Obote’s dictatorship and bad policies in UPC. He rejected religious bigotry at Mengo and always reminded his juniors this was a “New Buganda” different from the one of before 1966.
EW KIGGUNDU: Having been PPS to Mutesa II, he was a fairly old man when he began working for Mutebi in 1990s as his PPS. He doubled as Mutebi’s chief palace advisor and had a lot of institutional memory around the Kabakaship institution. He hated intrigue in the palace and always insisted on the new way of doing things repeatedly telling those he supervised this was a new Buganda pragmatically incapable of returning to pre-1966 status.
POLYCARP KAKOOZA: He composed Buganda anthem in 1939, was an avid writer, music lover and sportsman as well. Mutebi became Ssaabataka and later Kabaka when Polycarp, who was also a Canon in CoU, was old enough and among key opinion leaders in Buganda. He availed himself to serve his king and was among those who conceived the idea of Bika/clans soccer tournaments which Mutebi used to circumvent restrictions imposed by the 1967 Constitution. This is how he was able to go around Buganda mobilizing his people and reawakening them about Kabakaship on return from exile in 1989. He founded a pressure group called “Baganda Tuli mukulya nga Katonga ajjula [which roughly means things are getting worse as we feast].” His pressure group mobilized Baganda mainly for hard work and development rather than politically begging for financial bailouts from Gen Museveni’s central government. He died and was buried in 2003 with full kingdom honors as ordered by the Kabaka who had previously greatly benefited from his wisdom and experience.
JB WALUSIMBI: Initially a big name construction engineer, this decent man became Katikkiro in December 2007 taking over from Dan Muliika. But he had quietly been serving his king for decades earlier. Mayiga’s book shows that JB did a lot but deliberately avoided limelight and self-praise. Despite having a very thriving engineering firm, JB still found time to always come early for meetings related to Buganda restoration. Mayiga says JB, whom he replaced in 2013 as Katikkiro, hated talking too much and spoke only when it’s extremely necessary. Using personal money, JB did a lot for the Royal wedding and was the man who pioneered the idea of certificates to raise cash for Mengo. This he did in his capacity as Finance Minister (Omuwanika wa Buganda).
Mayiga says, however, JB was intolerant to ill-informed Baganda who are fond of falsely accusing Mengo officials of stealing Kabaka’s money. He one time ranted wondering what was there at Mengo for him to steal “the whole me who is richer than the whole of Buganda treasury.’ In Kabaka’s wedding of August 1999, JB chaired the reception subcommittee which organized all the festivities after Church. He had very good rapport with James Mulwana, the overall organizing committee chairman.
REV DAN KAJUMBA: He was a CoU priest who knew how to give Ceaser what belongs to Ceaser and to God what is God’s. Ever signing off as “Rev Danny,” this wealthy cleric supervised and mentored CPM at SSC where he was his PA. Kajumba was the General Secretary for SSC which made him the overall overseer of the Secretariat that until coronation (1993) served as Buganda’s Lukiiko and Cabinet. He is the man who officially received all correspondences addressed to SSC but all these would come through his PA CPM who was full time at SSC offices on Katende’s building on Kampala Road.
Kajumba accepted the SSC role when he was CEO for one of the biggest government parastatals where he would work half day to create time for Mutebi’s work. Mayiga says in his book this was risky as hostile forces in central government would make him lose his job. This eventually happened and Kajumba paid the price for loving his king. “To him Buganda’s interest was bigger than any fear for personal loss,” Mayiga writes about Kajumba’s devotion. The wealthy Dan Kajumba offered his posh double cabins to do Kabaka’s errands in those early restoration days when Mengo barely had any logistics. He is the man who popularized the title “Oweekitibwa” (which means the dignified man or woman) at Mengo. He often referred to colleagues as “Oweekitibwa” and today it’s used to address all officials apart from the Kabaka.
Kajumba also had a very close personal relationship with the Kabaka and would drive to any of his palaces and see him without appointment. Mayiga says it was fun working under Rev Danny because he was lively and cheerful. Mayiga says Rev Danny served at a time when you had a lot of quiet religious strife in the kingdom but the SSC boss related with everybody on merit and never judged people basing of their religion. This early orientation partly explains why CPM vehemently de-campaigned religious sectarianism in his early years as Katikkiro. Even Katende, his other mentor, was very contemptuous of religious sectarianism as seen in the way he successfully marketed Mulwanyamuli, a Catholic, to become Katikkiro yet for him is a practicing protestant. Katende, more than anybody else, influenced Mayiga’s outlook to life. Kajumba always reminded those he supervised this was a new Buganda with no place for religious bigotry.
