On Saturday November, 09 2019 officials in the administration of Kooki chiefdom defied directives from Mengo, the administration seat of Buganda Kingdom saying the Katikkiro of Buganda has no powers over the management of the chiefdom.
The declaration was made in a meeting convened by leaders of the Chiefdom at its headquarters in Rakai District. The officials issued a stern warning to Buganda Kingdom Premier -Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga to stop dictating over matters relating to the chiefdom since it is a separate cultural entity over which he has no powers.
The outbursts followed recent appointment of County Chiefs made by Buganda Kingdom’s premier Charles Peter Mayiga that included an appointment of Chiefs of Kooki which Buganda Kingdom treats as one of the counties.
Hajji Ahamed Kiwanuka the Katikkiro of Kooki also issued a warning to Katikkiro Mayiga never to visit Kooki in his official capacity as Buganda’s premier but instead go there as an ordinary visitor.
The relationship between Mengo and Kooki has been frosty since 2013 following the adoption of The Institution of Traditional or Cultural Leaders Act 2010 that paved way for creation of new cultural and traditional entities. Since then there has been agitations from the leadership in Kooki to be treated as a cultural entity separate from Buganda.
With His Highness Apollo Sansa Kabumbuli II as the Kamuswaga, Kooki banned the singing of the Buganda anthem in schools and official functions following earlier claims of autonomy that involved creating their own flag and anthem thus declaring its independence from Buganda.
Sabasaba revisited the pages of The Monitor, and brings an extract of events that brought Kooki under the stewardship of Buganda Kingdom and its origins traced to as early as 1696.
Until 1896, Kooki was an independent kingdom ruled by Omukama Edward Kezekia Ndahura II, a Munyoro and descendant of Omukama Bwohe who is said to have founded the kingdom around 1696.
Bwohe was a Mubito prince of the Bunyoro-Kitara dynasty who led his followers to establish a new kingdom. Omukama Bwohe is said to have lived up to about 1740.
On November 18, 1896, Ndahura as the Omukama and Kabaka Mwanga signed an allegiance agreement at Mengo before the British commissioner to Uganda, Ernest James Lennox Berkeley, on behalf of the Queen of England.
The agreement was however officially recognized and ratified on May 4, 1903, by commissioner Berkeley on behalf of the British Foreign Office.
Under the treaty, Kooki became an integral part of Buganda Kingdom and was recognized as a first class county (Saza) with a special status.
Before signing the agreement, Ndahura had in 1894 come to present-day Kampala and asked for his kingdom to independently enter a protection treaty with the British, but his request was not granted.
According to Berkeley, Ndahura returned to Kampala the following year and officially requested that his territories maybe included in Buganda Kingdom under the protection of Her Majesty’s government.
But this Nduhura did because he had no option. Under the agreement, the rights of the Omukama were to be preserved and he was to remain the head of his people as their chief. According to the custom, a new title for the ruler in his new capacity had to be found, and Ndahura chose the name/title Kamuswaga, which he had been called when he was still a prince.
Why the agreement was signed
It was for security reasons that Ndahura decided to enter the treaty that ended the Obukama of Kooki.
Owing to the prevailing religious wars in Buganda, independent Kooki Kingdom could join or support any group against the British will. A fear Berkeley had.
For instance, at the peak of the Mohammadan war between June and August 1893, the battle was fought partly in Kooki territory. After the rebels were pushed out of Gomba, they went into Kooki.
According to notes authored by Sir John Gray quoted by the Uganda Journal of 1934-5 page 268, “There was some risk that they (rebel fighters) might settle down in independent Kooki which had a reputation for aiding slave dealers and the arms traffic.”
However, lieutenants Hobart and C.S Reddie who commanded the Kooki expedition were under instruction to attack the Kooki Kingdom capital at Rakai should the king in Kooki give the rebels sanctuary.
Fortunately, the rebels surrendered when they attacked. Ndahura welcomed the government soldiers and a mutual understanding was reached not to support the rebellion.
Earlier in 1889 when Kabaka Mwanga had been driven out of Buganda by the Muslim fighters, he escaped to German territory, now Tanzania, through Kooki and asked Omukama Ndahura for military support. However, Ndahura refused.
Ndahura died in 1907 and was succeeded by his son George Sefasi Kambumbuli Isansa II until October 5, 1954, when he died and was succeeded by his son Yoweri Kayemba.
