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When the miles came : land and social order in Buganda, 1850-1928

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When the miles came : land and social order in Buganda, 1850-1928
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Hanson, Holly Elisabeth
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Clans ( jstor )
Cotton ( jstor )
Labor ( jstor )
Land conservation ( jstor )
Land ownership ( jstor )
Private land ( jstor )
Protectorates ( jstor )
Protestantism ( jstor )
Taxes ( jstor )
Women ( jstor )
Dissertations, Academic -- History -- UF ( lcsh )
History thesis, Ph.D ( lcsh )
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1997.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 294-299).
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Also available online.
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Typescript.
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Vita.
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by Holly Elisabeth Hanson.

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FHEN THE MILES CAME:
LAND AND SOCIAL ORDER IN BUGANDA, 1850-1928









By

HOLLY ELISABETH HANSON









A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 1997


































Copyright 1997

by

Holly Elisabeth Hanson
















ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

First of all, I want to thank many Baganda, now in the realm of ancestors, who

cared passionately about events in their kingdom, and made the effort to write about their own lives, to record successions, to write down in detail the arguments in a case, and to remember events in songs or sayings. I have relied on people's clear perceptions of how their society was changing with the coming of British overrule, and their brilliantly incisive criticisms of those changes. The Ganda thinkers who left their ideas where they could be found a few generations later have given my story both its structure and its life.

My second debt is to the scholars who have shaped my development as a historian. I am immensely grateful to Steven Feierman, who in his own work and in his interaction with me about mine gave me the tools to consider social change in the past. I want to thank David Schoenbrun, not only for making concrete the early history of the Great Lakes region, but also for asking me hard questions in a way that inspired confidence that I might be able to answer them. In his own teaching and also in his untiring efforts to bring scholars of Africa to the University of Florida, R. Hunt Davis created the learning environment which I enjoyed so much. I also appreciate the contributions of the members of my committee who were not African historians--Murdo M. MacLeod, Sheryl Kroen, Abe Goldman, and, at earlier stages, Goran Hyden, Carol Lansing, and Jeffrey Needell.









I am also thoroughly indebted to historians of Buganda whom I have encountered primarily through their written work. M.S.M. Semakula Kiwanuka's works on Ganda history have been my reference companions. Anthony Low's edited volume on Buganda thought gave me the idea for my topic, and John Rowe's vivid and insightful view of nineteenth century Buganda taught me how to pursue it. The clarity and rich detail of Michael Twaddle's biography of Kakungulu and Michael Wright's history of the civil war gave me entry into this difficult period of Ganda history. Henry W. West's precise and thorough explanations of what happened with land in Buganda were the keys that unlocked sources that would otherwise have been impossible to understand.

I could not have produced this dissertation without the generosity of other scholars of Uganda who shared source materials that were no longer traceable in Uganda. Foremost among these is John Rowe, whose work collecting archives in the early 1960s is evident to anyone who uses the Africana Collection at Makerere University Library; Professor Rowe graciously allowed me to look at his copy of the records of the Lukiko and his translations of the Ekitabo kya Kika kya Nsenene, and gave me a copy of the rare, privately circulated pamphlet "The Bataka Land Holding Question." Richard Waller gave me a copy of his unpublished S.O.A.S. Master's paper, and shared research notes. Glenn McKnight shared information on the Butaka controversy from files which had been misplaced in the Entebbe Secretariat Archives before I arrived there; I have also benefitted from materials directed to me by Mikael Karlstrom and Michael Tuck.

I am grateful to the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology for

permission to do research in Uganda, and to the Makerere Institute of Social Resarch for iv









providing me with an academic home. Innumerable people in Uganda received me with kindness and facilitated my work: among them were Christine Deborah Sengendo, Nakanyike and Ssegane Musisi, Judy Butterman, Mark Markwardt, the staff of the Africana Collection at Makerere University Library, the staff of the Mailo Land office, and the staffs of various courts. Anke Alemayehu, Rod and Dawn Belcher, Elizabeth Kharono, and others welcomed me and my children in ways we will never forget.

I received research support from the Fulbright Fellowship program of the

International Institute of Education, and from the University of Florida I received a Center for African Studies pre-dissertation research grant, a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dissertation Fellowship, a Ruth McQuown Fellowship, and Department of History travel funding.

I am deeply grateful to Kathryn Burns, Jan Shetler, Peter Von Doepp, Kiran Asher, Marcia Good Maust, Rebecca Karl, Tracy Baton, and others for their steady encouragement, and for helping me connect intellectual endeavor with the rest of life. I want to thank my family for giving me models of engaged scholarship. The support of my religious community --including Margaret Mattinson, Joanne Schwandes, Harriet and Sam Stafford, Jeanne and Jose Diaz, and many others--allowed me to meet the needs of my children and the deadlines of graduate school at the same time. Finally, I want to acknowledge my children, Corin Olinga Vick and Rebecca Margaret Vick, who avoided stepping on all the papers on the floor for many years, and who moved to Uganda and back in the middle of secondary school. I thank them for their courage, fortitude, grace, and good humor.


V














Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulffllment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy WHEN THE MILES CAME: LAND AND SOCIAL ORDER IN BUGANDA, 1850-1928 By

Holly Elisabeth Hanson

December 1997


Chairman: Steven Feierman
Major Department: History

The dissertation examines social change in the East African kingdom of Buganda in the decades preceding and following British colonial intervention, using documentation generated by an abrupt transformation in the pattern of land ownership in 1900. In considering the period of early Ganda/British interaction primarily from the perspective of Ganda written records and Ganda institutions, it challenges commonly held perceptions regarding colonialism and economic transformation in Africa. Ganda leaders interacted with British officials with expectations of mutual respect, incorporated new social forms such as private land ownership into Ganda structures of authority, and resisted the commodification of social relationships even as they adopted wage labor and commercialization of trade.



vi














The dissertation identifies the political and social relationships encoded in land control before the mid-nineteenth century, arguing that Buganda was not a centralized despotism, but rather that overlapping and diffuse forms of authority characterized the kingdom prior to that time. Long distance trade in ivory and slaves undermined Ganda forms of authority, leading to a prolonged period of civil war. The dissertation asserts that this conflict ended not through British intervention, but when Ganda chiefs re-ordered the kingdom by associating control over land with religious allegiance.

The dissertation argues that class distinctions in Buganda did not emerge as a result of the creation of private land ownership: the chiefs who became land owners initially attempted to maintain relationships of mutual social obligation with the followers who became their tenants. Instead, new kinds of social distinctions emerged as a result of the excessive labor demands of colonial authorities, which altered the relationship of chiefs to followers. The dissertation demonstrates that the passionate protest against Mak (privately owned) land in the 1920s known as the "Butaka Controversy" was a direct critique of the new colonial order. The complainants asked for the restoration of all the positions of authority that had characterized Buganda in the past, and described comniodified social relations as a form of enslavement.







vii












TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ............................................ iii

AB STRA CT .................................................... ... vi

CHAPTERS

1 INTRODUCTION ............................................ 1

2 BANANA GARDENS AND THE PURPOSES OF PRODUCTION ..... I I

Households and Banana Gardens .............................. 15
The Logic of Kusenga: Attaching to a Chief ..................... 17
Production as the Enactment of Meaning ........................ 24
Remembering the Lives of Ancestors ......................... 25
Remembering Constitutional Events .......................... 31
Following Tribute Up: Overlapping Forms of Power ............... 34
Power at the Center of the Kingdom ........................... 44
Ebitongole: Kabakas Control Innovation ........................ 51
C onclusion ............................................... 53

3 CHIEFSHIP, LAND, AND CIVIL ORDER ......................... 55

Buganda and the Trade in Ivory and Slaves ...................... 57
The Dissolution of Authority ................................. 63
Buganda's Civil War: Social Violence with Religious
C ategories .............................................. 72
Re-allocating Land to Make the War End ........................ 85
C onclusion ............................................... 99

4 AT THE TIME OF THE MILES: MAILO ALLOCATION ............. 101

Mailo Allocation and Authority in Buganda in 1900 .............. 104
Ganda Meanings for Land Applied to Mailo ..................... 108
Mailo, Ancestors' Bones, and the Translation
of C ulture .............................................. 113
Mailo Allocation and the Locations of Power in Buganda ........... 122
Challenges to the Social Logic of Kusenga ...................... 128
Claiming Authority ...................................... 129


viii









Cash and the Calculus of Kusenga .......................... 134
Tax in Rupees and in Labor .............................. 141
Conclusion ............................................. 149


5 CHALLENGES TO GANDA SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS, 1906-1920 ...... 151
Too Much Work: New Labor, Old Tribute, and the
Possibilities of Cash for Cotton ............................. 155
Work Obligations in the New Buganda ...................... 157
Responding to Overwhelming Labor Demands ................ 169
Immigrants and Independent Ganda Women .................. 173
The Missed Meanings of Labor Exchange ................... 181
The Deterioration of Kuseng ............................... 182
The Decline of Lineage Networks and the Threat of
"B ad H eirs .................. I ........................... 194
Innovations to Meet the Responsibilities of Chiefs and Lineage
N etw orks .............................................. 204
Conclusion ............................................. 209


6 THE ORDER OF MILES ON TRIAL ........................... 211

The Complainants and the Logic of their Case ................... 213
Mailo and the Young Kabaka's Power ........................ 222
The Grammar of Omusango ............................... 227
Daudi Chwa's Attempt to Rule and its Aftermath ............... 230
Colonial Power on Trial on a Colonial Stage: The Multiple Meanings
O f B utaka .............................................. 232
The Tenuous Intersection of Discourses of Power ................. 240

7 THE DESTRUCTION OF THE GOOD CUSTOMS OF BUGANDA ..... 245

Mailo Shattering the Foundations of the Kingdom ................ 245
Critiquing Colonial Rule .................................... 249
The Harmful Constriction of Forms of Authority ................ 250
The Inappropriate Exercise of Power ..................... 257
Arguing about the History of Power in Buganda ................ 260
Arguing about the Ganda Social Order ........................ 264
People Turning into Things: Private Land Ownership as
Enslavem ent .............................................. 269
The Possibility of New and Old Together .......................... 278
Conclusion: Beyond Bakungu and Bataka ......................... 285



ix









EPILOGUE "SNAKE IN THE COOKING POT": THE PASSE OF LAND IN
BUGANDA ................................................ 290

GLOSSARY ...................................................... 293

WORKS CITED.................................................... 294

BIOGRAPICAL SKETCH .......................................... 300















CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION


Lush banana gardens support the dense population of the ridges on the northern edge of the great East African inland sea, where the Buganda kingdom emerged about five hundred years ago. People used this fertile land not only to produce the means of their subsistence, but also to define relationships between people in the kingdom. Ceremonies of "showing the land" cemented the connection of wives to husbands, of followers to chiefs, and of regional leaders to the kabaka, the king of Buganda. Neighbors and their children gathered to witness when a newcomer was "shown the land." A bark cloth tree was planted, intermediaries received gifts, and children planted bushes that indicated the borders of the granted land. In Buganda, the power to allocate land meant power to rule the people who cultivated the banana gardens on that land, and each person who had the power to grant land had a place in the complex web of authority. More important ceremonies, carried out by a designated messenger of the ruling kabaka, marked a kabaka's decision to give power--and land--to one subordinate and to take it away from someone else.

A unique and profoundly significant series of ceremonies "showing the land"

occurred in every part of Buganda in 1900 and immediately thereafter. In the aftermath of the protracted war that followed Buganda's involvement in long distance trade in ivory,








2


slaves, and guns, the victorious Christian chiefs and their British allies had agreed to reallocate the land of the kingdom. In Ganda terms, new controllers of land logically followed new alignments of power. This time, however, the victorious chiefs (not the kabaka, then an infant) had made the allocations, and they had agreed to give half the land to the British, after all "ruling chiefs and notables" of Buganda had received their share. The leading Christian chiefs gave themselves the largest amounts of land and people, but took care to give estates of land varying in size from one to twenty square miles to almost four thousand other chiefs and figures of authority in Buganda. Since the British wanted to secure their portion of the land as a potential means of attracting European settlers and making a profit for their fledgling colonial endeavor, they insisted that the new allocations be marked and measured following European practices of landed property, as wen as Ganda practices of "showing the land."' People called the land allocated in this way majLQ (estates of land measured in square miles). b4AUQ land had implications beyond demonstrating a shift in the hierarchy of power in Buganda. Although Baganda giving and receiving mak did not recognize it at the time, the new rituals for land allocation, including land surveys, the distribution of certificates, and writing names in the land registry, gave maL the characteristics of private property, and this permanently foreclosed the possibility that any future kabaka might manage shifting power alliances by making new assignments of land.




'After waiting fifteen years for their turn to choose, the British got swampy lowlands, rocky hilltops, and Buganda's least arable land.








3


In creating Mak, Ganda chiefs and British colonial officers supported each other because they agreed on the importance of asserting their control over the land. Neither the Ganda nor the British recognized, in 1900, the huge gap in their intentions for the use of that land. The ruling Ganda chiefs focused on inscribing the new order of power, with themselves at the top, in the familiar form of chiefly control over land. The British focused on the creation of protectable private property, and on obtaining a share themselves. The coalescence of these two fundamentally different concerns generated unusually rich sources for African social history, ones that provide insight into the structures of an east African society before the tumultuous changes of the late nineteenth century. The documentation of mailo land contains types of information that are difficult to recapture from oral historical narratives.

The chiefs' distribution of land articulated their perception of the structures of power in Buganda, because they attempted to allot a mailo estate to each person in authority. Their decisions were recorded with due solemnity on land certificates, surveyors'maps, and land registry fists. Those who felt their authority merited estates and who had not received them immediately attacked the Mak allocation with statements explaining their right to land and power based on generations of remembered clan or family history. The British protectorate carefully recorded these counterclaims. Twenty years later, Ganda social discontent crystallized in a tumultuous public protest about mak land. The cuhTiination of this protest was a public enquiry under British colonial auspices in which people explained what Ganda society had been like in the past in order to prove








4


that the allocation of land--and the organization of society--had been utterly corrupted by mak. Their thorough critique of the consequences of colonial involvement in Buganda received a full hearing under British colonial auspices because British authorities felt obliged to investigate claims that involved the violation of property rights.

This dissertation uses Ganda actions regarding land to perceive social change in the kingdom at a crucial period in its history. It traces the outlines of the relationships which people had encoded in control of land, observes the impact on those relationships of Buganda's nineteenth century crisis in authority, and records the transformation of those relationships under the impact of British colonial demands for labor, tax, and obedience. Since Ganda chiefs, followers, and clan leaders made the decisions about land, my strategy focuses attention on Ganda ideas and Ganda intellectual endeavor. The dissertation discusses Ganda notions of the proper way to organize society, the creativity of Ganda leaders who used land allocation to re-create order during and after the seemingly interminable war of the late nineteenth century, and Ganda ability to integrate new and old ways of thinking when people chose to involve themselves with the British. By paying attention to the meaning of land, it is possible to see the 1920s conflict over land as an articulate Ganda assessment of the failures of British colonial intervention. In a sense, this is an intellectual history of Ganda use of the idiom of land as power.

My conclusions about the Buganda polity are quite different from those of most published histories of Buganda. Those works, based on research carried out during the transition from colonial rule to independence, emphasized the consolidation of central









5


power in the hands of kabakas, and argued that the militarism of Buganda in the late nineteenth century had characterized the kingdom for several preceding generations. In Chapter Two, I use clan histories, Ganda epic tradition, claims regarding land in the 1880s and other late 19th and early 20th century sources to argue that power in Buganda was diffused through a layered network of multiple forms of authority. I argue that the coexistence of overlapping forms of authority in the 19th century indicates a tendency to avoid conflict and seek compromise as Buganda institutions developed, and that people who held office oriented themselves to each other as weH as to the king.

In Chapter Three, I describe the collapse of Ganda structures of authority in the nineteenth century. Building on recent scholarship which identifies the introduction of caravan trading in ivory, guns and slaves as a transforming crisis for East African polities, I interpret the actions of nineteenth century kabakas as attempts to regain authority they had lost because of the fundamental disruptions initiated by the caravan trade. Using testimony of participants and a close reading of the records of Captain Lugard (who has hitherto gotten credit), I argue that Ganda chiefs ended civil war and reimposed order in their country through incorporating new religions in the arrangement of control over Buganda's ten provinces.

Using land allocation to understand social relationships also generates a new way of looking at the causes of the drastic social changes that occurred in Buganda in the early 20th century. Mailo land owners have been blamed for the emergence of vast differences in social class that happened at that time. One version of the story is that scheming, selfish








6


chiefs sold the nation to the British in return for huge estates of mailo land, and the masses who were not granted mailo land were shut out from the means of personal advancement. British Protectorate officials themselves accused the mailo owners of laziness and greed because they lived off the rents of their tenants instead of turning their land into profitable plantations. These explanations fad to consider the logical motivations Ganda chiefs might have had for re-allocating land, and later for refusing to turn their followers into wage laborers, as the Protectorate officials wanted them to do. Also, the story of greedy landlords leaves out the consequences for Baganda of British colonial exactions of labor and tax.

In order to develop a more complete understanding of the consequences of mailo, it is necessary to keep in mind that all interactions involving productive resources have both econornic and social (moral) components. People in Buganda produced bananas and other foods and manufactured goods in order to survive, but Baganda did not emphasize the economic aspect of production in their explanations of their society. Until the early twentieth century, Ganda production almost invariably had meanings and utility beyond the provision of subsistence: the production of things created and demonstrated connections between groups of people. British colonial officers arrived with a different way of thinking about production. Colonial decision-makers in Buganda attended to the economic dimensions of production and ignored the social ones. For most of the colonial era, British employers insisted that work was a purely economic transaction even when doing so drove workers away from their plantations and factories by the thousands.








7


Baganda, including mjik owners, did not stop seeing social obligations inherent in control of land even when the land came with a certificate of ownership. I argue that in 1900 chiefs wanted the authority and prestige that came from having followers, and the allocation of mals land was a statement of a new order of power in the kingdom, not a pre-emptive grab for resources that would soon have economic value. The labor demands that made life unbearable came from colonial exactions of one to two months' labor for tax and one month's obligatory labor on top of the obligations of tribute and labor for chiefs and the kabaka. Chapter Four describes the decisions made by Ganda chiefs in allocating mailo, and their attempt to include important meanings, such as the continuing power of deceased Kabakas, in the form of private property. Chapter Five outlines the effects of excessive labor demands on the relationship of chiefs to followers, and suggests that class differences emerged in Buganda as people with school-taught skills obtained exemptions from obligatory labor.