KYEWALABYE MALE: He formally joined Mengo in 1996 to work with BUCADEF where his big contribution first manifested. He wrote good proposals and got funding from USAID. Donors always doubted BUCADEF’s capacity to properly account for donor funds. Mayiga says Kyewalabye used to ask him why Mengo bosses weren’t having good attitude towards BUCADEF given the way they weren’t giving it priority attention yet it had huge potential. There was a big cash squeeze at Mengo and Kyewalabye initially endured endless salary arrears. He became BUCADEF CEO in 1998 and quickly turned it into a big project. He had been Program Officer under an old CEO who quit. Mayiga convinced other BOD members that the young man could handle given his stellar performance as Program Officer.
This was the 1st time a young man was becoming CEO at Mengo. Mayiga says the man from Kiboga did wonders and this changed the negative attitude Mengo power brokers initially had about young people. In 2002, an impressed Mutebi made Kyewalabye Male “Omuwanika w’Enkuluze” which means the one in charge of financial matters in the palace or Royal treasurer. Today Male is the Minister for Tourism and culture in Buganda Kingdom having previously excelled as the CEO for Buganda Land Board the capacity in which he championed many big projects including Muganzirwaza in Katwe. The BLB of his time also undertook many housing joint ventures with National Housing and the Mirembe Villas with Chinese investors in Kigo. Other Male’s Zambogo peers, who have rendered excellent service, include Saul Katumba, Robert Kasozi, Damascus Ssali and others.
DOUGLAS MUKIIBI: After the 1st Zambogo meeting, Mukiibi kept coming to SSC headquarters to check on CPM. He was 25 years old and Mayiga says he had good ideas which he asked him to put in writing. Mayiga wrote an introductory note and attached a sticker with which Mukiibi went to Katende on appointment set by Mayiga. EW Kiggundu, who was Mutebi’s PPS, was frail and retiring and a vacancy clearly existed in the palace. John Katende interviewed Mukiibi and deployed him to Mutebi’s office as personal aide. Mutebi subsequently liked him for keeping his secrets and not being money-minded which was rare for youths of his age. Whenever Mengo officials would call asking how is life there (mutusinza ki eyo), Mukiibi would humorously say “tubasinza Kabaka [we are in Kabaka’s midst].”
BADRU KAKUNGULU & CARDINAL NSUBUGA: They were very close to him and helped Mutebi banish religious bigotry from Mengo. They were exemplary: Kakungulu took his son and heir Prince Kassim Nakibinge to SMACK and Nsubuga took up a Muslim to be his official driver. This created trust and grew their bond. Kakungulu’s dad Nuhu Mbogo was son to Kabaka Ssuuna who fathered Mutesa I. The two friends died in the same month of April 1991. Kakungulu had been very close to Mutesa II and had duty to nurture his son Mutebi on throne matters. They both openly pushed Museveni to restore Kabakaship.
KAWOOYA MWEBE: This CBS big man belonged to what came to be known as “new breed of Kabaka cadres” based on meritocracy. The other peers epitomizing this group included Dunstan Douglas Mukiibi and David Kyewalabye Male. It all started in 1992 when the trio and other Zambogo leaders visited Ssaabataka Supreme Council (SSC) secretariat where Administrative Secretary Mayiga spoke to them for 3 hours. Mayiga specifically liked Mwebe whom he recommended to replace him as Administrative Secretary in 1994 when he was leaving to start his law firm. Mayiga mentored Mwebe for two months before departure and warned him against intrigue, factionalism and religious bigotry. Mwebe would later spy on and expose Mengo bosses who undermined Katikkiro Mulwanyamuli from within.
Mayiga says such haters tried to recruit Mwebe, a fellow protestant reminding him Mulwanyamuli was a Catholic. Mwebe refused and Mayiga took him to Katende, Besweri Mulondo and Dan Kajumba to report everything. When BEB was formed, its bosses saw Mwebe as resourceful and co-opted him. BEB metamorphosed into many Kabaka companies including CBS for which Mwebe became founding General Manager up to this day. He would be sent on fundraising errands taking proposals to wealthy people calling on them to become shareholders in what became CBS. “He would walk from Bulange to Kampala dropping proposals [calling the rich to buy shares in CBS],” Mayiga says of Mwebe’s role.