Kayemba ruled until 1967 when hereditary and traditional rulers in Uganda were abolished by the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) government led by former president Milton Obote.
The reigning Kamuswaga of Kooki, Apollo Isansa Kabumbuliwas, was enthroned on May 15, 2005.
Agreement between Mwanga, Kamuswaga
The agreement between Kooki and Buganda in full reads as follows:
To all whom it may concern, be it known that the undersigned, Mwanga king of Uganda [Buganda] and Kamuswaga, king of Kooki, have this day made the following agreement:-
Whereas I, Kamuswaga, hitherto independent king of Kooki, I am desirous on behalf of myself, my chiefs and people, that country of Kooki shall become part of the kingdom of Uganda [Buganda] and be included therein as a new province and thereby enjoy and profit by the advantages secured to that kingdom through the presence, guidance and assistance of British officials.
And whereas I, Mwanga, king of Uganda [Buganda] with the full concurrence of my government, I am ready and willing that the county of Kooki shall be so included in my kingdom and its inhabitants become Waganda [Baganda] subjects.
Now, therefore, I Kamuswaga, hitherto independent king of Kooki, hereby declare and make known, on behalf of myself, my chiefs and people that our country of Kooki become from this day forth part and province of the kingdom of Uganda [Buganda] and passes under the sovereignty of Mwanga, king of Uganda [Buganda].
And I, the said Kamuswaga, do hereby of my own free will and choice surrender my position as an independent king, and recognising myself to be henceforth a subject of the king of Uganda [Buganda], accept and assume the position of a Muganda saza of the first class, whose province shall be Kooki and whose powers, privileges rights, duties, obligations and position generally shall be those of the other Waganda [Baganda] sazas of the same rank.
And I recognise that henceforth the sovereign of Kooki is Mwanga king of Uganda [Buganda] and after him, his heirs and successors.
And I recognise further that all treaties, international agreements, laws and regulations of every kind, as well as tribute and other obligations of every kind at the time and the future in force or leviable in Uganda are henceforth similarly applicable stand leviable in Kooki which now becomes an integral part of the kingdom of Uganda [Buganda].
And I Mwanga, king of Uganda [Buganda], hereby pledge myself and my government and my heirs and successors to recognise Kamuswaga, hitherto independent king of Kooki, as a Muganda saza of the first class whose province shall be Kooki, which henceforth becomes part and province of the kingdom of Uganda [Buganda].
And I the said Mwanga pledge myself, my heirs and successors that the said Kamuswaga shall enjoy all the powers, privileges and rights which belong to the position of a Muganda saza of the first class and further that the welfare and prosperity of the province of Kooki shall be the objects of all our care and solicitude equally with the welfare and prosperity of our kingdom of Uganda [Buganda].
And we the undersigned Mwanga, king of Uganda [Buganda] and the Kamuswaga, hitherto independent king of Kooki, agree that we will submit this agreement to her Britannic Majesty’s representative in Uganda in order to petition that he, acting on behalf of Her Majesty’s government, may approve it and comfort it;
And we freely agree and recognise that if at any time, any question should arise regarding the interpretation or meaning of this agreement or any part thereof, this English text of the agreement shall be considered true text and Her Majesty’s representative shall be its interpreter, whose decision on any point in question regarding it or any part of it shall be final and binding upon us both, in faith whereof we hereunto set our hands and seals, in public baraza at Kampala this 18th day of November in the year 1896 of Christian era.
Done in duplicate both in English and Luganda at the place and date above mentioned.
Witness to the above signatures
Kago Pozo George Wilson
Kabandagara Katikiro of Kamuswaga
Mugara Sabadu of Kamuswaga
I, Ernest James Lennox Berkeley, Her Britannic Majesty’s commissioner and consul general for the British Protectorate of Uganda and the adjoin territories, hereby declare and make known that I have satisfied myself that the above agreement has been entered into by the parties within named of their own free will, and with full understanding of all the provisions and that I, having received all necessary authority in the matter from Her Majesty’s principal secretary of state for foreign affairs, do hereby on behalf Her Majesty’s government approve of the said agreement, and declare the same to be ratified and conformed and hence forth binding upon both the within-named parties; In faith whereof, I hereunto set my hand seal of the office in public baraza at the place and date mentioned in the above agreement.
(Signed) Ernest J. L. Berkeley