The massive social protest in the 1920s, known as the Butaka controversy, has

been understood as a further working out of the centralizing tendency in Buganda political development. In this view, the protestors were disgruntled clan elders complaining about having lost land to the chiefs appointed by the kabaka. A careful examination of the records of the 1 920s dispute over mailo land suggests that much more was going on. The complainants were not only clan elders, but also all the other kinds of people who had had authority in pre-colonial Buganda, and whose authority had diminished under the regime of mW1k. They asked for the return of butaka (clan graveyards) and their other lands, but








8


they also asked for the restoration of all the positions of authority and the patterns of decision-making that had characterized Buganda in the past. Chapter Six documents the participants in the case against mailo, and explains how their incisive critique of colonial power was misunderstood as an argument about graveyards. Chapter Seven explores the arguments made by the Ganda leaders who brought the case against mailo. They wanted a return of the Ganda pattern of rule which had more positions of authority, more participants in decision making, and more compromise. They claimed that their children were "enslaved" by the commodification of social relationships, and stated that people in power ought to consider the well-being of the people they were ruling. They claimed that progress would be most effective if it incorporated "the good customs of Buganda," and if change happened slowly. The epilogue sketches why these aspirations could not be met, describes the Busulu and Nvujo law of 1928 which defined the Ganda obligations of chiefs to followers in cash terms, and shows how Baganda retained their expectations regarding land and social obligation as the cash economy developed.

The sources I have used to examine the intellectual creativity of Baganda who reshaped their social institutions to make them work in new circumstances could also answer other interesting historical questions. The specific controllers of land before the time of mailo are discernible in Ganda epic tradition and in statements by clan elders and others who disputed the mailo allocation. These might contribute to an elaboration of Ganda history from the beginning of the kingdom until 1800. Who received mailo, and who it was passed down to, was recorded in carefully filed provisional and final









9


certificates of ownership in the Land Registry Office, in the Ekitabo kya Obusika (Book of Succession) of the Buganda kingdom and in land survey maps made between 1908 and 1914. These documents could be used to answer fascinating questions about the origins of a land market: what land was sold, and what land was not sold, and why? The ways that people infused meaning into plots of land can be glimpsed in scattered explanations of events in the epic tradition, in the chronicles of 19th century events written by Miti, Kaggwa, and Nsimbi, in reports of 19th century travellers and in the ethnographic works of Roscoe and Mair. Records of land cases heard in district level courts between 19 10 and 1970 contain transcriptions of pointed arguments between litigants concerning their mutual obligations in relationships mediated by land. In fieldwork in Uganda in 1993 and 1995, 1 participated in occasions of "showing the land" and listened to people's stories of the history of their land. These sources could be used to extend a study of social transformation in Buganda from 1928 until the present.

It is important to point out that my work takes place in a context in which people ask different kinds of questions of the past than the first generation of historians of Buganda. In the 1950s the semi-autonomous Buganda kingdom ran smoothly, managed from the imposing Lukiko (parliament) building by clerks with typewriters, and the Lukiko itself deliberated in a room with Westminster-like benches. Writing as the colonial era drew to a close, historians saw in the Buganda past a progressive centralization and bureaucratization which had allowed the kingdom to advance. Whether they intended to or not, their story of Buganda offered the suggestion that African nations might become









to


more modem through the imposition of strong central control. In contrast, this history of Buganda is written against a backdrop of decades of civil unrest and anxiety about African governance. It may not be a coincidence (although it was not my intention) that my story of Buganda describes institutions that once created civil order but have been irretrievably lost.















CHAPTER TWO
BANANA GARDENS AND THE PURPOSES OF PRODUCTION


Ganda banana gardens were shady and cool, they produced lots of food, and the spirits of ancestors hovered in the play of light and shadow among the trees. In the nineteenth century, and for several hundred years before that, dark green banana gardens covered the middle heights of the hills and ridges in the region north of the great East African inland sea, the Nyanza. In these gardens, married women grew the food that fed their families, and in household compounds their husbands made the beer and barkcloth the family owed to a chief for the use of the land. In particular banana gardens, people gathered at the graves of lineage ancestors for ceremonies marking birth, growth, death, and inheritance. The gardens also supported the people who moved along the wide, straight roads from compounds of chiefs to the center of the kingdom, offering tribute and labor to the king and to the other powerful figures whose authority contributed to the rule oftheland.

For more than a thousand years before the Buganda kingdom emerged, people

living around the Nyanza had sustained themselves through a mixed agricultural system of cultivating grains and yams, herding cattle, and fishing. Then, during the period from 900 and 1200 AD, environmental stresses caused people to experiment with alternatives to








12

mixed agriculture, and intensive banana cultivation was one result.' The Luganda language broke off from its parent language North Nyanza at some time between 1200 and 1500, which is about the same time period that Ganda epic traditions are assumed to originate. According to Ganda origin myths, Kintu the first man and Nambi the first woman arrived in the land that would become Buganda with the first shoot of a banana tree.

How the people who grew bananas so successfully around the northern rim of the Nyanza created the kingdom of Buganda is a contentious question. In order to discern the early history of the kingdom one must interpret Ganda epic tradition, clan histories, and the placement of clan butaka (burial grounds of important people) on a foundation of awareness of the significance of banana cultivation. Banana cultivation made land more valuable than it had ever been in the past, and the historical linguistic record shows that new social institutions developed as bananas became central to people's subsistence strategies. Historians have come to various conclusions using this evidence. Perhaps Kintu, an immigrant, was the first king. Perhaps there had been five kings before Kintu, all members of Ganda clans. Perhaps Kimera, third in the dynastic list derived from epic tradition, was a Nyoro prince who founded a sub-Bito dynasty; perhaps he was a leader bringing hsown followers from the western region.'


'David Lee Schoenbrun, A Green Place. A Good Place: A Social History of the Great Lakes Region. Earliest Times to the 15th Centur, Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 1997, manuscript 295,290, 320. Note that references refer to page numbers in the manuscript, not in the published book.
2MS.M Semakula Kiwanuka, A History of Buganda from the Foundation of the Kingdomtol9QQ New York: Africana, 1972, 32, 39-41; Benjamin Ray, Mvil. RiitaL and Kingship in Buganda, New York: Oxford University Press, 1991, 101; Christopher C. Wrigley, Kingship and state: The Buganda dynasty, Cambridge: University Press, 1996.








13

However the kingdom originated, over the centuries people in Buganda found

ways to organize their fives and relationships with each other that ensured prosperity and cohesion for the kingdom. In this chapter, I argue that two social forms shaped the developing institutions of the kingdom. These were kuseng the attachment of followers to chiefs who gave them land, and the organization of production for remembering important aspects of the past. Using Ganda epic tradition and information on relationships among various parts of the polity in the mid- to late nineteenth century, I suggest that Baganda used kuseng and the pattern of remembering to create many overlapping forms of authority. As a result, the Buganda kingdom was characterized by both central order and diffuse authority. After describing production in the Ganda household, the nature of kuseng and patterns of using productive relationships to remember important things, I show how the structures of the Ganda kingdom described in epic tradition combined these forms. In the eighteenth century kabakas began to appoint another kind of chief, the ekitongole; this development of Ganda social forms allowed kabakas to control and manage innovation.

In contrast to the predominant understanding among historians of Buganda as a

despotic, highly centralized kingdom, I see the polity as one that had many nodes of power and authority. My conclusions are different because I have chosen to make different interpretations of three important sources of information. First, I have not assumed that nineteenth century travellers'and missionaries' accounts describe long-standing characteristics of the kingdom; those early visitors observed Buganda at a time of violent crisis. It is possible to construct a sense of Ganda social institutions before these









'4

upheavals, which were caused by caravan trading, through a careful use of other sources. Second, I have not accepted at face value one of the pivotal documents used by historians of Buganda in understanding the development of the kingdom.? In the huge controversy over the morality of inaki land in the 1920s, which is the subject of Chapters Six and Seven below, Apolo Kaggwa justified his action in taking vast amounts of clan land by arguing that Ganda kings had been taking land away from clans for generations, and therefore his land-grab had merely followed long-established traditions. The group who brought the case against mailo claimed that power relationships in the past had been more fluid and subject to negotiation, and I have attempted to balance Kaggwa's statements about the development of the kingdom with those of his opponents. The third reason that my interpretation of power in Buganda departs from the predominant one is that I have tried to follow the record of exchange--to understand social relationships in Buganda based on how tribute flowed from followers to their superiors. Since some of the recipients of tribute were people whom foreign visitors would probably not have seen as powerful, their role was underemphasized in the descriptions of Buganda provided by missionaries and early colonial officers.

While my information about kuseng tribute, chiefship, and other forms of

authority comes largely from nineteenth and twentieth century sources, some evidence from earlier times confirms my suggestions about Ganda society before the late nineteenth century upheaval. Stories narrated in the Ganda epic tradition impart information about


31 show in Chapter 7 that a memorandum prepared by Apolo Kaggwa for the Butaka Land Commission regarding the relationship of kabakas and clans has been has been adopted uncritically by successive generations of historians of Buganda.









15

patterns of social interaction in Buganda several hundred years ago. Detailed drawings of the placement of compounds in the capitals of Kabaka Suna (who reigned from 1824 to 1857) and Mutesa (who reigned from 1857 to 1884) provide social maps relevant for an earlier time. David Schoenbrun's study of interlacustrine society until 1500 demonstrates the antiquity and historical antecedents of social institutions and relationships I describe.' Households and Banana Gardens

We can see from more recent descriptions something of the historically-rooted style of marriage and household production in the region. Ganda society was built on households in which women produced food and children and men produced manufactured goods and maintained formal networks of social connections. Near the cool, shaded quiet of each banana garden was the home of the family it supported. A man received a kibagj~ (a plot of land) from a chief when he wanted to marry, and once the land had been cleared and the banana shoots established, cultivating the growing trees was the responsibility of his wife. In Luganda the verb still used when a man marries is okuwa&s which literally means, "to cause (someone) to peel bananas." The verb used for a woman's marriage is passive, okfmbra and it means "to become the cook (for someone)."' Women in Ganda households were responsible for growing bananas and other crops, and for cooking; finding a wife could also be called "finding a hoe.",6 A man brought gifts of


4Schoenbrun, GrenPlac.

5 Lucy Mair, Native Marriage in Bugand IAI Memorandum 19, 1940, 13.

6John Roscoe, The Baganda: An Account of their Native Customs and Beliefs, 2nd.
ed., New York: Barnes and Noble, 1966 (first ed. 1911), 92; Mair, An African People. 8788.









16

barkcloth, beer, and food to his new wife's family to compensate them for the value of the labor that he was taking away. If thereafter a woman objected to the treatment she received from her husband, she returned to the home of her brother. From his home, the possibility of improving the marriage would be negotiated; if that proved impossible, the woman's brother would return the bridewealth to her former husband, and she would stay with her brother. Women who had been given away to chiefs, or captured during raids on Buganda's neighbors, and for whom no bridewealth had been paid, were "wives of the tired hoe," who could not be divorced because there was no bridewealth to return.

Husbands expected wives to produce children as well as food. Women who had been unable to have children were sometimes sent away by their husbands, and a woman might live apart from her husband after her children grew to adulthood.7 Baganda approved of widows who "remembered" their deceased husbands by continuing to live in the same place, cultivating the same gardens.8

Baganda families lived in large circular homes made of neatly trimmed elephant grass, with the roof sloping to the ground. In the same courtyard, there were smaller structures for cooking, for young men to sleep in, and for adult men to gather and talk. Nineteenth century travellers were struck by the sturdy construction and meticulous neatness of Ganda homes, which, at that time, were built in one or two days by





7 Jan Bender Shetler observed households of independent barren women in Northern Tanzania, personal communication.

'Cf. Buganda Law Reports, Civil Case No 38/46, p.41-44, which excoriates families that disturb widows.








17

neighborhood work parties.9 Bark cloth partitions divided a home into separate rooms. The homes in a neighborhood, separated by each family's gardens, stretched along the fertile middle ground of the hills characteristic of Buganda--swampy land at the bottom of the hill was uncultivated. A family's compound was distinguished from that of its neighbors by mpiwy, a border-marking bush that was planted by children during the ceremony in which the family was "shown" the land it was receiving. The street connecting houses in a mita neighborhood/ridge led to the compound of the chief, the figure of authority who had granted land for cultivation to each of the families in his area, who listened to disputes, and who marshalled the people in his (or her) area for tribute or service to the king.

The LD&giDL Kusenga: Attaching to a Chief Kusng the act of attaching oneself to a chief, was one of the fundamental forms of social cohesion in Buganda. The particular meaning the word kusng has in Luganda-indicating an exchange of service, allegiance, and tribute in return for a kibaqi (plot of land) and protection--is older than Luganda itself. According to Schoenbrun, the word emerged between 800 and 1000 A.D. in West Nyanza, the ancestral speech community that eventually split into Rutara, (the parent of Lunyoro, Runyankore, Ekihaya, and others) and North Nyanza (the parent of Luganda, Lusoga, Lugwere, and Orusyan). As Schoenbrun explains, "To ask for land, in West Nyanza societies, at the end of the first millennium A.D., was also to enter into a net of social obligations."' The mutual


9Mair, 123.

'OSchoenbrun, MS, 328.








18

expectations inherent in the kusenga relationship structured the productive activities of Ganda men and women and their aspirations for well-being and prosperity.

Allocation of a kibagi was the critical first element in the kung relationship. An oral tradition of the great loyalty of Nkalubo to Kabaka Ndawula, whose reign began sometime around 1700, describes this process. Nkalubo and another person emigrated from Sesse to the mainland, and became the men of a chief named Nawandugu. Nkalubo then decided to leave that chief, and went to serve the kabaka. He was given one plot, but then, because of the respect he showed, he was given a better plot, closer to the king's palace." As a result of his actions on behalf of the kabaka, a chieftainship was created for him, and successors to that chiefship assumed his name as their title of office. The sign of chiefship was control over land that one could allocate to people who would be followers. In the pattern we know from the nineteenth century, a person might attain this status by succeeding to the leadership of a branch of a clan, by appointment to a senior chiefship by the kabaka, or by appointment to a sub-chiefship by a senior chief. Chiefs attracted followers using their ability to allocate land. The Ganda likened chiefship to the light of torches that burned at night. Baganda chiefs were said to initially dismiss paraffin lamps, saying :"what will become of our torches? How will a chief be able to hang onto a torch?




""There were two brothers who went to live under Nawandugu at Lubu, having
immigrated from Sese. Their names were Nkalubo and Miingo. Nkalubo decided to leave Nawandugu and to become the Kabaka's man being presented before the throne by Sewankambo, and receiving plot of land near the palace from the Kabaka then reigning-Ndawula. From day to day Nkalubo paid a visit of respect to the Kabaka and soon he gained favour, the outward sign of which was a new plot nearer to the palace where Sebugwawo now resides." Basekabaka, is. version at Makerere, p. 73.








19

Surely it is the lamp-torch which is adhering to the chief?"'2 Chiefs, like torches at night, collected people around them.

After attaining a chiefship, a person might be demoted, but would never be left

with no followers.3 Part of the tremendous emotion attached to the creation of mailo land in 1900 came from the fact that chiefs lost their land, and had to become followers instead if chiefs. One person testified, "I had been a mutaka (a chief by virtue of clan leadership) but I settled down and became his man and cut reeds for him."'4 Another clan elder described how in 1900 he had been "turned out" of the historically important clan land that he had controlled, and had gone to the Lukiko (the assembly of Ganda chiefs, like a parliament) three times for the return of his land but failed to get it. He explained, "so I packed up my belongings and went and settled on the kabaka's land in Kikulu and became a mere peasant."'5




12 Apolo Kaggwa, Ekitabo kya Kika kya Nsenene, Mengo: AK Press, n.d., Manuscript translation of Professor John Rowe, 17.
13In the early 20th century, Ganda chiefs tried to explain to British Protectorate
officials that retiring a chief to the status of ordinary citizen was really unthinkable. A long correspondence about whether the man who had been an important chief, the Pokino, from the 1890s until 1924 ought to be required to pay tax demonstrates how seriously the Baganda considered this problem, and the failure of the colonial administrators of the 1920s to fathom Ganda political structures. Jarvis, the Governor's secretary, refused to acknowledge that having to pay tax would humiliate the once-great man, "The ex Pokino should be well able to pay the small sum demanded as Poll Tax. Personally I should like to see all exemptions abolished. When a European official retires he is still called upon to pay all his taxes!." ESA, A46/1315, SMP No. 4345.

14Commission, 425.

"5Commission, 458, Pasikale Bambaga.









20

Although on the surface kuseng may appear similar to feudal relationships in medieval Europe, its workings were very different. The relative abundance of land in relation to people shaped the character of the relationship. The Luganda vocabulary regarding kusng indicates that people chose to form these relationships, and could also undo them. A follower could kuseng "join a new master, settle, immigrate," and he could also k nguk "leave a master/chief, move away from." A chief could kusenza, "receive (newcomers into an area)," or he could kungus, "cause people to move away." Since a chiefs standing was dependent on having lots of followers, the terms of kusng favored the followers. Ganda proverbs speak of followers as people who had choices. "Musenze alanda"--"The follower often changes his master" and "Busenze muguma: bwe bukonnontera n'osongola"--"Service is like the digging stick: when it has become blunt, you point it again."'6 In the late nineteenth century, people left their chief if another chief seemed to present better opportunities; even a page in the kabaka's court could report that he had left his position in the palace because "they ruled him badly."'7

Baganda described kueng as beneficial in explanations to early twentieth century ethnographers; clan histories and the recorded epic tradition suggest people perceived balance and mutual benefit in the relationship in earlier periods.'" The forms of exchange



16 Ferdinand Walser, Luganda Proverbs, (Kampala: Mill Hill Missionaries, 1984) proverbs numbered 2938, 1034.

17Lubwuma interview, 6/4/1995; Commission, 540, Danieri Serugabi; Kaggwa, Nsenene, 14.
18 The sense that the relationship between leaders and followers was mutually beneficial has great antiquity: cf. Schoenbrun, ms. 186.