ABU MAYANJA & SENTEZA KAJUBI: The duo held no positions at Mengo but Mutebi often sought their counsel. Senteza wrote many Mutebi speeches and was orator and had been Makerere’s well-read and travelled VC. Mayanja, a renowned militant, had been Mengo Minister before 1966 and became Central government Minister for Gen Museveni. Kabaka liked his legal interpretation, wit and honesty. His jokes always made Kabaka laugh in very stressful meetings. He deputized PK Semogerere on the 1993 Coronation Committee and as information minister; he wrote many articles popularizing the Kabakaship restoration.
Mayiga says firmness on Buganda issues irked Museveni to fire Mayanja in 1994. He was Gen Museveni’s AG when the Ebyaffe Restitution Statute was enacted by NRC before Coronation. He worked with J Katende to guide Mutebi on how to circumvent restrictions imposed by the 1967 constitution before the more permissive and liberal 1995 one came into force. Though he bitterly fell out with Gen Museveni in the end, Abu Mayanja was NRM government’s chief legal advisor for much of the restoration period and always did Mutebi’s bidding.
DUNCAN KAFEERO: He was Mengo’s Agriculture Minister and always argued that Museveni can’t be trusted to give Federo. In 1996, even when he was a Mengo Minister, Duncan Kafeero campaigned for PK Semogerere addressing his rally in his native Mukono. Mulwanyamuli was Katikkiro and fired him for breaching Kabaka’s order urging Mengo bosses to remain neutral in that election. When Semogerere lost to Gen Museveni (who won with 75%), Kafeero called a news conference and declared armed struggle on Museveni.
In BEB BOD, Kafeero was the most political official. His BEB peers included Jolly Lutaaya & Mustapha Mutyaba who believed in publicizing information to ignite Baganda political consciousness towards Federo. Other key Mengo officials who served loyally in SSC are: David Ntege (Admin Assistant), Ethel Semweya Musoke (Secretary) and receptionist Lillian Nabwami. They mostly worked as volunteers rarely getting salary because it wasn’t there. Duncan Kafeero didn’t have any fear for Gen Museveni having fought with him in NRA as one of the UFM fighters who endorsed the man from Rwakitura on the promise that Kabakaship restoration would be a top priority under the new government after the 1986 takeover. He maintained that promising Federo was the basis for Kayira/UFM’s military cooperation with Museveni’s NRA.
BISHOP AK DDUNGU: The Masaka Catholic Bishop was active in restoration of Mutebi’s kingdom. He regularly attended his Enngonge (Porcupine) clan meetings and always joined his clan leaders to visit Mutebi at his palace (okulanya). He also regularly attended cultural practices like funeral rites of the dead which other clerics considered too earthly-and ungodly. In 1969, he travelled to London upon Mutesa’s death and this vastly annoyed Obote. Ddungu had close relations with Mutebi who consulted him often and asked him to lead mass at his July 1993 Coronation at Nagalabi in Buddo. His devotion inspired many Catholics to forget past injustices and warm up to Mutebi who promised a new beginning where all would be treated well at Mengo regardless of religious affiliation.
There was also Bp Yokana Mukasa who was the Mityana pioneer Anglican Bishop after it was cut off Namirembe Diocese. He was Mutebi’s very influential advisor. He chaired the Ebyaffe Committee which pursued the return of the remaining properties after coronation under the newly enacted restitution statute. His committee identified and listed all the schools, county headquarters, lands, forests and shares in companies that were still in the hands of the central government. And upon his death, Yokana Mukasa was replaced by his deputy John Katende. This committee spearheaded many negotiations with Gen Museveni resulting in the return of many properties.
THE MULIKA TRIO: This comprised of Dan Muliika, Joseph Balikuddembe and AB Sebunya. They were hardliners and crudely belligerent in their pursuit of Buganda’s Ebyaffe in the Lukiiko and quite often Gen Museveni complained about them saying they are the reason not much progress was being made. Mayiga says one can struggle to point out one achievement Buganda registered as a result of the trio’s militant approach which intensified after December 2005 when Muliika became Katikkiro. He nevertheless credits them for keeping the quest of Ebyaffe alive all the time.