21

marking kuseng expressed the reciprocity people expected to experience in the relationship.'9 A chiefs men built elaborate reed fences that encircled his compound as part of their service to him; a chief protected his men from other powerful people who might claim their labor or service. The chiefs representative planted a barkcloth tree as part of the ceremony of "showing the land" in which the follower received his plot of land; the follower then gave back to his chief graceful, dark red cloths made of bark from that tree pounded and stretched in several days' careful labor. Followers took their chief part of every brew of beer they made, and chiefs offered beer to people who came to their compound.20

People spoke and wrote about kusng as an on-going exchange of gifts. Chiefs needed loyal service, and followers who served loyally needed to be rewarded. It is interesting to note that the Ganda epic tradition recalls a chief of Kabaka Tebendeke (the eighteenth Kabaka, who probably ruled just before 1700) who lost his position as keeper of the royal tombs and was killed because he asked too often for gifts, instead of waiting to receive them.2 Chiefs showed their gratitude to people who served them well with gifts of barkcloth, women, and cattle.22 Apolo Kaggwa, who held the highest chiefly office,




'9Schoenbrun notes that kiba4j means both debt and banana plantation, thus revealing "with stark efficiency the elision of inequality with access to land." 312, ins.

20Mackay, 197; Roscoe, "Enquiry."

21 Apolo Kaggwa, Basekabaka be Buganda. Typescript of English translation by Simon Musoke. Africana Collection, Makerere University Library, 58.

22A.M. Mackay, Pioneer Missionary of the Church Missionary Society in Uganda, by his sister, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1891, 208-9.








22

Katikiro (Prime Minister) for forty critical years at the turn of the century, defined the logic of kuseng in his description of the actions of Christian refugees during the wars of 1889. According to Kaggwa, "Kabaka Ntale (king of Ankole) liked us, he gave us many estates and five tusks and about thirty or forty head of cattle." To show their appreciation (and also to further their war aims), the refugees raided Ganda cattle for the Nkole king. They then built Ganda bridges for him over the Luzi river. As a result "we became more loved by Kabaka Ntale who gave us more cattle."23 In the early twentieth century, people told Lucy Mair that they expected to receive "meat, beer, and politeness" from their chief; and records from the first decades of the century describe a chief giving a favored follower bridewealth contributions and barkcloth on important occasions.24

The highest reward a follower could receive was appointment to a subordinate chiefship. Ganda epic tradition describes chiefships that were created as rewards to loyal followers, and the practice did not end with the attempt by British colonial officers to rationalize chiefship.25 In 1924, the Omuwanika Stanislaus Mugwanya, who had been one of the Regents who received a large amount of land in 1900, made a point of emphasizing his relationship with a person who was testifying against him in the case against mailo. Mugwanya identified the witness as one of his followers, and remarked "You have




23Apollo Kaggwa, Basekabaka bya Buganda, Ms. in Africana Collection, Makerere University Library, 110/149 (doubl pagination).

24Mair, 183; Africana Collection, Makerere University Library, Kaggwa Papers, AR KA 43/52, Sitefano Serwange to Apolo Kaggwa, August 1913.

25Kaggwa, Basekabaka ms. version, 74.








23

cultivated a very nice garden at Buganga for which I thanked you and made you a chief in consequence. 26

The logic of kuseng and the bonds it created between Baganda of different statuses, can be glimpsed in a story of the failure of foreigners to understand how they were to behave as part of this system of reciprocal exchange. Sometime in the 1890s, a nine-year-old Ganda boy (who is not named) joined the household of the Protestant missionary C.W. Hattersley. He stayed there working for Hattersley for nine years. When he wanted to marry, he asked the man he had served for assistance in acquiring a plot of land. Hattersley told the young man to ask his father for help, but the young man said (as Hattersley remembered the conversation), "When I came to join your establishment I gave myself entirely to you. Since that time you are my father; I have no other. Were I to apply to my father, he would only refer me to you." Hattersley, however, did not think of himself as obliged to the young man. He had employed him for nine years, and now he was employing other boys, "and with my short pocket I cannot be always helping boys who have left me." He also explained to the young man that if he helped him with the plot of land, the young man would also want help with the dowry, then with wedding clothes, then with the wedding feast. He told the young man "It is very difficult to understand where such requests are going to end." Trying to get Hattersley to recognize his role, the young man explained

Sir, you altogether fail to understand the customs of the Baganda. Do you not know that the more requests we make the more we show our love for



26Commission, 424, Stanislaus Mugwanya.









24

you. Were it not that I greatly love you, I would never ask you for a single
thing. We never ask anybody we dislike to give us a thing.

The missionary replied, "Perhaps in this particular case less love and fewer requests might suit my pocket better." The young man responded

Sir, it distresses me much to hear you talk thus. I came to you because you
are my father. You have been in Uganda many years, and I thought you
knew our customs thoroughly. I hope you will never make such a remark to those who know you less than I do. At present they look upon you as a
great friend.2

However disappointed the young man might have been in his patron's lack of understanding, he did not give up on the missionary. Several months later, when Hattersley said he hoped the young man would serve as a housemaster at the Mengo High School, his former servant replied, "I have already told you that I am yours; that you are my father and I belong to you. If you say I am to come back and be a master in the High School, it is for you to command and for me to obey. ,28 The missionary, along with many other foreigners in Buganda, failed to understand that receiving the service someone offered created a relationship that did not begin and end with the payment of wages.

Production as the Enactment of Meanin Attaching to a chief through kusenga gave people a material place--a banana plantation to farm, a source of support, and a channel for their ambitions. Another fundamental process connected people to essential metaphysical realities--the act of remembering. In the long history of Buganda, people invested their productive energies in


27C. W. Hattersley, The Baganda at Home, London: Frank Cass and Co, 1968 (first ed. 1908), p., 189-90.

28 Hattersley, 190.









25

ways that enabled them to maintain the memory of meaningful people and events. The growing of food, manufacture of goods, and raising of children took place in configurations dedicated to, and named by, things that were important to remember. These acts of remembering had to do with the present and the future: they organized and defined relationships between people, and brought into peoples' lives the protection and assistance of able spiritual resources. One kind of remembering was the connection people maintained with their immediate and distant ancestors in lineage networks and clans. Another kind involved the continuation through generations of exchanges that had once taken place; these reenacted exchanges shaped Buganda as a cohesive entity. Remembering the Lives of Ancestors

Paths in Buganda took families from their own homes to those of their neighbors, to the compounds of their chief, and also further, to the home of the mutak~ (head of a line of descent from a remembered ancestor). In the banana garden of the person who had succeeded to the position of mutak relatives gathered to observe ceremonies marking birth, growth, death, and succession. These ceremonies took place in the nineteenth century, and people explained to early twentieth century ethnographers that remembering ancestors was critical to the well-being of Ganda families. Schoenbrun explains that in the society that preceded the kingdom of Buganda and its neighbors in the region, the gift of life (mwy-Q) and the physical force of life (lbugal ) were "joined together in the living," and when the body died, "what had been the life force of the living body, mwoyo, became the life-force of the disembodied spirit, muzimu." A xnuzirnu was a real entity, but it "could only be present in 'this' world (the land of the living) through acts of memory by its








26

descendants."29 Baganda remembered their ancestors in the banana gardens that contained the graves of generations of forbearers and asked their ancestors for protection. Before the arrival of Western religions, bzimu (spirits of ancestors) intervened in the lives of their descendants to assist and guide them, as well as to punish them.30

The power of distinguished ancestors over the living can be seen in the actions the kabaka had to take to free himself of the influence of the dead in an area that he chose as his capital. Whenever a kabaka moved his capital from one location to another all of the graves in the location of the new capital had to be removed. (The habit of moving the capital appears in Ganda epic tradition in the time Kabaka Mutebi, who probably reigned in the mid 17th century, and the statement that bones were always removed from the site of a capital appears in the epic tradition in a story about Kabaka Suna, who ruled in the first half of the nineteenth century).3 Since kabakas had sovereignty over all the land, it seems likely that graves had to be removed in order to eliminate the power over the kabaka's actions that the people buried there would otherwise wield.




29Schoenbrun, ins., 358-9.

301n the 1920s Mair was told that people paid attention to the spirits of ancestors to avoid their potentially malicious interference, but Gorju, writing about Ganda religion as people remembered it from the 19th century, described the impact of ancestors' spirits as beneficial. Mair, 225; Julien Gorju, Entre le Victoria. L'Albert et LEdouard, (Rennes: Oberthur, 1920), 220, ff., Schoenbrun, ins, 356-7. Schoenbrun notes that according to Welbourn, in Luganda the word zimu implied a long departed ancestor, and misambwa had the meaning of recently departed relatives. Schoenbrun, 364, citing Welbourn, "Some Aspects of Kiganda Religion." Uganda Iun 26/2(1962): 171-82.

31Apollo Kaggwa, Basekabaka bya Buganda, ins. translation in Africana Collection, Makerere University Library, 88/5; Kiwanuka, King, 44, 117.








27

Baganda conceptualized descent from specific remembered ancestors as a tree

branching out into branches and limbs. The kika (clan) divided into secondary units called 5sg" (branches) and smaller ones called mituba (twigs). A clan consisted of large numbers of people who thought of themselves as children of the same original forefathers, never married each other, and identified with each other by sharing names and a totem.3 The clustering of clan burial grounds suggests that several hundred years ago, members of each clan lived primarily in one particular area of the country.3 As more people moved into Buganda and royal institutions developed, the connection between clan membership and access to land became less direct. In the nineteenth century, and probably in the eighteenth, people maintained clan and lineage connections with relatives who did not live near them, and a muak~ had followers on clan land who were not members of the clan.3

After clans had dispersed so that their members lived all over the country, people relied on hospitality from fellow clan members--immrediately identifiable by their clan names-wherever they travelled.3 People observed important occasions with members of aig or millib and leaders of these units controlled succession. The clan as a whole provided labor to maintain the shrines of Ganda royalty who came from their clan, and




32Schoenbrun suggests that the kika (clan) was probably the means through which people obtained access to the best banana growing lands as the practice of intensive banana cultivation emerged between 900 and 1100 AD., is., 305.

33 Kiwanuka, 94.

34Z. Kisingiri, "Enquiry into Native Land Tenure in the Uganda Protectorate," Uganda (Kingdom); Bodleian Library, Oxford; Shelfmark MS Africa s 17.

35 Ndawula interview.








28

performed particular tasks for the kabaka. In Ganda epic tradition whole clans were responsible for the transgressions of one of their members, and evidence from the late nineteenth century suggests that persons who incurred debts or fines could approach clan leaders for help.36

The most important location for remembering ancestors was the butaka, a banana garden that contained graves of important members of the clan or lineage network. One witness before the 1924 Commission defined butaka as "the place of birth of anyone where his ancestors and forefathers have lived and were buried. And every chief whether Mukwenda, Sekibobo, or even the Katikiro himself when he dies he is buried on his butaka land."37 Banana gardens that contained important graves were controlled by the people whose ancestors were buried there, and not by chiefs who had authority over contiguous land. Before the twentieth century, only distinguished members of a lineage were buried in a butaka; the graves of ordinary people were not visited or honored.38 The mutaka Zedi Zirimenya Buga explained, for example, that his clan had always had a butaka at Mangira: "We were on that land when Kabaka Kintu [the first kabaka] came, and he found us there." In all the generations "from time immemorial" until 1924, however, only sixteen graves had been made on the land. Other butaka had graves "that cannot be numbered," but even those must have been the graves of important people, not all the




36Kaggwa, Basekabaka 69; Kiwanuka, Ki=gg, 67; Lukiko Record, 13, 29/5/1905.

37Commission, Aligizanda Mude, 333.

38Mackay, 196; Lubwuma interview; Commission, 540, Danieri Serugabi.









29

members of the clan.39 People who had been powerful during their lives belonged in the butaka after their death, where they would be remembered and invoked to continue to assist their relatives.

New butaka were sometimes created by the kabaka to commemorate the lives of very important people. People who had been chiefs in the nineteenth century described the process in 1904. They said that people who had gathered around a distinguished leader in his lifetime continued to live in the vicinity of his grave, and more people might choose to come to live there and remember him after his death. After three generations of descendants were buried in the place of the grave of a "man of importance," the area containing the graves--and the surrounding gardens occupied by people engaged in remembering the buried ancestor--became butaka. This meant that the ability of chiefs to require labor or service was diminished, just as it was on the ancient butaka that had been incorporated in the kingdom as it developed.' Since people might choose to live near the grave of a particularly powerful leader who had been a member of their lineage, the


39Commission, 438, Zedi Zirimenya; 443, Semei Sebagala Kyadondo.

40 Testimony of Apollo Kaggwa and Ham Mukasa, "Enquiry into Native Land Tenure." It is important to note that this document has been widely misinterpreted as meaning that butaka was created by the burial of three generations of one lineage in the same place. Both Kaggwa and Mukasa stated that the process was unusual and only happened in the case of an important chief. Roscoe, perhaps in eagerness to see an equivalent of private property in pre-colonial Buganda, wrote about the process as a general one, Roscoe, 134. Morris Carter, attempting to define Ganda land tenure for the Uganda Protectorate High Court, made the same inference from the "Enquiry" testimony, "The Clan System, Land Tenure and Succession among the Baganda," Uganda Protectorate Law Reports, 1(190410):99-120. Roscoe and Carter's interpretation has been taken as authoritative by other scholars.









30

kabaka and others with authority over land were especially careful about where such people were buried. If the kabaka, or a clan, did not want to surrender control of a particular area of land where an important personage had been buried, the successor to the important person would not be allowed to be buried in the same location.

Exactly this kind of conflict over the potential creation of a butaka took place in the early nineteenth century at Senge. The details of this conflict, which emerged in disputes over the allocation of mailo land, provide an important insight into social relationships and the process of creating butaka before the transformations that took place at the turn of the century. Kidza had been the Kimbugwe, one of the most important chiefs of Kabaka Suna. When the Kimbugwe Kidza died ("before the arrival of Mr. Speke the first European,") he had been buried on a plot of land that had been given to him by the head of the Mbogo clan merely for growing food. Since he was an important chief, the Mbogo clan elders feared that his relatives would begin to gather to live around his grave, successive burials would turn it into a butaka, and the land would be lost to the Mbogo clan. They negotiated with the Kimbugwe's clan to ensure that the important man's grave would not remain on their land permanently. They "were very anxious to have the body of Kidza, a member of the Nsenene clan, removed from our butaka land, but the members of the Nsenene clan begged us to allow them to keep it there until it was quite dry when they would disinter it and take it to their butaka land.'41 Baganda made significant efforts to bury important members of their lineage and clan in the appropriate butaka, where their memory would be best preserved and their enduring influence experienced by the group.


4Commission, 371-2, Luisi Majwega.









31

This involved travelling to take the body of an important person to the appropriate location for burial if he (or she) had died in another place, and also exhumation of the bodies of significant members of the lineage who had not been buried in the butaka.42 Men who had been leaders in the late nineteenth century described this kind of disinterment as normal; witnesses before the Butaka Commission in 1922 described both reburials and the tragedy of important men who had been buried in inappropriate places."3 It seems reasonable to surmise that people had given the same careful attention to the burial of important people in the eighteenth century. Remembering Constitutional Events

The strategic assemblage in a butaka of powerful people's graves had significance beyond the prayers and hopes of their descendants. As the institution of kingship developed, people found ways to incorporate the pre-existing centers of power and authority, manifested in butaka, into the emerging entity of Buganda. The butaka themselves, and the pattern of finding purpose and order in remembering, were extended and adapted to create the structures of Buganda as a nation. One aspect of this integration was pinpointing, and holding in memory, moments when the clan had demonstrated its support for an early kabaka, or a kabaka from the distant past had visited the butaka. The people who lived in an area reenacted in successive generations the actions that linked them with the center of the kingdom.L Gorju observed, in 1920, that a detailed


4' Africana Collection, Makerere University, Apollo Kaggwa papers, AR KA 1, CA 22 "Mugwanya to Apolo and Kisingiri, Rubaga 24 Jan, 1906; Commission, 357-8, 448.


43 Commission, 357-8, 361, 425, 448.








32

reconstruction of the entire history of Buganda could be made from piecing together clan traditions of their own contributions to the kingdom.'

The Ganda monarchy evolved through the interaction of pre-existing and

immigrant clan structures.45 This can be glimpsed at in the testimony in 1924 concerning the loss of butaka by the Nvuma clan. Kyadondo was an ancient butaka of the Nvuma clan; as their mutaka explained, "Kabaka Kintu found us there." Before the kingship came to exist (probably in the 14th or 15th century), the Nvuma clan had had a corporate existence and identified Kyadondo as their center. Kyadondo was the name of the butaka, the name of the large area that became a sa (province) of the Ganda kingdom, and the name of the mutaka himself. Kyadondo was a kaQly (principal) butaka, which meant that it had the quality of a charter: it was the place where the clan began and which everyone in the clan, no matter where they were born, called their birthplace. As one witness explained, butaka were "the origin or beginning of the baganda...the place which is hereditary during the reigns of all the Basekabaka of Buganda, and it is the place where the ancestors or forefathers of each clan are buried."46 Together, the ka1y butaka of all the clans were a kind of unwritten constitution for the kingdom, they were its first source.


"Gorju, 85.
45This process is considered by Julien Gorju, Entre le Victoria. L'Albert et LEdouard. Rennes: Oberthur, 1920, 133-4; Lloyd Fallers, "Social Stratification in Traditional Buganda," in Lloyd Fallers, ed., TheKing'sMen, New York: Oxford University Press, 1964:64-113, 76-81; Kiwanuka, 115; D. Anthony Low, Buganda in Modern History, Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1971, 15; Wrigley, Kingship and state, 64-5; Ray, 94-6. Schoenbrun's historical linguistic examination of the question provides the greatest time-depth supported by evidence, ms. 347-350, 369, summarized on 396.

46Commission, 342, Malaki Musajakawa.









33

The people who lived in subsidiary Nvuma clan butaka in Kyadondo remembered not only their ancestors buried in the butaka but also stories that linked their clan with the order of the kingdom. The clan members continued to work for kabakas to commemorate the way one of their ancestors had begun to serve a kabaka in the past. The Siga butaka called Sekagya at Bumbu, for example, was remembered because Sekagya, who had been the katikiro to Kabaka Nakibinge (the 8th kabaka, who probably ruled around 1500), took care of Nakibinge's wife, Nanono, at that place. All the generations of successors to both Sekagya and Nanono were buried there.47 A clan elder explained that another butaka, called Buwambo "had been given to us by Kabaka Nakibinge, who planted a tree there for us to tie on his cow which we look after there and which is called Nakawombe." For the hundreds of years since that event, according to the Nvuma clan, its members had continued to look after the kabaka's cows in that place, and "the present Kabaka Daudi Chwa came to this place and saw this very tree and he also gave us his own cow to look after." One of the mituba butaka of the clan, Jita, "was very important for it was in this estate that the kabaka's beer was brewed, and where the kabaka's big calabash called Mendanvuma was kept." 4 Other clans framed their relationship with the kabaka in similar ways. The Ngabi clan, for example, had a butaka called Kipapi, where the king's buffalo were looked after.49




47Commission, 446-7, Semei Sebagala Kyadondo.

48They said, "this estate had never been cut off before." Ibid, 442.

49Commission, 475b, Danieri Sendikadiwa.









34

Baganda spoke about the tasks or the remembered actions of their clan with a

strong sense of identity and purposefulness. When a mutaka claimed in front of the Bataka Land Commission, "we have always been fishermen for the Namasole (Queen Mother) from time immemorial," he asserted the importance for the people of their work not as a means of livelihood, but as a way of defining who they were and how they fit into the kingdom.50 Remembered relationships between clan ancestors and ancient kabakas connected people in Buganda to the central authority of the kingdom in ways that were meaningful and effective. Whether the remembered events represent co-optation by increasingly powerful kings, or clans' strategies of integrating themselves into a useful rising power, or both, are questions for further historical enquiry.5' For whatever combination of motivations, over the long dure people in Buganda created a resilient polity using production dedicated to remembering important people and relationships.52

Following Tribute Up: Overlapping Forms of Power

People in Buganda used the logic of kuseng and the pattern of production oriented to remembering relationships to create the structures of their kingdom. By comparing the patterns of exchange visible in the late nineteenth century with the forms of authority named in Ganda epic tradition, it is possible to reconstruct the order of the kingdom. In the time of Kabaka Namugala, the 24th kabaka, who probably ruled in the mid-eighteenth century, a new type of chiefship--ekitongole--appears in the Ganda epic


5Commission, 428, Makobo Kalonde.
"I "Schoenbrun, ms. 333.

5Wrigley, Kingship and state, 228.









35

tradition. Before the beginning of ekitongole chiefship, Buganda was organized in a complex and effective system of chiefs serving the kabaka, chiefs serving the Namasole (Queen Mother), chiefs serving extremely powerful chiefs, and partially autonomous clan elders and religious leaders.

The role of tribute in expressing political relationships may have contributed to Buganda's stability over hundreds of years. Followers gave tribute to the particular leaders whom they served: Ganda structures of power were the connections between large groups of less powerful people who had obligations to particular powerful people in control of land. Since political relationships were expressed through the exchange of gifts, new forms of authority (and new obligations for tribute) could be introduced without displacing older ones. Had rulers been contesting authority over territo one would have won and the others would have lost; but because Ganda rulers were competing for followers and their tribute, the allegiance of a group of people could be divided among two or more rulers with nobody losing out entirely. 53 The densely complex and overlapping patterns of tribute obligations that existed in the late nineteenth century suggest that in the past Ganda rulers divided power--in the form of control over tributegivers--among leaders who otherwise might have come into conflict.

Attention to the flow of tribute from households through chiefs to various leaders of the kingdom suggests that power in Buganda was diffused, not centralized, and the structures of power were overlapping and complex, not hierarchical in a linear way. The



13 Another reason that Ganda chiefs did not fight each other over territory in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was that they obtained wealth by raiding.









36

resolution of conflict by dividing followers among contenders for power created intense competition among chiefs to attract followers. Interpretations of Ganda history derived from royalist sources and from observations made in the nineteenth century have depicted a centralized state in which kabakas gradually became more dominant over other internal forces. However, the actual relationships expressed in the exchange of tribute, allegiance, and protection reveal power diffused throughout the structures of the kingdom. "4

According to Ganda epic tradition, Buganda comprised ten divisions called saza each ruled by a chief with a specific title at the time Kabaka Namugala established the first ekitongole chiefship in about 1700. The kingdom had grown through the incorporation of clan leaders whose territories became sazas of the kingdom under the kabaka and through the appointment of chiefs to rule newly annexed territories. These gradual changes are recorded in Ganda epic tradition, which concludes the story of each kabaka by naming the important chiefs appointed during his reign. The titles for the chiefships of the oldest, most central sazas are identical to the names of the clan elders of the clans which had


54Original sources that reinforce this point of view are Kaggwa's Basekabaka, his
contribution to the "Enquiry, and the memorandum that became part of the Butaka Land Commission records which listed every victory of a Kabaka over a clan leader. The point of view that kabakas attempted to systematically take over the power of other controllers of territory can be found in Martin Southwold, Bureaucracy and Chiefship in Buganda, East African Studies No. 14, Kampala, 1961, and D. Anthony Low, Moder Hisory, 30; and Low, "The Northern Interior, 1840-1884," in History of East Africa, Vol. 1, Roland Oliver and Gervase Mathew, eds., Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963, 334; Fallers, "Social Stratification," 97, and Wrigley, Kings 65. However, Ray cites an informant who remembered seeing Kaggwa refuse to record clan traditions which named Kabakas before Kintu, 101. Relying on oral histories recounted by clan elders, Michael Wright disputed the view that clans and kabakas had been in conflict or that Buganda had been despotic, Buganda in the Heroic Age, New York: Oxford University Press, 1971, 2-4, 206; More locations of power and other non-royalist perspectives were published in Ebifa and Munno by Gomotoka and others; these are explored by Kiwanuka, 99-100, Ray, 96-13.








37

significant butaka in that area. For example, the Mugema was the head of the Ngeye clan, and also the chief of Busirro; and the Kitunzi was the head of the Mpologoma clan, and also the chief of Gomba. The titles for the chiefships of some of the areas which Buganda had annexed from its neighbors were identical with the names of the newly annexed sazas: the Kasuju was the chief of Busuju; and the Katambala was the chief of Butambala. Following the Ganda pattern of marking political relationships with remembered histories, each saza chief had particular obligations of service to the kabaka, as is illustrated in Table

2. 1.55

"All of Buganda" attended gatherings in the courtyard of the kabaka, nineteenth

century visitors were told; the people present were chiefs of every saza, and followers who had come from each saza to work for the kabaka.56 The compound of every saza chief connected to the courtyard of the kabaka in the capital with a wide, straight road. This real and mental picture of Buganda as a collection of ten sazas ruled by saza chiefs was valid, but it was not complete. Each of the saza chiefs nominally allocated land and received tribute over the part of Buganda that was his saza, but other powerful figures had claims within their sazas, and several of the saza chiefs also had authority over land in




5" Ham Mukasa, Enquiry; Roscoe, 233.The names and services of some saza chiefs
suggests that these chiefships originated with something like the remembered relationship of an individual with the king called obwengeze land tenure by Morris Carter in 1909, and by A. B. Mukwaya, Land Tenure in Buganda: Present Day Tendencies, East Africn Studies no. 1, Kampala: East African Institute of Social Research, 1953, 12-3.

56Maps of the capitals of Kabakas Suna and Mutesa, who reigned through most of the nineteenth century, and descriptions of the gathering of "all of Buganda" by Mackay and other nineteenth century observers confirm the order delineated in the epic tradition.








38


Table 2.1
The Chiefs of Buganda's Ten Sazas and Their Special Functions Name Name of Saza Special Work for Kabaka

Kg Kyadondo Built houses for kabaka; cared for his twins

Mukwenda Singo

Sekibobo Kyagwe Supervised people who came to work for kabaka
Collected tribute from Busoga

Kangawo Bulemezi Built the house of the kabaka's most important
wife; took care of her

Mugema Busiro Head of Ngeye Clan; built and maintained
shrines of dead kabakas

PoEQkino Budu Collected tribute from Koki and Kiziba

Kitnz Gomba Head of Mpologoma clan; took care of shrines

Kaina Mawokota Provided guides when the kabaka went to war

Katamnbala Butambala Head of Ndiga clan; carried the kabaka's charms

Kasju Busuju Took care of the families of the princes and
princesses; an elder of Ngeye clan.








39

other chiefs' sazas. For example, the Queen Mother and her subordinates controlled land in most of the sazas." Saza chiefs also lost control of areas that became populated by the followers of a particular Lubaale (god), when the devotees established farms and remembered the Lubaale under the direction of a mandw (medium). According to Apolo Kaggwa's explanation in 1906, the people who had had authority over the land on which the mandwa and his followers settled could not object to their presence, because the medium would say "You'l die if you don't let them stay.""8 Parts of every saza were butaka lands, and these were under the control of clan elders. A small number of powerful chiefs in the center of the kingdom, including the Katikiro, the Kimbugwe, and the Sabaganzi (brother of the Namasole) controlled lands in every saza.59

The power to collect tribute, or the inability to do so, demonstrated the extent of a chiefs authority. A Saza chief mediated between the center of the kingdom and people in authority below him; all these subtle relationships were enacted in the collection of tribute.




"Gorju, 139-40; Lawrence D. Schiller, "The Royal Women of Buganda." Internationl Journal of African Historical Studies 23/3(1990):455-473, also Lukiko Record, 239, 29/1/1917 on a conflict over the appointment of a Nanasole's chiefship that was being abolished; Lukiko Record 169, 30/4/1915, on a Namasole of a deceased Kabaka complaining about losing control of her land; and Customary Law Reports 1941-1951, 115-118, on a dispute between descendants of the Mugema and a Princess over ownership of land,
Civil Case No. 262/50.


58Kaggwa, Enquiry. Schoenbrun suggests that kubandwa became associated with
particular places, and their mediums were able to command considerable labor, at some time before 1000 AD. ms, 207.

9 Gorju, 136-7.









4')

For example, people remembered in 1904 that only some of the people giving tribute in the suza of Kyagwe in the nineteenth century gave it directly to the Sekibobo, the saza chief of Kyagwe. Others paid directly to his deputy, because they were the followers of the deputy, not followers of the saza chief. Other people residing in the saza gave tribute only to the Mutaka of a clan, and in order to obtain tribute destined for the king from those people, a chain of collectors, representing the king, the saza chief, and his deputy, would appeal to the Mutaka to collect tribute. Some tribute items, such as barkcloth, had to go to the kabaka, but the collectors could ask people to supply other goods in order to have something to keep themselves. When chains of collectors asked for tribute in a group, each authority figure represented kept a portion of what was collected. 6 These complex and overlapping chains of tribute suggest that new demands had been layered on top of older demands over a long period of time. Mackay observed in the 1 880s that some forms of tribute were collected by responsible people going from household to household whenever the king or queen mother chose to collect tax. Other forms of tribute, such as beer from every brew or the obligation to provide a bark cloth for the burial of a very important man, were routine and the tribute was brought without a specific request."' Receiving tribute through chains of authority figures entitled to take a portion of what was given was a well-established pattern in Buganda: early in the twentieth century, Catholics







60Kaggwa, Enquiry.

61Mackay, 196.









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and Protestants built their cathedrals and schools by collecting from followers using this technique.62

Evidence from the nineteenth century indicates that saza chiefs did not exercise

authority over all the people who lived in their sazas; a person could live in the area of one chief, but be the follower of a different chief. A follower's allegiance to the chief who was nominally in control of a region depended on a consensus regarding that chiefs authority over the specific land the follower occupied. A person might be independent of the saza chiefs authority because he or she was a follower of the Kabaka directly, of a Lubale spirit, of the Queen Mother, or of a different chief who controlled some land inside that particular saza. For example, the blacksmith Erenesti Kakoza claimed that in the 1880s he had not been a follower of the Kimbugwe, even though he had been "under" (living in the saza and of lower status than) the Kimbugwe. He demonstrated his autonomy by claiming that no intermediaries came between the holders of his title and the kabaka: "All the kabaka's messengers sent to Kakoza used to come straight from the kabaka to myself, but did not come through the Kimbugwe; and when the Kabaka used to come to my workshop to [ask me] to do some blacksmith work he used to come straight to me not through the Kimbugwe; and he would not have paid such visits to a private tenant...63

More evidence of multiple forms of authority that co-existed and sometimes

overlapped comes from testimony about control of Bussi Island from about 1880 to 1900.



62Africana Collection, Makerere University, Kabali Papers, AR KA 2/2, Budo Board of Governors' File, 23/10/1924.

63Commission, 451, Erenesti Kakoza.








42

The island had been given to the Gabunga (the kabaka's admiral) by Kabaka Mwanga in 1884, but not all the land came under his authority.' A witness before the Butaka Land Commission explained, "When Gabunga was given power to rule the islands of Sesse he found some important bataka who had power over their own land and he did not take away that power from them. But [he] took possession of all the estates which belonged then to some less important bataka and converted them into his own private estates."65 A series of clan elders testified that even though the island had been given to Gabunga, they had never become his followers. They proved their independence from the saza chief by describing their actions. Zedi Zirimenya said, "When my father died we were about 150 men who attended the funeral, but we never went to Gabunga first to apply for permission to bury him."66 Malaki Musajakawa challenged the Katikiro (Prime Minister), "Let Chief Gabunga point to any one of us [bataka from Bussi] who was his private tenant and who worked for him."67 Before it was given to Gabunga, Bussi island had been territory controlled by Guggu, the priest who controlled the shrine of the god Mukasa. Witnesses discussing the issue of authority on Bussi pointed out that no nineteenth century kabaka



64As we shall see in Chapter Three, Kabaka Mwanga's own authority was called into
question (and, by some accounts, entirely rejected) during the years for which control over the island was disputed, and the kabaka's own dubious position might have contributed to Bussi leaders rejection of the overrule of the Gabunga. However, the logic of the Bussi witnesses, who proved their autonc -ay by referencing their actions in relation to the saza chief, suggests that autonomous authority within the territory of a saza chief was not unusual.

65Commission, Yosiya Sajabi Semugala, 385.

66Commission, 359, Zedi Zirimenya.

67Commission, 345, Malaki Musajakawa.








43

had ever tried to call up the canoes controlled by Guggu for service on the lake.68 Kabaka Mwanga gave Bussi to the chief Gabunga, but large groups of people who lived in his territory gave their allegiance, tribute, and labor to others and not to Gabunga.

These multiple, overlapping relationships of followers with figures of authority shaped the political character of Buganda. In carrying out their obligations as leaders, Ganda chiefs had to pay attention to their peers as well as their superiors. A chief had to be constantly alert to the possibility that his followers might desert him because they decided another chief in the same neighborhood treated his men better. Successful chiefs had to be able to attract and maintain followers in a context of competition from other chiefs seeking followers. Effective chiefs had to be skilled in resolving disputes in ways that seemed just to all parties; they had to be able to obtain and redistribute goods in ways that satisfied their superiors and their followers; they had to develop working relationships with other rulers so that their control of their people would not be threatened.69 By the time foreigners arrived in Buganda in the mid-nineteenth century, the coordinating, balancing characteristics of chiefship had been replaced by a more aggressive style required by participation in an escalating trade in ivory, slaves and guns; but the Ganda




68Commission, 386, Gabunga. The chief Gabunga claimed that withholding of Guggu's canoes from service proved that Guggu had not been a chief, because "they were considered to belong to the Gabunga personally as his private property," but it seems reasonable to assume that Guggu's canoes were not utilized because they were considered to belong to Mukasa.

69Roscoe, 241; Martin Southwold, "Leadership, Authority, and the Village
Community," TheKing'sM., Lloyd Fallers, ed., New York: Oxford University Press, 1964, 211-255, 214.









44

ethic that ruling implied courtesy and cooperation among peers was still intact (see Chapters 3 and 7).0

Power at the Center of the Kingdom

All the broad, well-maintained roads that crossed hills and bridged swamps in straight lines from each saza converged in the courtyard of the palace of the Kabaka. In Buganda, the kibujg~ (capital) was a physical representation of the kingdom as a whole. It is possible to perceive the nature of power relationships at the center of the kingdom in the customs observed in constructing a kibuga, and in maps drawn by Apolo Kaggwa of the layout of the capital in the time of Kabakas Suna (1825-1852) and Mutesa (1852-1879).1 One half of the huge circular kibujg~ was the palace of the kabaka, including large houses for his primary wives, each one built and maintained by a saza chief. Immediately in front of the palace was a large courtyard where "all of Buganda" gathered to greet the kabaka and listen to cases. Elaborate fences, built by people brought to work in turns by their chiefs, enclosed each layer of buildings in the palace. Facing the palace across from its courtyard were shrines to the gods Mukasa and Nende. The chief of each saza had a compound at the top of the road connecting the capital to his saza. The central chiefs of


70Richard Waller, "The Traditional Economy of Buganda," Master of Arts Essay,
University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 197 1. Wright observed that "low tension" characterized Ganda political interactions: differences were not pursued to the point at which conflict would become necessary, 5 1. This perception stands in contrast to that of Lloyd Fallers, articulated in "Despotism, Status Culture and Social Mobility in an African Kingdom," Comparative Studies in Society and History 2(1959):4-32, that the lack of clearly delineated functions of each of the multiple office holders would have increased the power of the kabaka, 20.

Peter C.W. Gutkind, The Royal Capital of Buganda, The Hague: Mouton, 1963, 918; Kiwanuka, Histo facing 160.








45

the kingdom, such as the Katikiro and Kimbugwe (guardian of the kabaka's metaphysical well-being), also had large compounds in the kibug .

Kabakas lived at the center of the kingdom, at the pinnacle of Buganda's pattern of exchange. In the 1880s, Baganda told the missionary Mackay that "the axis of the earth sticks visibly out through the roof of the conical hut of their king."72 In theory, everything was owed to the kabaka and he had everything to distribute: he "ate" the nation when he became kabaka. Replicating the kusenga relationship on a kingdom-wide level, the kabaka allocated land to his chiefs and expected obedience and tribute in return. In the nineteenth century, kabakas demonstrated the power of the monarchy through rituals devoted to deceased kings in which large numbers of people were killed.73 As Ganda epic tradition mentions few cases of large scale killings in earlier times, it seems probable that these events were part of the kabakas attempt to counteract the collapse of their power induced by the caravan trade.