FRANCIS BUWULE: He worked in Katende’s law firm whereafter he teamed up with Mayiga (in 1994) to start M/S Buwule & Mayiga Advocates. As a lawyer, he did a lot of voluntary work with managers of Kabaka’s private estate trying to locate where the different properties were located. He also served as BEB pioneer BOD Chairman and later BICUL, the holding company for the different Buganda formations e.g. CBS radio. In 1996, he became the Secretary for the Court ya Kisekwa (the clans’ disputes resolution tribunal) and helped Kabaka Mutebi to trace many of those properties when he became king.
PROF LIVINGSTONE WALUSIMBI: He died some years ago and was a Makerere linguist and a patron for Zambogo Association that was formed in 1991. He encouraged the young people to associate with Buganda kingdom and risked being criticized or even misunderstood by fellow intellectuals at Makerere many of whom were very contemptuous of what they perceived to be an ancient (even backward) kingdom. His outspokenness emboldened Baganda students to openly embrace Mutebi and what he stood for. Prof Walusimbi was also a life time member of the Ekibiina ky’Olulimi Oluganda, a writers’ society that promoted Luganda literature. Members of such associations escaped Obote’s harassment because the UPC regime never felt threatened by their Society’s apolitical activities.
APOLLO MAKUBUYA: Mayiga’s book reveals how the former law firm MMAKS Managing Partner came to be in Mutebi’s good books. Having got first class and emerging the best student in his Makerere law class, Makubuya graduated and joined LDC in very early 1990s. As part of his clerkship, he trained at John Katende’s firm. While he was there, in 1991, he coordinated the submission of Buganda’s views to Odoki’s Commission. There was a team of lawyers with whom Katende worked on the Ebyaffe document including Mayiga, Christopher Bwanika and GB Mutawe. Makubuya was assigned to work with this team as a legal assistant. The work was too much and didn’t directly relate to the LDC stuff, which must have been very stressing for the young law student.
After internship Makubuya left, three months before the final document was submitted to Odoki. After LDC he went to UK for his Masters degree (LLM). After UK studies, Makubuya became company secretary for Sembule Investment Bank where future Katikkiro Mulwanyamuli was his MD. When he became Katikiro in 1994, Mulwanyamuli interested Makubuya to directly join Kabaka’s service. The two had related very well at Sembule. Initially he served on many kingdom committees before joining Lukiiko whereafter he was made Minister and later Owenukuluze (Kabaka’s Palace treasurer). This role equaled what Brig Nalweyiso does for Gen Museveni. He later became Buganda’s AG replacing his mentor Katende. As Owenkuluze, Makubuya built a strong relationship with his boss Mutebi who added him onto the list of his youthful advisors of great influence. CPM says that Makubuya is shrewd, brainy and energetic. He was a great asset in the 2005 negotiations that came closest to delivering Federo as shown in our previous reporting. Makubuya (who is famous for kneeling down to greet the Kabaka each time he meets him) also remains one of Kabaka Mutebi’s personal attorneys the other being Prince David Wasajja.
CHRISTOPHER BWANIKA: The current Buganda Kingdom AG is an introvert but an excellent lawyer who thickly participated in all Mutebi-related legal work including documenting Buganda’s views for submission to both Odoki and Sempebwa Commission (CRC) in 2003. He has historical attachment to the Kabaka because his late father, Musa Kiseke Bwanika, was the Ssaabakaki (Mutesa II’s Chief of Staff) for the Bamunanika palace. The 1966 raid found him in Mengo Palace where he had come for a meeting. He was among those who fought fiercely to shield their boss Mutesa II. He was injured badly and Obote forces dumped him on the truck carrying the dead, thinking he was dead. The passing community members, while passing at the bodies’ dumping site, realized he was still alive and helped him to the hospital. On being discharged, Obote detained him for 2 years without trial. This is the profile of the man that fathered introverted but very influential and impactful Christopher Bwanika.