Kabakas marked the center of the kingdom but they were not by any means the sole wielders of power within it. The shrines to Mukasa and Nende in the center of the kibug represented the independent voice of spirit mediums that rulers of Buganda were obliged to accommodate.74 A confrontation between Kabaka Suna. who ruled from 1824 to 1857, and a famous spirit medium, Kigemuzi, arose when Suna ordered people not to defecate in the capital on pain of death. It may be that Suna made this impossible demand


72Mackay, 214.

73Ray, 177-181.

74 Wrigley, Kingshi 182-7; Schoenbrun, 368, 371-2, 464.








46

as an attempt to reassert control at a time when trade with the coast had begun to erode the kabaka's power. According to tradition, Kigemuzi objected to the new law and sent a message to Suna through the tax collector, "Ask him, where does he defecate?" The horrified tax collectors took him to the palace, but Kigemuzi refused to be humble. When the kabaka's men stuck his lips with sticks to make him be quiet, he said "You also will be stuck"; when he was burnt with irons he said "You also will be burnt." According to the remembered tradition, only a few hours passed before Kabaka Suna was struck by lightening, and his capital burnt down. Kigemuzi, who had been held in stocks, was released and taken to the kabaka. He told Suna, "Punishing a child does not mean hatred, you will soon recover," after which the Namasole and Kabaka Suna made sure that Kigemuzi got everything he might want.75

Two leaders of Buganda wielded such a high degree of power that it was

impossible for them to reside in the same place as the kabaka: the Namasole (Queen Mother) and the Mugema (saza chief of Busiro). The court of the Namasole was on another hill, separated from the kibuga's hill by a stream of running water. The Namasole was served by a coterie of chiefs in all parts of the kingdom that mirrored the set of chiefs serving the king." Namasoles exercised a kind of superintending power over the actions of a reigning kabaka through their independent material base in land and people, and through their influence over their other sons, who were potential rivals for the kabakaship. If a


75Basekabaka, Makerere MS, 128.

76Schoenbrun observes that words for queen mothers and other royal women emerged in ancient east African speech communities at the same time as words for kings, some time between 900 and 1200 AD, Green Plac is., 345.








47

kabaka wanted to remain in power, he had to act in a way that pleased the Namasole.7 A Namasole never entered the kibug ; when she wished to communicate with a kabaka, she sent messengers.7 The Mugema--who served the deceased kings all of whose shrines were all in his saza Busiro (literally, the place of shrines)--also resided in a compound that was separated from the kabaka's by a stream of running water. As the "Katikiro" of the deceased kabakas, the Mugema could speak with a voice of authority that challenged the reigning kabaka. The Mugema was the only chief who stood instead of kneeling in the presence of the kabaka; he did not eat food prepared by the kabaka's cooks, and he was not obligated to provide people to maintain buildings inside the palace." Their locations as well as the ritual prohibitions regarding interaction between the kabaka and both the Namasole and Mugema expressed the Ganda awareness that these leaders wielded power that could seriously threaten a reigning kabaka.

Although royal ritual and proverbs emphasized the absolute power of the kabaka, the patterns of interaction in the kibuga suggest that the Namasole and Mugema were not the only figures of authority who had the capacity to challenge the kabaka. The Kimbugwe, the chief who was responsible for the king's "twin" (a powerful ritual object that represented the kabaka's metaphysical well-being), could suggest to a kabaka that


77For example, Kabaka Semakokiro's success in overthrowing his brother Kabaka Junju was engineered by the Namasole, angered by Junju's murder of a pregnant wife.Kiwanuka, Kings, 92: Kabaka Mutesa told Mackay he felt obliged to comply with the Namasole's wishes, Mackay, 162; Wright gives another example, 3.
78 Schiller, 461; Nakanyike B. Musisi, "Women, "Elite Polygyny,'and Buganda State Formation". Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 16/4(1991):757-86.

79Roscoe, 253; "Enquiry into Native Land Tenure."









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specific actions were essential for his well-being, and the kabaka had to comply.8 The Sabaganzi (uncle of a kabaka) and Kasuju (saza chief in charge of princes) also had leverage over a kabaka because of their connection with the princes who were his potential rivals. As Rowe has pointed out, the Katikiro who assisted a prince to come to power on the death of his father often had considerable influence over a new king.8' The Kibari was a chiefship that required the holder to voice objections to unacceptable actions of the kabaka. The Kibari took the king's place when he was absent, and was the only person who could try the king. According to Zechariah Kisingiri, one of the most powerful chiefs of the early colonial period, the Kibari in the past "could find the king was in the wrong, but he had no authority to punish him.'82 Succession to this position followed a unique procedure: the Empeo clan selected fifteen candidates from the appropriate lineage, then the kabaka chose four of those, and the final decision of who would succeed to the position of Kibari was made by "all of Buganda"--the chiefs who gathered to hear cases in the kabaka's court.83

The gathering of "all of Buganda" had a larger role in the government of Buganda than has been recognized by studies that have taken royalist traditions and rituals at their face value. In these gatherings, and in the "endless amount of oiusang (cases) going on," various chiefs and coalitions of chiefs constantly worked out their relative positions of



8oRoscoe, 235.

81Rowe, xx.
82Kisingiri, Enquiry.

83Ibid.









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powerY. Decisions that went in favor of one chief or clan at one time were decided in favor of another party at a later date, when their relative strength--the love the kabaka felt for them--had shifted.85 As Waller observes, the role of the kabaka was to balance and coordinate the actions of chiefs: he could not rule without them. The chiefs who met in the gathering place in the center of the kingdom had the power to offer or withhold tribute and labor, and to choose the peers with whom they would align. A kabaka's capacity to secure the allegiance of chiefs depended on his ability to re-allocate chiefships or create new ones, but he had to constantly be aware of the power of groups of chiefs who might favor one of his brothers over him.6 When kabakas moved the kibiuga every few years, they were able to consolidate the allegiance of some chiefs and make others more remote and less powerful depending on where they placed the kibug in the kingdom, and how they re-arranged the order of the compounds of particular chiefs within it. The reign of each kabaka was remembered, in Ganda epic tradition, by enumerating all the important chiefs which that kabaka had appointed; the list of chiefs encapsulated how he had ruled.








8Many early observers of Buganda commented on procedures for trying cases, this
statement comes from Mackay, 187-8. Schoenbrun suggests that powerful men gathered at the court might have developed into the chiefships that were considered to be the specific servants of the king. ins, 338.

85This is one of the themes of the testimony of clan elders before the Butaka Land
Commission in 1924; see for example the testimony of Daudi Basude, Commission, 352.

86The story of the rise and fall of the servant Kiyanzi, which carried on for several generations, is an example of this. Kiwanuka, Ki=g 146-9.









50

Though ritual and proverbs celebrated the absolute authority of kabakas, in practice they were obliged to cultivate the cooperation of chiefs.87

Kabakas who violated the moral imperative of kusng faced rebellion. Kabaka Kagulu, the twentieth kabaka who probably ruled at the beginning of the eighteenth century, was remembered by people for making impossible demands. According to the epic tradition, he made people carry reeds for his fences with the points sticking up, and kneel down where he had planted needles in the ground. He also made them dig trees all the way out of the ground, including the roots, so that some people got buried alive in the process. The tradition explains, "When the chiefs and the rest of the people came to hate being pierced by needles or buried alive, they rebelled against Kagulu." People gathered on a hill adjacent to the kibuga and jeered the Kabaka, saying "Sir, we your men have come to pay you a visit, Busiro greets you." When Kabaka Kagulu saw that the people were refusing to come to him, he made a drum and ordered it to be beaten: "Buganda is at peace: Kagulu does not now kill people: come and visit him." But the people did not come, so Princess Ndege Nasolo called the princes, organized a battle, and eventually killed Kagulu herself. Kabaka Kagulu was not buried in Busiro, and after his death, people of Njovu clan were killed for having produced such an evil kabaka. 88 The epic tradition's





87 In his written version of Ganda epic tradition, Kaggwa explained that people
evaluated the success of a kabaka by observing how many beads had been left in his shrine by successors to the chiefs he had appointed. If there were many, people would say "He died a happy many because he had many chiefs." Basekabaka, ms in Makerere, 58.

88Kiwanuka, Ki=gs, 62-68.








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story about Kabaka Kagulu demonstrates that power in Buganda did not simply flow from the top down.

Ebitongole: Kabakas Control Innovation

Ganda epic tradition records that in the eighteenth century, kabakas began to establish chiefships dedicated to specific purposes. In contrast to positions of authority that commemorated important people or significant interactions in the past, these chiefships were named for what they were supposed to accomplish. While saza chiefships had developed gradually by accretion over long periods of time, a newly appointed ekitongole chief displaced the previous authority on that land as soon as the chiefship was created. A chief explained how this had been done in the nineteenth century, "when the kabaka appointed you to a Kitongole you would choose an estate at which you would make your headquarters, and you would then distribute the rest of the estates among your Batongole."'89 Kabaka Namugala (who also made innovations in the ritual installing kabakas) and who probably ruled in the mid eighteenth century, established the first two ebitongole, Ekigalagala (for the purpose of spreading out) and Kitamanyang'amba (for the purpose of knowing what is said). A generation later, Kabaka Kamanya established the chiefship Ekikinakulya (for the purpose of things to eat).9 Consolidating military victories was the purpose of some of the original ebitongole chiefships, and for this reason, they have been erroneously considered a form of military chiefship. Their purposes were actually much broader.


"Commission, Paulo Bakunga, 536.

9"Commission, letter of Lukiko, 563.








52

Ebitongole allowed a kabaka to orient productive labor towards a task which he wished to have carried out. Settling an area to incorporate new territory into Buganda could be one purpose towards which the kabaka directed productive resources, but there were many others. An ekitongole on Buganga was called Ekibukula Mabira (for the purpose of opening up of the forests) because the clan elder had asked the kabaka for hunters to drive away elephants and buffaloes that were attacking people, and the ekitongole was the land supplied to meet the food needs of the hunters.91 Another ekitongole in Buganga was Ekirwanyamuli, which was a place where the people of Chief Omulwanyamuli could obtain bananas when they visited the lake to fish. The ekitongole had been allocated as uncultivated land, and the chief had been obliged to bring people to cultivate the land in order to use it. Other ebitongole in the same area were Kikwekwesi, which was for the head of all the kabaka's servants to obtain labor and supplies, and Kisomose, the place where the makers of drums and mweso boards for the kabaka lived, grew their food, and carried out their work.92 Another ekitongole was responsible for brewing the kabaka's beer.93

The creation of ebitongole allowed kabakas to control innovation by placing the production of new things under chiefs who were directly obligated to him. Semakokiro, in the generation following Namugala, developed the innovation of a new type of hunting





91Commission, Mikairi Kidza and Stanislaus Mugwanya, 401.

92Ibid.

93Cornmission, 53 1b, Siriwani Mberenge.








53

net, which brought him many followers who helped him defeat his brother Kabaka Junju.9 Kabakas attempted to control the social consequences of new productive possibilities-new commodities or production for new purposes--by confining them to ebitongole. One ekitongole was named Kirima Ntungo (to cultivate sesame seeds).95 Kabaka Suna assigned an ekitongole to "the Banyoro potters".96 The sesame seeds and pots produced went directly to the kabaka, without any chiefs who might trade independently as intermediaries; and also the producers owed allegiance directly to the kabaka. As sources of potentially disruptive innovation increased in the early nineteenth century, the number of ebitongole chiefships also expanded.

Conclusion

Buganda has been called a highly centralized kingdom, but this is not quite accurate. Kuseng, the fundamental component of Ganda production and political association, linked people in a reciprocal relationship which was premised on the possibility that followers could leave their chiefs. A similar premise--that chiefs might withdraw their support--shaped the relationship of kabakas with their followers, the chiefs. Remembering ancestors motivated the activities of people who produced food and reproduced communities; a remembrance of significant ties infused meaning and purposefulness into the relationship of different units of the Ganda polity. In people's



94Kaggwa, Basekabaka, 93.

95Commission, 395, Stanislaus Mugwanya.

96Commission, 472, Yosiya Sensalire.









54

minds Buganda existed as a network of chiefships that offered tribute to the kabaka who "ate" the kingdom--the existence of a center was fundamental. However, power wasnt centralized; authority and the will that caused things to be accomplished did not flow down from the center, dominating every other participant. Chiefs acted in ways that indicated their sense of their own power relative to their peers: sometimes they withheld obedience and labor, they made alliances that pressured kabakas into compliance, and at times they rebelled. Compelling reasons to act or to refrain from action came from peoples' ways of remembering the past, and from the connections to that past which they re-enacted in but aka. A map of the roads in the kingdom looked something like a spider web, and power in Buganda had some of the same characteristics. All the lines led to the center, but each connection in the circle had strength and integrity of its own.















CHAPTER THREE
CHIEFS HIP, LAND, AND CIVIL ORDER Civil war and social disorder convulsed Buganda in the late nineteenth century. Four kabakas (kings) were installed in less than a decade; tens of thousands died from famine and disease; and the institutions of the polity appeared to fall apart. By the end of the war Baganda appeared to have temporarily ceded the kabaka's authority to allocate land--the ultimate demonstration of his authority--to British officers. The war has been perceived as a "religious revolution" in which modernizing Ganda Christians and Moslems toppled paganism and then fought each other to make Buganda Catholic, Protestant, or Moslem: contemporary Ganda chroniclers, missionary and colonial observers, and historians have interpreted the war in these sectarian terms.' New religious categories were only one dimension of the war in Buganda from 1888 to 1896, however. It was also, fundamentally, a Ganda expression of the collapse of social institutions that affected all of





'Kaggwa recounts the plundering undertaken by the kabaka and chiefs, and also the provocations of "unnatural vice," but identifies the onerous burden of digging the lake as the cause of the revolt against Mwanga, 96/141-100/143. The conflict is cast in religious categories by Wright, 34,40, 164-5; Kiwanuka, 192-3; John Milner Gray, "The Year of the Three Kings of Buganda," UJgand Jojjrn~ 14(1949): 15-52; Christopher C. Wrigley, "The Christian Revolution in Buganda," Comparative Studies in Society and History 2(1959:33-48; and D. Anthony Low, "Religion and Society in Buganda 1874-1900," E=I Africa tudie No. 8, Kampala, 1957. According to Twaddle, Kakunguliu, it was less a religious revolution than a palace coup, 35.

55









56

east Africa as a consequence of trade in ivory and slaves.2 In Buganda, the exchange of cloth and guns for people both undermined the legitimacy of the kabaka and transformed the autonomous power of chiefs. The faction leaders in the civil war were chiefs who had new religious convictions, and also new wealth from independent trading with Arabs, new power from followers who attached to them instead of to the king, and an expanded set of potential foreign allies.

The overthrow of Mwanga in 1888 initiated a period of self-destruction in which Ganda religious factions raided and slaved against each other inside their own country. The war caused unprecedented devastation because most Ganda mechanisms for ending conflict could not function: the four successive kabakas were ineffective; conversion by the chiefs had undermined the mediating role of Ganda spiritual leaders; and there was no model for cooperation among the new religions. In these difficult circumstances, Ganda chiefs used the language of land allocation to forge compromises among the warring groups. In 1889, 1892, and 1893, a re-arrangement of control of land by the various factions sealed attempts to end the war. The failure of the first of these efforts, along with the further collapse of the authority of the kabakaship under Mwanga after he was reinstalled, appears to have motivated the Ganda chiefs to give Captain Lugard the kabaka's



2 This analysis relies on Richard Wailer's unpublished Master of Arts essay from the School of Oriental and African Studies, "The Traditional Economy of Buganda," John Tosh's description of the Ganda contribution to pre-colonial trade in "The Northern Interlacustrine Region" in Richard Gray and David Birmingham, eds., Pe-Colonial African Trade: Essays on Trade in Central and Eastern Africa before 1900 London: Oxford University Press, 1970, 103-18; and Steven Feierman's analysis of the consequences of long distance trade for a kingdom with a tribute-based economy in TIhc Shambaa Kingdom: A History (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1974).








57

role of making land allocations to resolve conflict. The assignment of Catholic, Protestant, and Moslem provinces by the Ganda chiefs with the support of various British substitutekabakas resolved the political and social turmoil of the preceding decade by effectively integrating the new and potentially dangerous religious categories into the structure of the Buganda kingdom.

The first three sections of this chapter consider the unfolding violence of the late

nineteenth century in East Africa: the destructive effects of the caravan trade on the power of the kabaka, the development of chiefs who wielded autonomous military power, and the integration of new forms, of spiritual power into the growing conflict. The fourth section demonstrates how Ganda chiefs used re-allocation of land to end the spiral of violence.

Buganda and the Trade in Ivory and Slaves

Trade goods which had come from the East African coast were first mentioned in Ganda epic tradition in the time of Kabaka Semakokiro in the late 1700s, and successive kabakas managed for half a century to incorporate these new things into the circulation of goods that expressed Ganda social hierarchies.' They did this by making specific chiefs responsible for trade in various markets on the edges of the kingdom, and by circumscribing new economic possibilities inside the structure of ebitongole chiefships.' At first, goods from the coast flowed exclusively to and from the Kabaka. In 1861, after


'Items traded from the coast have been found in archeological sites in Uganda dated at several centuries before Kabaka Semakookiro. David Schoenbrun, personal communication. It is possible that Ganda traditions associate trade with Kabaka Semakookiro because long-distance trading expeditions began to reach Buganda during his reign.

4 Kaggwa, Baeaa 103; Chapter 2.








58

Speke's visit, Kabaka Mutesa killed a chief--the Mutongole of Karema--for acquiring cloth in Karagwe which he had not turned over to the king.5 Foreign traders were met at the borders of the kingdom and escorted to the capital, and food was provided to them in order to prevent them from interacting with people or trading on their own.6 Through most of Kabaka Mutesa's reign, foreigners--both traders and missionaries--were the guests of the kabaka at the capital: they could only acquire food or labor when the kabaka supplied it, and were forced to offer their goods to the kabaka on his terms.' The absolute nature of the kabaka's control over foreign travel and trade was illustrated by Mwanga's killing of Bishop Hannington in 1885; he had aroused suspicion when he failed to enter from the correct direction and changed his travel route without informing the kabaka .8

Neither the authority of the kabaka nor Buganda's well-developed forms of hierarchical exchange could withstand the negative effects of the caravan trade which reached to Buganda in search of sources of ivory that had been depleted closer to the coast. Traders acquired slaves to carry ivory tusks to the coast, and the existence of a market for human beings transformed the practice of utilizing the labor of war captives into more aggressive forms of slave raiding. Ivory harvesting easily merged into slave raiding, as guns were the tools of both trades, and sources of ivory were quickly depleted.9


5Kaggwa, Basekabaka, 64/123.

6Mackay, 216-7; Waller, 22.

7Mackay by his sister, 216-7; Mackay journal quoted in Waller, 30.

gAshe, Chronicl, 72-73.

9Steven Feierman, "A Century of Ironies in East Africa (c. 1780-1890), in Curtin,
Philip, Steven Feierman, Leonard Thompson, Jan Vansina. African History: From Earliest









59

The argument that late 19th century enslavement was different in degree and character from earlier uses of war captives contradicts a tradition of scholarship on Buganda that views Ganda slavery as static or as a phenomenon that increased in scale without having serious social repercussions.'0 The view that accelerating enslavement is central to the Buganda civil war is based on recorded memories of the nature of enslavement, the documented increase in raiding and captives taken into Buganda, evidence of slave buyers' participation in Ganda war making, and the ways that the kabaka's loss of authority to his chiefs was connected to slave raiding.

Baganda remember the time when people began to be sold to the coast. Selling people for cloth was entirely different than other kinds of nonfreedom (such as pawning) that people experienced in their lives. According to Kiwanuka, Kabaka Mutesa was the first to allow the selling of people. The impact of an Arab selling cloth in 1868 were recorded by Apolo Kaggwa,

[Mutesa] found an Arab by name Wamisi had arrived at the capital of Nakawa, bringing with him a lot of cloths and many other things. The
Kabaka distributed cloths to princesses and ladies .... [ to pages and specific
chiefs] ... later on he gave cloths to all chiefs and ordered them to buy.
Many people, boys and girls were sold to the Arabs in exchange for
cloths. "





Times to Independence 2nd ed., New York: Longman, 1995:352-376, 354.

'OFallers, "Social Stratification," 111-2; Christopher C Wrigley, "The Changing Economic Structure of Buganda," in Lloyd Fallers, ed., Th.King'sM New York: Oxford University Press, 1964:16-63, 19, 21, 25; Rowe; Twaddle, 59. Kiwanuka argues that there was no slave trade until after 1860, 167.

"Kiwanuka, 167; Kaggwa, Basekabaka, 66/124.








60

In 1883 OFlaherty reported that he had had a conversation with Kabaka Mutesa about the effects of trading slaves to the Coast. Mutesa said that two years earlier he had been trading ivory, but "such a thirst for cloth has caught hold of [the Ganda] that they will sell men and women for guns, powder, and shot, cloth, soap, etc." According to OFlaherty, Mutesa regretted the trade, but felt he could not prevent it.12 A son of one of the first Christian chiefs described the late 19th century as a time when "a piece of soap could buy a man, and a measure of bafuta [cotton cloth] could buy many slaves."'3

One indication that raiding for slaves to sell to Arab traders was changing the nature of Buganda's wars is the intensification of conflict during the 19th century.'4 Kaggwa's history describes not only more conflict, but also more conflicts resulting in the death of the leaders of the expeditions. He names "a lot of slaves" as well as women and cattle, as booty from battles in this period.'5 The huge increase in the number of royal wives also suggests that the nature of warfare was changing.16 Mackay wrote in 1881 "One army has been sent east to murder and plunder. Not even the natives themselves can call it war, they all say it is for robbery and devastation."7 He wrote to the Times in



120Flaherty, CMS Archives, quoted in Waller, 31.

'3E.M.K. Mulira, Sir Apolo Kaggwa, CKCMG, MBE Kampala: Buganda Bookshop, 1949, seen courtesy John Rowe.

14Waller, 31; Kiwanuka states that the power of the monarchy increased, 108; Rowe, Twaddle says patterns of plundering were formalized, 13.

15Kaggwa, Basekabaka, 63/122.

16Musisi, "Elite Polygyny", Sgm.

17Mackay by his sister, 185 (check page).








61

January of 1889 that Buganda and Bunyoro "have generally large armies in the field, in one direction or another, devastating whole regions of their inhabitants." Kabaka Mutesa attacked estates which had been protected from raiding 'from time immemorial'; these included the estates of Lubale, and also estates of the Namasole. These violations of Ganda morality may have been Mutesa's test of the power of Lubale, as Rowe suggests, but it is also possible that the estates became vulnerable as social disorder and the need to supply traders increased."8

According to Mackay, Arabs supplied the guns and powder for the plundering expeditions, and then received "women, children, and ivory" procured in the raids as payment.'9 Traders sent agents into the field with the armies to select the slaves they wanted.20 Kiwanuka observes that Ganda military success declined after 1880; this is perhaps because Buganda's neighbors were also participating in the exchange of cloth and guns for ivory and slaves. Richard Waller outlines the increasing importance of guns in Buganda: in 1875 there had been approximately 500; in 1882, Felkin complained "Mutesa's cry is always guns and gunpowder"; he calculated that there were 2,000 guns in the country, and guns and powder had completely replaced all other trade items. Waller notes that in the 1880s Mackay described traders bringing nothing but guns, and OFlaherty reported the arrival of a trader with 600 rifles.2'


18 For example, his raid on Batombogwe hill; Kaggwa, 82/133, also 65/123; Rowe.

'9Mackay, 435.

20Waller, 32.

2Waller, 29.








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Kabaka Mutesa brought the caravan trade closer to his court in order to maintain his supervision of the distribution of goods, but eventually was overcome by forces inherent in the trade that he could not control. Waller identifies three stages in Buganda's external trade: a first stage in which royal agents traded on behalf of the kabaka in Karagwe; a second stage after the death of Kabaka Suna when trade shifted to the Ukerewe Islands and Kabaka Mutesa controlled access to Buganda by controlling canoe transport of traded goods across the Victoria Nyanza; and a third stage, in the 1880s, when the focus of trade shifted to Mutesa's court.22 Waller argues that the kabaka had used the distribution of prestige goods, such as guns and slaves, to enhance his power and his followers' obligation to him: the huge increase in both trade goods and plunder unbalanced the system and the kabaka's place in the center of it.23 Since the mutual obligations and relationships in Buganda society were expressed in the exchange of tribute and gifts, it makes sense that social relationships were fundamentally disrupted by massive increases in the goods being exchanged. The collapse of authority that characterized late nineteenth century Buganda was not merely a result of an enlarged market: it was also a consequence of the nature of the trade. The possibility of gaining wealth and power by selling slaves introduced a new kind of violence into the relationship of the kabaka to his chiefs, and of chiefs to their people. This is evident in the increasing autonomy of the chiefs, and in Kabaka Mwanga's ultimately ineffective attempts to re-assert control over them.


22Waller, 28.

23Waller, 32.









63

The Dissolution of Authority

A new kind of authority figure emerged in East African societies with the expansion of trade in ivory and in slave-taking and slave-holding. "Rugarug were followers of a powerful big man who broke the rules of social interaction and exerted power over others through military force.24 The way people lived in their environment changed in response: they grouped themselves into large defensive settlements, behind walls of stone and spiny cactus, whose ruined outlines are still sometimes visible in the rural landscape. In the well-developed bureaucracy of Buganda, the destabilizing potential of a new kind of trade manifested itself in changes in the action and role of chiefs, and in the total deterioration of the authority of the king, which began under Kabaka Mutesa and reached its culmination with the overthrow of Kabaka Mwanga in 1888. Most histories of the period explain the collapse of the kabakaship in terms of Mwanga's personal qualities: his youth and insecurity; his excessive attachment to pages who were his lovers and his consequent inability to value the advice of senior chiefs; his pagan small-mindedness and fear of the followers of new religions.25 While it is true that Mwanga did not lead Buganda effectively when he assumed the kabakaship in 1884, it is possible that elements of irrationality that were inherent in circumstances in the 1880s have been attributed to



24Iliffe, A Modern History of Tanganyika, 75.

25 Gorju, 120; Gray, 15; Wright, 28; Kiwanuka, 194. I see the growing power of chiefs as a descent into chaos fuelled by slaving, and not as a potentially competent emerging bureaucracy, cf. Low, Buganda and British Overrule, 4; and "The Northern Interior," 334; Fallers, "Social Stratification," 111; Wrigley "Changing Economic Structure," 25-6, Twaddle
Kakungulu, 38, 59.








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Mwanga's personality. This was a time when things were turned upside down, when young men obtained power they did not deserve, and strong government from the center of the kingdom became impossible. Ganda chiefs did not manifest the inversion of all socially appropriate behaviour that characterized the rugarug, but they amassed and deployed wealth and force in ways that were fundamentally destructive.

Chiefs of the border sazas who came into unsupervised contact with traders were the first ones able to trade on their own account: the Pokino and Kago irritated Kabaka Mutesa by selling ivory and obtaining cloth without his permission and this may have contributed to the redirection of trade first to Ukerewe and then to Rubaga.

The contribution of trade to the growing power of chiefs is most obvious in the

position of the Katikiro. The Katikirro's responsibility for overseeing receipt of tribute and distribution of the kabaka's wealth made it a chiefship that brought wealth to the holder.26 Describing how wealth had derived from control of land in an earlier time, Stanislaus Mugwanya explained in 1906 that "The Namasole or king's mother, got estates, and originally was a person of more consideration and honour than the Katikiro."27 Mackay's journal gives an indication of the control the Katikirro exerted over trade: for five months Katikirro Mukasa had blocked Mutesa's orders that Arab traders be supplied with canoes, and Mackay told Mutesa that Katikirro Mukasa "was practically causing rebellion in the





26Twaddle associates the katikiros' wealth with the political influence of 19th century katikiros in issues of succession, 34.

27Enquiry, Rhodes House Af S 17.








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country".28 He took on two of the most important chiefly titles as well as being Katikiro-the Sekibobo of Kyaggwe and the Pokino of Buddu. Both of these provinces were critical to long distance trade.29 The power of this Prime Minister over Kabaka Mutesa was formidable: in 1881 the Kabaka made blood brotherhood with Mukasa, and directed that Mukasa's sons should be carried like princes.3o Possibly the Katikiro was taking advantage of Mutesa's vulnerability because of his incurable gonorrhea, as Rowe suggests, but the economic dimension of his growing power cannot be discounted, either. Ashe noted in 1888 that Mukasa had an important role in directing the ivory trade, and foreign visitors commented on the wealth and impressive character of the Katikiro." Kiwanuka records that Mukasa had the reputation of a man who sold his own relatives into slavery.32

The ekitongole type of chiefship was also transformed by long distance trade. As we have seen, Kabakas Suna and Mutesa increased ebitongole chieftainships in order to channel new economic activities and to contain their effects. (Chapter 2). When the possibilities for trading became more available, and as guns became more significant in raiding, an ekitongole chief who had guns because the purpose of his chiefship was hunting or defense could become wealthy independent of the kabaka by raiding and





21Mackay, 150.

29Kiwanuka, 208.

3Kaggwa, Basekabaka, 85/135.
31Ashe, Chronicles, 116.

32 M.S.M. Kiwanuka in Kaggwa, Kin 184.








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disposing of slaves on his own. Kaggwa explained the remarkable wealth of batongole chiefs in terms of their success in war:

Their areas carried great honour and people used to flock to them and they
were therefore well cultivated...When the Kabaka was at war, people in
such areas (Bitongole) excelled in capturing the booty for they were always
young men. From what they had captured their chief (Mutongole) would choose the best and consequently became a rich man. Such a chief would also act as the Kabaka's messenger and thus again become rich for he was
given presents.33

The presents given by kabakas to ebitongole chiefs may suggest that Kabakas Mutesa and Mwanga recognized the possibility that these chiefs might act outside of their control and attempted to maintain their allegiance.

Michael Twaddle's richly detailed biography of Semei Kakungulu documents the potential independence of an ekitongole chief. Kakungulu obtained an ekitongole for elephant hunting from Kabaka Mutesa in 1884. Kakungulu had arrived in Buganda with experience of elephant hunting, and Mutesa gave him "guns, gun caps, and bullets", and land in Buddu. This land had been attached to a different chieftaincy, but was reallocated to the new ekitongole, which was called "Ekirumba njovu"--'for hunting elephants', and Kakungulu's title was "omulumba njovu"--' hunter of elephants'. 34 Although nominally under the control of Kabaka Mutesa and required to turn over all the ivory he acquired, Kakungulu's control of one hundred guns enabled him to build up an independent following through predation. According to Paulo Kibi, at this time Kakungulu had a drumbeat:


33Kaggwa, Basekabak, 340/277.

34 Twaddle, Kakungulu, 37.








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I eat what I choose:
I eat what I find:
I eat whatever does not belong to me.35

Kakungulu and his men raided Nkore on their own, without instructions from Mutesa, and disposed of the cattle and slaves they obtained in Kiziba. Even when Kakungulu and his men participated in a raid against Bunyoro initiated by the Kabaka, Kakungulu's men got in trouble for looting inside Buganda. That his activities went beyond the pale of appropriate behaviour for subordinate chiefs is evident in the story that Katikiro Mukasa either placed Kakungulu in stocks or threatened him with death; he was only saved by the intervention of his blood brother the Pokino or, in another version of the story, by the Kabaka.36

The power that men like Kakungulu created for themselves in the tumultuous circumstances of late nineteenth century East Africa was mercurial. As the chief of an elephant hunting ekitongole, located on a route along which guns were being brought into Buganda, Kakungulu raided people and cattle without passing them on to the Kabaka, and collected followers of his own.37 Kakungulu was able to attract followers by offering to arm them, and also by trading ivory for enslaved people. He was not, however, able to maintain the following he created for himself. Kakungulu lost his chiefship, the Ekitongole of Ekirumba Njovu, when Mwanga was deposed, demonstrating that in Buganda, the arrangement of the kingdom allowed the center to exert a degree of control over the


Twaddle 21.

36Twaddle, 22-3.

17Twaddle, 37.








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destabilizing force of men with guns. As soon as Kakungulu lost the chiefship, seventy of his followers deserted him for the new Katikiro, Honorat Nyonyintono. These men had "belonged" to Kakungulu, but they chose to align themselves with the strongest leader available.3" Kakungulu's experience suggests the similarity of late nineteenth century ekitongole in Buganda and nugauga south of the Nyanza: in both situations, big men controlled unfree people who had guns.

The Kabaka's control over raiding deteriorated markedly as the amount of military hardware in the nation increased in the 1880s. Ashe reported that the escort taking him to the capital made an "impromptu slave raid" during the journey.39 In 1862, members of the party escorting James Grant to Buganda had been punished for raiding without permission. Waller also points out that Pearson estimated that 75% of the slaves taken in a raid were not reported to the Kabaka, "the rest having been secretly disposed of by the chiefs." 4' By the 1880s the Kabaka received only ivory, and chiefs retained cattle, women, and slaves.42 This represents a diminution in the Kabaka's share, and may have been a recognition that chiefs would retain slaves and cattle on their own whether or not the Kabaka gave them permission.




3Twaddle, 28.

39Waller, 32.

4James Augustus Grant, A Walk Across Africa. or Domestic Sceneries from my Nile Jounm (Edinburgh: Blackwood and Sons), 191.
41Waller, 32.

42Kaggwa, Mpisa, 157-160, quoted in Twaddle, 14.








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The increasing social instability was expressed in allocations of land: Mwanga took large areas from saza chiefs between 1886 and 1888 in order to create four new Bitongole, which he placed under the control of young men. These were the Ekitongole Ekiwuliriza, the chiefship of listening carefully; the Ekitongole Ekigwanika--chiefship of wealth; the Ekitongole Ekijasi--the chiefship of guns; and the Ekitongole Ekiyinda--the chiefship of menacing noise.43 Not only did Mwanga take land that had been under the control of saza chiefs to make the new ebitongole chiefships, he told the new batongole to establish their chiefships in every saza, presumably by force. According to Fallers, these bitongole represented Mwanga's attempt to remove power from the saza chiefs and give it to young chiefs he could control more easily."44 However,in the highly disordered condition of Buganda in the 1880s, it is difficult to assert that Mwanga was actually creating new chiefships in order to advance the structure of the state.45 A more accurate assessment might be that in creating huge new ebitongole, Mwanga was merely naming as chiefs new holders of power who had emerged from circumstances of the violent exchange of ivory and people for guns, and attempting to claim power over them.46 As Kiwanuka points out, Buganda was in such turmoil at the time that chiefly authority over land was not readily discernible. Kiwanuka claims that people deserted other chiefs to become the followers of


43Kiwanuka, History, 198-9; Kaggwa, Basekabaka, 99/143.

"Fallers, 64-116.

45See references for footnote 24.

46According to Twaddle, the purpose of these new ekitongole chieftaincies was to guard Mwanga, but the information available about them suggests they were acting on their own, in their own interest. Twaddle, 59.








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the batongole, and "by 1888 the four new Bitongole had nearly 100,000 men, all young and arrogant."47

The new batongole proceeded to plunder all over the country. Apolo Kaggwa's account of this period describes the Kabaka's lack of control:

the morals of the country became deteriorated as we young men adapted a bad habit of robbing people of their cattle and goats at random; and people
found on the way were killed for no just cause. The Kabaka knew of this
and he did not care for the well-being of his country at all. He liked the
young men more than his chiefs.48

Kiwanuka states that the batongole and their followers "became the rulers of the country"; they raided and took captives without any inhibitions.49

Kabaka Mwanga himself took part in the process of raiding and enslaving

Baganda. In 1888 the Kabaka had made a tour of the country. A royal journey to "show the kabaka" and to receive tribute was not an unusual thing, but this tour proved "nearly as disastrous to his unhappy subjects as a foreign invasion, since he ruthlessly robbed and raided his own people."5 In Kyagwe, Singo, and Buddu, he raided hundreds of cattle, and seized "vast numbers" of women and children. On his return to the capital, he distributed these as gifts to his pages. The right of a kabaka to sacrifice the lives of people in a "kiwendo" for the spiritual well-being of the nation was accepted; Mwanga's use of


47Kiwanuka, 199.