RONNIE SSESANGA MUKUBIRA: He is a grandson of legendary businessman David Musoke Mukubira who distinguished himself as a leading businessman in the colonial days. Ronnie became heir of sorts to the grandfather’s estate including commercial buildings on Kampala road which he surrendered to house the SSC liaison offices after the team relocated to Bulange. He had a stationary business which did all SSC-related printing errands free of charge. He incurred lots of expenses doing kingdom stationary works. The old Mukubira rose to the position of Omuwanika wa Buganda during Daudi Chwa’s reign.
KABUUZA MUKASA: As Minister he did a lot mobilizing youths in Universities to have positive attitude towards Kabakaship. Kaddu Kiberu, being a businessman, Mengo found him valuable regarding raising contributions from corporate entities and he never disappointed. He made invaluable financial contributions towards renovation of numerous Kabaka palaces that had become wastelands since 1966. Kiberu also distinguished himself as an excellent event organizer including of Kabaka’s tours upcountry.
GW KAMALA KANNAMWANGI: He is now deceased but was local government minister and in that capacity identified persons who Kabaka appointed County Chiefs (Abamasaza), Sub County Chiefs (Abamagombolola) and Parish Chiefs (Abemiruka) after coronation. These constituted Buganda’s administrative structure or local government after coronation. Kamala’s orientation was that of a conservative who wished to see the precolonial glorious Buganda restored. He was a radical in his proposals to resolve the Buganda question. CPM notes he was a “fervent mobilizer” ever approaching Kabaka’s assignments with great zeal.
Unfortunately, Kamala who died some years ago, was fired in 2002 along with other Mengo ministers who openly backed Dr Kizza Besigye in 2001 elections. He later joined others to found FDC in 2005 along with fellow ex-Mengo Ministers Sebugwawo and money-minded Sewava Serubiri who is now a member of ANT.
SEWAVA SERUBIRI: He was the line Minister as of October 8th 1997 when Kabaka declared it the annual Bulungi bwa Nsi day in Buganda. He went to many places reawakening the Bulungi bwa Nsi spirit wherever he went in the 18 Buganda Counties. Bulungi bwa Nsi mobilized people to do something about their community roads, hospitals and water sources rather than just waiting for the central government. Every adult was called upon to render some community service. Sewava was also MC at Kabaka’s wedding at the public reception attended by millions of ordinary and VIP subjects during the royal wedding in 1999. He also famously wept publicly during the Lukiiko in 1995 lamenting Besweri Mulondo’s betrayal of the Federo cause. This is something we shall be detailing in our subsequent coverage.
ROBERT SEBUNYA: Mayiga says this long serving Kabaka Minister (now Gen Museveni’s advisor on Buganda affairs) was always very controversial and often misunderstood by peers who accused him of serving personal interests at the expense of the institution he was serving. That notwithstanding, he did a lot for health programs by creating good linkages with UN Agencies. He was also among the SSC pioneers and also headed one of the Royal Wedding sub committees in 1999.
JC MUYINGO: As education minister for Buganda government, Dr. Muyingo conceived the idea of Kabaka Education Fund and revival of academic institutions like Mengo Palace-based Nabagereka P/S, Lubiri High School and Royal Institute Kakeeka Mengo which became Mutesa I Royal University. Away from all these people profiled above, Kabaka Mutebi had also had solid family around him and the following members of the royal family can’t escape mention:
AGNES NABALOGA: She is the Nalinya Lubuga for Kabaka Mutebi which means she is the princess with whom he was co-enthroned succeeding his late father Mutesa II. She was among Mutesa’s oldest children (besides oldest daughter Nnalinya Dorothy Nassolo) and she is well educated. Despite owning a lot of real estate property locally here, she mostly lives in Paris France where she is married to a Danish gentleman. However, she regularly visits Kampala and whenever she does, she lives in one of Mutebi’s palaces. She always has a lot of influence on her brother at traditionally demanded. She is almost a king herself because she traditionally is the official Nalinya of Buganda (Nalinya wa Buganda). She has children with this Danish man with whom she continues to stably be in love.
SARAH KAGERE: She is another biological sister of Kabaka Mutebi and she is stably married to businessman and Express FC football philanthropist Bbale Mugera who is always introduced at functions as Kabaka’s brother in law. He has shares in century bottling company, the makers of coca cola products. The couple lives in Muyenga near David Ssimbwa’s home. All these princesses are well educated and sources say they were already living and studying in Europe even before Obote exiled their father Mutesa II.