48Kaggwa, sekabak 98/142.

49Kiwanuka, 199.

5OAshe, Chronicle, 90; also James. S. Miti, A History of Buganda, n.d.; a manuscript translation in Makerere University Library Africana Collection, (N.B. pagination of this document is unreliable), 252-297.








71

captured subjects to enrich the members of his palace household, who had not even been introduced in the palace in the appropriate manner by chiefs, was not acceptable.

Mwanga's final, unsuccessful attempt to consolidate his authority was his demand that his people dig a large artificial lake in the capital: requiring unnecessary work was a way of making people demonstrate their allegiance that had been deployed by other kabakas.5" Everyone, of every status, was required to participate in this public work or face heavy fines. Ashe reports that

The chiefs came with extreme reluctance, many of them smarting from the loss of their wives and other valuable property extorted from them during
the King's progress.52

A royal drum was beaten calling people to work on the lake before dawn. Kaggwa wrote that anyone who did not arrive early in the morning was fined one woman and one head of cattle; Ashe reported that insufficient service at the lake resulted in fines of large numbers of women, expensive cloths, and guns; Zimbe wrote that they were fined, "women, slaves, livestock, and loads of barkcloth"; and that the treasurer's house "became a huge prison camp overflowing with alleged defaulters".3 Baganda remember not only the unreasonable fines, but also the horrifying humiliation forced on important, old chiefs who were made to sit in the mud if they arrived late.4 Mwanga's bizarre behavior in the last months before


5'For example, Kabaka Mutesa had required the Kaima to build a hill inside his palace in 1871; Kaggwa, 78/139.
52Ashe, Chronicle, 90.

53Kaggwa Basekabaka 100/143; Ashe C nil, 93, Zimbe, Buganda Ne Kabaka, 133-4, quoted in Kiwanuka, 200.
54Kaggwa, Basekabaka, 100/143.









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he was overthrown can be understood as an attempt to demonstrate authority over his subjects which he had already lost, and also, as a means to obtain slaves by fining his subjects in people and in creating situations in which they would avoid humiliation by offering bribes.

Kabaka Mwanga was deposed because his chiefs withdrew the will to be governed by him: the firsthand accounts of the events in 1888 are reminiscent of the history of Kabaka Kagulu, a century and a half earlier, whose reign ended when his chiefs retreated to a hill overlooking the palace and jeered.55 This moment came for Mwanga when the readers refused to embark in canoes for a journey on the lake they suspected would lead to their deaths: Mwanga's Katikiro told him "All Buganda refuses to take you to Sesse.56 Mwanga, like Kagulu, was overthrown when people became fed up with entirely unreasonable demands. In Mwanga's case, we can recognize that profound social changes contributed to the Kabaka's unreasonable actions and unworkable relationship with his chiefs.

Buganda's Civil War: Social Violence with Religious Categories

The fall of Mwanga was one moment in an unfolding crisis of authority in Buganda which was much larger than a palace coup. Fundamental terms--of how to be a chief, how to express authority, and how and why to be productive--had been altered by the possibilities and also the violence of long distance trade. This moment of political, social, and economic turmoil also contained a crisis in ideology, because Arab traders and


55Kaggwa, B, 65, also Chapter 2.

56Ashe, Chroaic, 102.









73

European explorers had introduced new ways of thinking about the world in the form of Islam and Christianity. The conversion of large numbers of Baganda to these faiths in the nineteenth century was so unique, so attractive to observers, and so clearly genuine that it has tended to overshadow other aspects of the processes of change underway at the time. Without denying the significance of conversion for individuals and for their community, it is important to keep in mind that the people who became Moslems and Christians did not stop being Ganda. The late nineteenth century was an encompassingly difficult time, intellectually as well as on every other level. People expected the kabaka to be powerful and to be in the center of things, but no kabaka filled that expectation from Mutesa's reign onwards. World religions became a principle for organizing relationships at a time when other means of organizing them were not functioning effectively.

The new religions gave young men powerful spiritual resources. Reading and prayer gave them access to spiritual power without the mediation of their elders. The world views of Christianity and Islam offered comfort and security lacking in a difficult time. In the new religions, positions of spiritual leadership were open to young converts, who had been pages at the lowest level of the Ganda chiefly hierarchy.

Ganda Moslems, Protestants, and Catholics used their new sets of ideas to create social institutions that did the kinds of things that organizations of people had always done in Buganda. That is, a religion was not only a spiritually effective practice and a form of identity, but also a way of organizing economic activity and an instrument for wielding political power. "English religion" (Protestantism), "French religion" (Catholicism), and


57 See footnote 1.









74

Islam functioned like clans or important chiefships: they brought people together under well-respected leaders for political and economic actions as well as spiritual ones. In the highly unstable context of the late nineteenth century, the new religious categories gave Ganda readers a means to re-group the authority that had been dissipated by the actions of the kabaka and by some chiefs. As Michael Wright points out, Ganda categories of clan and family continued to be salient, and throughout the war people defended and protected family and clan relatives of different faiths. 58

Religions became alternative categories in which people could continue to make the social arrangements they had always made.59 It has been said that the Baganda were fighting each other fQr religion, but this ignores the larger East African context and the instabilities that would have led to armed conflict whether or not the protagonists had adopted new religions. A more accurate perception might be that they were fighting each other with religion, since the logic of the organization of the groups, their sources of supply, and their maneuvers to gain political power were all connected to their sets of beliefs. Fighting with religion made ending the war particularly difficult, because the new religions were bereft of the conflict- resolving role that had been played by Ganda spirit mediums, and because both the ideological and economic dimensions of the new religious communities facilitated a prolongation of hostilities.






"8Wright, 114-5.

"9According to Bakale Mukasa "They did not fight for religion but for chieftainship", quoted in Twaddle, 40-4 1.








75

Baganda followed the new religions in the ways that they had followed spiritual leaders in the past. Allegiance to a leader was an element of allegiance to a religion; even the Christian missionaries accepted the role of nurturing "their" Christians. When the Katikirro Honarat Nyonyintono was killed in a battle, his followers found it impossible to continue fighting, "they were not cowardly but were distraught and did not see why they should fight just for Protestants. "60 The connection of personal and religious allegiance meant that it was logical for people to switch religions in order to gain chiefships: Simioni Segutta had been a Catholic in 1886, but became a Protestant when offered the position of Kiryagonja, when he did not get the chiefship he had wanted as a Catholic. Yosefu Sebowa was promised a chiefship if he converted to Catholicism, which he did, and became Kisalosalo.6'

The new religious communities became arenas for competition over status in the same way that Ganda chiefs had competed with each other over relative status in other circumstances. The individual chosen to lead Christian groups in any given engagement had authority over the division of spoils. Before one battle in 1890, a messenger had to be sent back to Mwanga to enquire whether it was acceptable for a Protestant, Kakungulu, to take over the leadership of a campaign whose original Catholic leader was indisposed.62 The group of Catholics and Protestants who retreated to Ankole clashed with the Christian group that had retreated to the lake over the issue of seniority and control of



6Wamala, quoted in Twaddle, 44.

61Wright, 116.

62Twaddle 51.








76

spoils: these groups were known as the "grain-eaters" and the "fish-eaters" .63 Entirely new forms of authority fostered further conflicts over relative status. For example, a conflict arose between the Pokino and the Katikirro because the Pokino was lower than the Katikirro in the chiefly hierarchy but higher than him in the church council hierarchy: he did not want to take orders from someone who had a lower position than his in the church council.'

The new religious factions controlled the organization of production and of trade. In the past, the followers of a Lubaale occupied land associated with that spirit; the Mandwa was given sufficient land for his or her followers, however large that group became (Chapter 2). Catholics held a monopoly on canoes at times during the war, so that lack of access to lake transport was a problem for Protestants, and one of the great weaknesses of Kabaka Kalema.65 The Catholic and Protestant coalition suffered because they needed food, and essential supplies of food were controlled by Ganda chiefs who were not readers in Kyagwe and Bulemezi.6 Each faction had sources of supplies from the Coast. Moslems got their guns through Arabs, and Christians got their guns through the former missionary Stokes. Co-religionists who were not Baganda participated actively in the war through their efforts to provide supplies. Miti states that Kipanda, an Arab trader





63Twaddle, 5 1.

64Ashe, Chrnicle, 141.

65Ashe, Chronicle, 41 ;Twaddle, 47.

66Hamu Mukasa, Simuda Nyuma, 383, quoted in Twaddle 47.









77

at Magu at the south end of the lake, sent a dhow of guns and ammunition which he paid for himself, and told his people to attack and sink Stokes' boat if they found it."7

Ganda Christians and Moslems created organizations that had religious, political, and economic dimensions at a time when raiding and plunder had become one of the main occupations of groups of people. The destruction of the civil war, and the terrible calamity of people slaving inside their own society, have been underemphasized by historians who have focussed on the religious identity of the combatants, and described the war as a conflict between new and old ideas .68 The accounts of the war written by participants, and also the statements of non-Ganda observers, describe an effort to overthrow an unsatisfactory king that spun out of control in the volatile conditions in which young men with guns had power.

In 1888, Moslem, Catholic, and Protestant leaders had made blood brotherhood with each other before beginning the battle which caused Mwanga to flee: they were making an effort to overcome the potential conflict inherent in their different religious identities.69 Once they had installed Kiwewa as Kabaka, they assigned chiefships in a way that attempted to divide positions of high status between Moslems and Christians. This arrangement quickly dissolved in conflicts over which religious group ought to hold which




67Miti, 349.
68 Part of the challenge of the war for Ganda Christians and Moslems was to find ways to integrate new and powerful ideas into their organization of Ganda society, but to frame the conflict in a tradition vs. modernity dichotomy ignores the reality of fundamental change in the region in the nineteenth century.

69Kiwanuka, 205.










chiefships. Not long after a fight which caused many Christians to withdraw to Ankole, Kiwewa lost control of Mengo in conflict with Muslim chiefs, and he was replaced by Kalema, a son of Mutesa who had been considered by everyone a better candidate for Kabaka than Kiwewa. During the brief reign of Kalema (1888- October 1889), conflict between the factions escalated from raids on Kyaggwe cattle by Ganda Christians in Ankole to violence and plundering that led to the depopulation of Buganda.7

The civil war protagonists were the same people who had been involved in raiding and plundering outside of Buganda and sometimes inside it: the neglected role of elephant hunters was identified by Hamuli Suku, who remembered that the Moslem defeat was a result of the joint action of "all of them, the pagans, the readers, and the hunters'"7' Kaggwa acknowledged that in an engagement he led in Mawokota "the Mohamedans were defeated and their wives plundered", but he states that the wives were later returned.72 The Protestant missionary Ashe, who returned to Buganda during the war, wrote that probably not all the women had been returned after that engagement, and that loot was the main objective of the combatants." One of the Christian combatants later explained that in re-taking Mengo, the Christian army failed to capture Kalema because people stopped to plunder. "What saved Kalema was our poverty. Just when our victory




70Kaggwa, B skabak 110/149.
71Hamuli Suku oral testimony 1969, English translation at Department of Religious Studies, Makerere, by Abdul Kasozi, quoted in Twaddle, 58.

72Kaggwa, B, 116/153.

73Ashe, Chronic, 137, 139.









79

was almost complete, everybody went to the place of the coastal traders in order to plunder the cloth.",71

James Miti, who followed his participation in the war with a distinguished career in the Uganda Protectorate government, stated clearly that enslavement was a goal of making war, to "plunder and carry off men and women from the vanquished side on every occasion was the order of the day at that time" and "it was each warrior's ambition to fight hard in order to be able to return home with plunder and captives".'5 He acknowledged that he himself had taken "not less than seventeen female captives and some six male prisoners of war" in the attack on the Buvuma Islands in which Major MacDonald had participated and forbidden any enslavement, and suggested that many hundreds of captives had been smuggled away into Buganda by other Ganda warriors.

Miti also described an incident in the war which indicates that people were not only being enslaved, but that many of the captured people were being sold to Arabs. Kabarega, the king of Bunyoro, had sent an army to assist Kalema in 1890. This army got confused in retreating from a battle, and accidentally went further into Buganda, where "they fell into a trap and many of them were captured and made prisoners or slaves." Miti describes how the captured people attempted to prove their value to the Ganda captors, pleading that they should remain with the person who captured them:

A Munyoro potter or blacksmith would plead his case by assuring his
Baganda captors that his knowledge of pottery or of the manufacture of



14 Paulo Kibi testimony, quoted in Twaddle, Kakuigiulu, 55.

75 Miti, 409.








80

spears, as the case might be, would be found very useful if he were only
kept under their service.6

After the Moslems had been driven from Mengo in 1889, according to Miti, they began plundering food and property all over Ssingo, and into Ggomba and Busujju.

Women, children and even old men fell victims to the Mohamedan's acts of
cruelty, some of them being killed on the spot, others being carried away
for sale to his Arab friend as slaves.77

When Christian chiefs organized themselves to stop the raiding, they engaged in a battle in Lumanyo, when they surprised the Moslems and routed them so that the retreating army dropped their plunder. Captured women and children were abandoned along the road. The Christian army returned them to their families, and the children whose families could not be found (because the children were too young to identify themselves) were adopted.78 A praise song devised for Kakungulu during the war "Kangabaana, eyawangula abensambya"

--"the scatterer of children, the one who conquered those of Nsambya" suggests the social consequences of the war.79 That children and their mothers were targets for enslavement led to a problem encountered in Buganda some years later, when Ganda who had been children in the war were unable to successfully contract marriages because they did not know their real clans.






76Miti, 359.

77Miti, 368.

78Miti, 368.

79Twaddle, 78.









81

Baganda remembered the war as a time of unimaginable destruction. The

population of Bunyoro is said to have increased because so many people fled from war and the danger of enslavement in Buganda.80 An image that recurs in descriptions of the war is of corpses rotting by the roadside because no one was available to bury them. People stopped cultivating out of fear of fighting, and in the ensuing famine people dug up the stumps of banana trees in order to eat the roots. Warriors with guns "used to assuage their hunger by force of arms, carrying guns with them wherever they went and threatening to shoot anyone who would not give them food."8' An outbreak of bubonic plague followed the famine. Estimates of the death toll range from 7,000 to 400,001.8 After October 1889, Moslem armies had moved into and then out of Kyaddondo and Busiro because they were empty of people and animals and there was nothing left to raid; they then proceeded to plunder all of Kyagwe. Carl Peters passed through Kyaggwe early in 1890 and found "a desolation of destroyed banana groves, with vultures gorging on unburied corpses and the wind raising flurries of ashes in the burnt villages."v83

The civil war fundamentally undermined the institution of the kabaka.

Success for any of the factions in the civil war depended on having a prince of the drum-one entitled to become king because he was a direct descendant of a kabaka. Among the




'01. Nyakature, Anatomy of an African Kingdom 144, quoted in Twaddle, 60.

8tMiti 361.

82 The lower estimate is from Ashe, Chronicles, 144; the higher estimate is from Kaggwa, 119/155.

13 Wright, 10 1.









82

first actions of the Christian group after it withdrew to Ankole in 1888 was to try to acquire a prince of the drum. Bawmweyana, one of the sons of Mutesa, bribed his guard to allow him to escape to join the Christians, but Kalema had sent people to watch for him after he escaped, and he was captured. Kalema then decided to kill all the princes of the drum, and also all the princesses, because if they had no potential kabaka in their camp, they would have no means of regaining power.84 Princesses were killed as well as princes because the British were ruled by a woman, and therefore it seemed possible that Christians might put a princess on the throne. One generation earlier, Mutesa's mother the Namasole Muganzirwaza had caused the deaths of eleven of Suna's sons through starvation: only Mbogo, Mainja, and Kabaka Mutesa had been left alive.5 These two successive wholesale executions of princes may be an indication of the accelerating instability of the nineteenth century, because no earlier kabaka had considered it necessary to kill all his brothers. Even the practice of imprisoning princes of the drum had started in the late 18th century under Kabaka Semakokiro (who had killed his brother to obtain the kabakaship),6 The killing of two generations of princes (and one of princesses) was a disaster for Buganda because it created a dearth of potential effective leadership. When Kalema died of smallpox after his retreat from Mengo, the only possible kabakas were the Moslem leader Mbogo, two young sons of Kalema and Kiwewa who were out of the country with Catholic missionaries, and Mwanga, who had already been deposed once.


"Miti, 337; Kaggwa, B.skabak 114.

85Kaggwa, Jebak 76/130.

86Kiwanuka, 129.









83

The Christians turned to Mwanga because they had no other means of maintaining a credible bid for control of the kingdom. Since Mwanga had demonstrated his ineptness as a ruler and the chiefs had demonstrated their lack of respect for him the first time they overthrew him, his return to power inevitably entailed a further diminution of the authority of the kabaka. Unfortunately, the elements of Ganda society that served to balance the power of the kabaka were also in decline. The Kimbugwe, the chief who was officially the keeper of the kabaka's "twin" (an elaborate charm which contained the kabaka's umbilical cord), had the right to speak against the kabaka in the Lukiko and to try the kabaka for improper actions; but the Kimbugwe chiefship was abolished in 1892 because "during the Christian reign, we could not honor the traditional twin-god."87 Spirit mediums, who had served to safely focus legitimate criticism of the kabaka also lost their influence with the spread of Christianity and Islam, and with the general disorder of the time. Kakungulu was said to have a new drumbeat when the Christians and their allies gathered on Bulingugwe island

I eat whatever I find:
I eat whatever belongs to emmandwa.88

Kabaka Mutesa had been obliged to entertain and submit to the actions of the priest of the shrine of Mukasa, the Lubaale of the Victoria Nyanza. The son of that priest had lost his followers and his land was taken by the Gabunga in the 1890s; the grandson claimed to be "an important mutaka in Sesse as well as in Buganda" but, when questioned, he admitted



87Kaggwa, Basekabak 104/146.

88Paulo Kibi testimony, quoted in Twaddle, 50.