PRINCESS ZALWANGO: She died more than 10 years ago and was the other Kabaka Mutebi sibling. The other sibling is David Wasajja who shares the father with Kabaka Mutebi but is from a different mother. The other sibling of the Kabaka is called Prince Henry Katabazi Kalemera and lives in the USA where he continues to lucratively live as an Aeronautic Engineer. The children or Mutebi siblings have tried to keep away from controversial marital endeavors when compared to their father Mutesa II. Buganda Royal family sources reveal that while studying at Buddo, Mutesa developed a crush on Sarah Kisonkole, one of Mzee Kisonkole’s children.
This almost became a scandal because, until that time, the Buganda King couldn’t marry from Nkima (Monkey) clan because of the role Mugema, the nkima clan head, plays in his enthronement. As a compromise, Mutesa was made to marry Damalie Kisonkole, who was the elder of Mzee Kisonkole’s daughters. Damalie became the official Nabagereka for Mutesa II but his feelings never left Sarah. One time after marrying Damalie, Mutesa went to Paris for a holiday and while there, he linked up with Sarah resulting into conception. Sarah mothers Kabaka Mutebi and in Buganda she (though deceased) she is officially known as “Namasole wa Kabaka” which is like the queen mother.
PRINCESS NAKABIRI: She died in 2011 and was the mother of Ps Michael Kyazze. She was one of long surviving sisters for Sir Edward Mutesa II, the father of the current Kabaka. She was buried in Kasubi and she was Nalinya Lubuga for Mutesa. Nalinya Lubuga means the princess who co-inherits the throne with her brother the Kabaka at the time of his enthronement. Mulengera News couldn’t establish much about her marriage life because sources said she parted ways with Kyazze’s father during the pastor’s childhood.
PRINCESS NAKAMANYA: She too was Mutesa II’s sister just like Nakabiri. She died in 2009 and at that time she was a single lady having been abandoned by her husband who felt she was too bossy, just like the American Christopher Thormas accused Toro Princess Ruth Komuntale among other things. Royal sources say that Princess Nakamanya left a few children and her last hubby died before her in early 2000s.
Their only surviving brother was Prince David Alexander Ssimbwa who was, until some years ago, was the only surviving child of Kabaka Chwa. Ssimbwa at some point had many spouses but ended up keeping only one with whom he lived at his two posh residences in Kabowa and Muyenga near Tank Hill. Simbwa also had another residence in Makindye Kizungu zone not very far from Mukasa Mbidde’s home. The Museveni government also looked after him because he was a good friend of the veteran leader from Rwakitura.
He fondly loved his senior wife because she had never abandoned
him even in the 1960s when Obote used to regularly detain him after exiling his brother Mutesa II.
The two princesses above were Kabaka Mutebi’s paternal aunties and Ssimbwa was his paternal uncle. There were other princesses of Kabaka Mutebi’s generation born by some of Mutesa’s brothers such as the late Prince Mawanda whose surviving daughters (princesses) for long included Tebatta Gwabwe and Princess Namiika. These two were well educated Buganda princesses and for long lived between Kampala and Nairobi.
TEBATTAGWABWE: She was for long envied for being very wealthy and had huge property in Buwaya Busiro in Wakiso district. Professionally she qualified as a caterer and she was stably married with children. She is now the Nalinya for Kasubi royal tombs aka Masiro. Mutebi appointed her to replace equally wealthy
Namiika after the fire that gutted Masiro in 2010. She was faulted for negligence.
These two powerful princesses one time clashed for attention when the Katikkiro camped at Kasubi to oversee fundraising efforts for Masiro reconstruction. Namika is a lawyer by training and used to live in a posh residence in Kabowa. Her father, Prince Mawanda, was the brother to Sir Edward Mutesa. Namika was brought by the royal family from Nairobi in the late 1990s to counter rebel princess Ndagire after she claimed that Kabaka Mutebi was Daudi Ochieng’s and not Mutesa II’s son. Not much is known about Namika’s marital status and children.
Mutebi’s children: Kabaka Mutebi famously/officially has five children namely Prince Richard Ssemakokiro (destined to become Buganda’s next King), Kiweewa Junju Crispin and three younger princesses namely Nkinzi, Zalwango and Catherine Sangalyambogo. These princesses, who live mostly in Europe are in their 20s and not much could readily be established about their sex or marital relations.(For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org).