84

that he received land as a tenant of the Gabunga, and he performed services as the Gabunga's man.89

The crisis of newly strong chiefs and a thoroughly weak kabaka led to "wars that did not let go."' In 1888, Mwanga was driven out, Christians withdrew, and Kalema replaced Kiwewa as Kabaka. In 1889,a coalition of the forces of Christian chiefs and the forces of avowedly pagan chiefs brought Mwanga back to Mengo by the end of the year, after battles that had left fields where "skulls are as numerous ... as mushrooms."9' Groups that considered themselves supporters of the Moslem Kabaka Kalema, and after his death the Moslem Kabaka Mbogo, fought against the re-establishment of Mwanga all over Buganda. In 1892, fighting broke out in Mengo between people who identified themselves as Protestants, and people who identified themselves as Catholic. In 1893, negotiations for territory (see below) ended conflict among the new religious factions, but in 1894 and 1895, Baganda participated in fighting against the rebelling Sudanese troops. From 1897 to 1899, Mwanga and a coalition of chiefs fought against Baganda who allied themselves with "the Kampala European'. The "religious revolution" framework explains these continuing conflicts in terms of what religious group held Mengo or wanted to control it: but the triggers for each outburst of hostilities were so trivial that conflict seems




8gEntebbe Archives, SMP 6902, Butaka Commission Report, Guggu, Yosiya Ajabi
Sumugala, and Gabunga, 384-387. Cited hereafter as Commission, with witnesses names and page numbers.

9Mulira, 2.


91Solomon Wamala, Obulamu, 51, quoted in Twaddle, 52.









85

to have been prolonged for its own sake. More war meant more opportunity to acquire the wealth that came from raiding. Reporting on the volatile situation in Mengo in 1890, Captain MacDonald noted that chiefs seemed to be acting in their own interest, and the Kabaka "had little control over powerful, intriguing chiefs, ripe for any contingency that promised a chance of plunder."92

Re-allocating Land to Make the War End

At each shift in the control of the kingdom, the victorious group re-allocated

important chiefships. Naming the people who would control the sazas and the important functions of the kingdom was a way of stating the order of the nation. In the oral traditions of Buganda recorded by Apolo Kaggwa, the stories of each kabaka concluded with a list of the important chiefs during that reign; the named chiefs, in their named chiefships, constituted Buganda as it had been in that reign. In the civil war period, naming the chiefs was also a way of identifying how those who had taken control of the capital intended to manage the complicated problem of competing claims for authority between factions of chiefs. The problem faced by the groups of chiefs who came to power was to find a way to map the increasingly salient new categories of allegiance to Islam, and to English' and French' Christianity onto the structures of saza and subsidiary chiefships. Over and over again, these efforts failed. The order of Buganda, defined in chiefs of territories and chiefs of important functions, could not hold together at a time when organizing raiding had become the dominant occupation of chiefs. Furthermore, attempting to insert new religious categories into the structure of chiefships in some


92Macdonald Report (1893) PRO Series Fos (African) F02/60, quoted in Waller, 32.









86

logical way created even more instability, because the new categories always provided reasons for rationalizing renewed conflict. The various factions of chiefs attempted successively more radical techniques for combining religion and chiefly control of the provinces as the war continued.

In 1888, the Moslems and their Catholic and Protestant blood brothers assigned the katikiro ship to Christians, gave more than half the saza chiefships to Moslems, and gave two heavily armed bitongole to both Christians and Moslems; but this division fell apart within six weeks because an assertive Christian chief agitated for the post of Kauta, a chiefship that included the function of cooking for the palace and also land in the central provinces. His claim upset the precarious balance of power that had been negotiated and led to an armed skirmish which caused Christians to leave for Ankole.93 Those remaining in Mengo then had to carry out the action of identifying the chiefs of the nation again, in order to replace the Christian chiefs who had left. But this exercise in naming authority exacerbated tensions between Kiwewa and the Moslem chiefs who had brought him to power, resulting in a violent episode that ended in the departure of Kiwewa, the installation of Kalema, and a further naming of chiefships, to replace the ones who had just been killed. Both the Christian faction and the Moslem faction appointed chiefs for all the significant chiefships, even though they did not always control the sazas to which they were naming chiefs. Wright points out that the Moslems twice reappointed a chief for Kyaggwe when the intended Moslem chief was killed, even though the Moslem faction never held that area after they abandoned Mengo.


93Twaddle, 38.









87

When the coalition of factions that identified themselves as Christian regained

control of part of the mainland near Mengo in October, 1889, they named chiefs for all the sazas of the country. Two aspects of the chiefs' action reveal the intensifying crisis of authority in Buganda: the chiefs created an order of the nation that attempted to thoroughly balance the power of Protestant and Catholic factions, and they made the allocations entirely without the participation of Kabaka Mwanga. According to an eye witness, Mwanga "had no power" in the allocation; the chiefs made their decisions, and informed him afterwards.'4 This is the clearest possible evidence that the central place of authority in Buganda was empty. The structure of exchange in the country which, as Walker argues, required everything to flow into and out of the center no longer existed, and the figure who held the place that was also supposed to be that center no longer had real power.

The group of chiefs who had beaten Kalema defined Buganda as a balance of English religion adherents and French religion adherents at every level. The elaborate system they devised of alternating Protestant and Catholic chiefs appears to be an attempt to use the structure of chiefly control over territory and over subordinate chiefs to diffuse potential conflict. The system is described in detail in the report of Captain Macdonald in 1892:

The Estates, chieftainships and posts of honour and importance were
divided equally between the two parties on a system which aimed at
absolute fairness and justice but which was so complicated as in itself to
contribute a great and ever present source of danger. The principle adopted seems simple enough. Every holder of a post was to be under a superior of


"Wright, 117, 95.









88

the opposite party. Thus the owner of a Catholic sbhnba (estate) was
under a Protestant sub-chief, who in turn was subordinated to a Catholic
chief and so on and vice versa. In addition to this Buganda was divided into
ten districts--amasaza--five of which were headed by Catholic and five by
Protestant chiefs. Below these the alternation perpetrated [sic] but in
districts headed by a particular religious chief the estates belonging to him
were regarded as belonging to his party i.e. religious sect.'5

The alternation of Protestant and Catholic permeated Ganda structures of authority: even the estates of the Namasole, the Lubuga, and those of the Katikiro and Kimbugwe in every province were supposed to have subchiefs of the other religious persuasion under chiefs who held the same faith as the controllers of the estates.%

The orderly and logical plan imposed by the chiefs could not function in the actual conditions in Buganda at that time. In the imagined Buganda of the named chiefships, networks of chiefs expressed their relationship to each other by passing tribute up the hierarchy and receiving gifts down it, but actually the sazas were devastated by raiding, and decimated by famine and disease. The authority of chiefs should have derived from their submission to the authority of the kabaka and the kabaka's recognition of their role, but actually, there was no authority, only intense competition among powerful, armed chiefs, which was to be kept in check by their wiful intention to share power.

The ordering of the nation under layers of Protestant and Catholic chiefs implied that all people in authority were to be Christian. Since not a the Baganda were Christian, this decision indicates the connection people made between political and spiritual authority


95j.R.L. Macdonald, "Report on Uganda Disturbances in Spring, 1892" Entebbe Archives, quoted in L.L. Kato, "Government Land Policy in Uganda: 1889 to 1900, U~gand~a Jorl l~, 35, 2 (197 1) pp. 153-160, 153.

96Macdonald Report, quoted in Kato, 153.









89

--people would have to be found, of the appropriate religion, to rule in each particular locality, and the people below that chief would follow his religious lead. It is possible that the coterie of chiefs who made this plan believed that commitment to Christian faith implied a capacity to live peacefully. It is also possible that they chose complete powersharing in every direction as a means to prevent any accusation of unfairness. Some members of the coalition that had defeated Kalema were denied a leading role with the rationalization "bhiang is not religion".'7 Since bhiang smoking was identified with elephant hunting, (and had been forbidden by kabakas in the past) the exclusion of bhiang-smokers may have represented an attempt to eliminate the instabilities associated with new wealth and new military power.

Whatever the intentions and aspirations of the group of chiefs that devised the

ordering of Buganda in alternating layers of Catholics and Protestant chiefs, the system did not work. The Baganda were used to changes in chiefship being ordinary, fluid, and easily accomplished: this system required the order of chiefship to stay exactly as it was at the moment the system had been initiated. Any change of chiefs, or any chief's change in religion, became a source of conflict between the English' and French' factions. When a chief changed his religious allegiance, he lost his control of that chiefship. This was logical since the chiefs had linked the political authority inherent in control over land to prescribed religious allegiances, but it was impossible to carry out in the context of the Ganda practice of constantly reordering chiefships. Irresolvable problems arose when the Lubuga, Mwanga's sister, changed from Catholic to Protestant. The chief Yoswa


97Wright, 95-96.








90

Wasekere changed from Protestant to Catholic, provoking another confrontation. Catholic missionaries asserted that the principle of religious freedom required that people be allowed to retain land, even if they changed religions. In the volatile atmosphere of 1890, disagreements over who should control land quickly escalated into armed confrontation between Catholics and Protestants. When a minor chief in Kyaggwe who held what was supposed to be a Protestant chiefship became a Catholic, Protestants tried to evict the chief and Catholics agitated for him to remain. Semei Kakungulu, who was at that time the chiefs superior, travelled to Kyaggwe to resolve the problem, thirteen people were killed on the disputed estate, and shots were fired in Mengo.9"

Mwanga was entirely incapable of asserting the Kabaka's authority over land that might have resolved the disputes. The chiefs considered Mwanga to be someone who could be "herded like an ox" and they manipulated him to get the decisions they wanted." In 1891, a dispute arose because Mwanga had secretly given a village on Bussi Island to a Catholic, although this area should have been under the control of the Gabunga, the Saza chief of the Sesse Islands, which had been designated a Protestant chiefship. Two Catholics had been killed when they went to take possession of the land, because the Gabunga's men had refused to give it up, saying it was impossible that the land could have been transferred if the Katikirro's representative was not there to "show the land" and make the transfer. When Mwanga attempted to decide against the Gabunga, a Protestant chief stood up in the Lukiko and shouted at the Kabaka "No, sir Kabaka! You are wrong!


98Macdonald report, cited in Twaddle, 77.

"Wright, 99.




Full Text
WHEN THE MILES CAME:
LAND AND SOCIAL ORDER IN BUGANDA, 1850-1928
By
HOLLY ELISABETH HANSON
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1997

Copyright 1997
by
Holly Elisabeth Hanson

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
First of all, I want to thank many Baganda, now in the realm of ancestors, who
cared passionately about events in their kingdom, and made the effort to write about their
own lives, to record successions, to write down in detail the arguments in a case, and to
remember events in songs or sayings. I have relied on people’s clear perceptions of how
their society was changing with the coming of British overrule, and their brilliantly incisive
criticisms of those changes. The Ganda thinkers who left their ideas where they could be
found a few generations later have given my story both its structure and its life.
My second debt is to the scholars who have shaped my development as a historian.
I am immensely grateful to Steven Feierman, who in his own work and in his interaction
with me about mine gave me the tools to consider social change in the past. I want to
thank David Schoenbrun, not only for making concrete the early history of the Great
Lakes region, but also for asking me hard questions in a way that inspired confidence that
I might be able to answer them. In his own teaching and also in his untiring efforts to
bring scholars of Africa to the University of Florida, R. Hunt Davis created the learning
environment which I enjoyed so much. I also appreciate the contributions of the members
of my committee who were not African historians—Murdo M. MacLeod, Sheryl Kroen,
Abe Goldman, and, at earlier stages, Goran Hyden, Carol Lansing, and Jeffrey Needell.
iii

I am also thoroughly indebted to historians of Buganda whom I have encountered
primarily through their written work. M.S.M. Semakula Kiwanuka’s works on Ganda
history have been my reference companions. Anthony Low’s edited volume on Buganda
thought gave me the idea for my topic, and John Rowe’s vivid and insightful view of
nineteenth century Buganda taught me how to pursue it. The clarity and rich detail of
Michael Twaddle’s biography of Kakungulu and Michael Wright’s history of the civil war
gave me entry into this difficult period of Ganda history. Henry W. West’s precise and
thorough explanations of what happened with land in Buganda were the keys that
unlocked sources that would otherwise have been impossible to understand.
I could not have produced this dissertation without the generosity of other scholars
of Uganda who shared source materials that were no longer traceable in Uganda.
Foremost among these is John Rowe, whose work collecting archives in the early 1960s is
evident to anyone who uses the Africana Collection at Makerere University Library;
Professor Rowe graciously allowed me to look at his copy of the records of the Lukiko
and his translations of the Ekitabo kva Kika kva Nsenene. and gave me a copy of the rare,
privately circulated pamphlet "The Bataka Land Holding Question." Richard Waller gave
me a copy of his unpublished S.O.A.S. Master’s paper, and shared research notes. Glenn
McKnight shared information on the Butaka controversy from files which had been
misplaced in the Entebbe Secretariat Archives before I arrived there; I have also benefited
from materials directed to me by Mikael Karlstrom and Michael Tuck.
I am grateful to the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology for
permission to do research in Uganda, and to the Makerere Institute of Social Resarch for
IV

providing me with an academic home. Innumerable people in Uganda received me with
kindness and facilitated my work: among them were Christine Deborah Sengendo,
Nakanyike and Ssegane Musisi, Judy Butterman, Mark Markwardt, the staff of the
Africana Collection at Makerere University Library, the staff of the Mailo Land office, and
the staffs of various courts. Anke Alemayehu, Rod and Dawn Belcher, Elizabeth Kharono,
and others welcomed me and my children in ways we will never forget.
I received research support from the Fulbright Fellowship program of the
International Institute of Education, and from the University of Florida I received a Center
for African Studies pre-dissertation research grant, a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Dissertation Fellowship, a Ruth McQuown Fellowship, and Department of History travel
funding.
I am deeply grateful to Kathryn Burns, Jan Shetler, Peter Von Doepp, Kiran
Asher, Marcia Good Maust, Rebecca Karl, Tracy Baton, and others for their steady
encouragement, and for helping me connect intellectual endeavor with the rest of life. I
want to thank my family for giving me models of engaged scholarship. The support of my
religious community —including Margaret Mattinson, Joanne Schwandes, Harriet and Sam
Stafford, Jeanne and Jose Diaz, and many others—allowed me to meet the needs of my
children and the deadlines of graduate school at the same time. Finally, I want to
acknowledge my children, Corin Olinga Vick and Rebecca Margaret Vick, who avoided
stepping on all the papers on the floor for many years, and who moved to Uganda and
back in the middle of secondary school. I thank them for their courage, fortitude, grace,
and good humor.

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
WHEN THE MILES CAME:
LAND AND SOCIAL ORDER IN BUGANDA, 1850-1928
By
Holly Elisabeth Hanson
December 1997
Chairman: Steven Feierman
Major Department: History
The dissertation examines social change in the East African kingdom of Buganda
in the decades preceding and following British colonial intervention, using documentation
generated by an abrupt transformation in the pattern of land ownership in 1900. In
considering the period of early Ganda/British interaction primarily from the perspective of
Ganda written records and Ganda institutions, it challenges commonly held perceptions
regarding colonialism and economic transformation in Africa. Ganda leaders interacted
with British officials with expectations of mutual respect, incorporated new social forms
such as private land ownership into Ganda structures of authority, and resisted the
commodification of social relationships even as they adopted wage labor and
commercialization of trade.
vi

The dissertation identifies the political and social relationships encoded in land
control before the mid-nineteenth century, arguing that Buganda was not a centralized
despotism, but rather that overlapping and diffuse forms of authority characterized the
kingdom prior to that time. Long distance trade in ivory and slaves undermined Ganda
forms of authority, leading to a prolonged period of civil war. The dissertation asserts that
this conflict ended not through British intervention, but when Ganda chiefs re-ordered the
kingdom by associating control over land with religious allegiance.
The dissertation argues that class distinctions in Buganda did not emerge as a
result of the creation of private land ownership: the chiefs who became land owners
initially attempted to maintain relationships of mutual social obligation with the followers
who became their tenants. Instead, new kinds of social distinctions emerged as a result of
the excessive labor demands of colonial authorities, which altered the relationship of chiefs
to followers. The dissertation demonstrates that the passionate protest against mailo
(privately owned) land in the 1920s known as the "Butaka Controversy" was a direct
critique of the new colonial order. The complainants asked for the restoration of all the
positions of authority that had characterized Buganda in the past, and described
commodified social relations as a form of enslavement.
vii

TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS üi
ABSTRACT vi
CHAPTERS
1 INTRODUCTION 1
2 BANANA GARDENS AND THE PURPOSES OF PRODUCTION 11
Households and Banana Gardens 15
The Logic of Kusenga: Attaching to a Chief 17
Production as the Enactment of Meaning 24
Remembering the Lives of Ancestors 25
Remembering Constitutional Events 31
Following Tribute Up: Overlapping Forms of Power 34
Power at the Center of the Kingdom 44
Ebitongole: Kabakas Control Innovation 51
Conclusion 53
3 CHIEFSHIP, LAND, AND CIVIL ORDER 55
Buganda and the Trade in Ivory and Slaves 57
The Dissolution of Authority 63
Buganda’s Civil War: Social Violence with Religious
Categories 72
Re-allocating Land to Make the War End 85
Conclusion 99
4 AT THE TIME OF THE MILES: MAILO ALLOCATION 101
Mailo Allocation and Authority in Buganda in 1900 104
Ganda Meanings for Land Applied to Mailo 108
Mailo, Ancestors’ Bones, and the Translation
of Culture 113
Mailo Allocation and the Locations of Power in Buganda 122
Challenges to the Social Logic of Kusenga 128
Claiming Authority 129
viii

Cash and the Calculus of Kusenga 134
Tax in Rupees and in Labor 141
Conclusion 149
5 CHALLENGES TO GANDA SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS, 1906-1920 151
Too Much Work: New Labor, Old Tribute, and the
Possibilities of Cash for Cotton 155
Work Obligations in the New Buganda 157
Responding to Overwhelming Labor Demands 169
Immigrants and Independent Ganda Women 173
The Missed Meanings of Labor Exchange 181
The Deterioration of Kusenga 182
The Decline of Lineage Networks and the Threat of
"Bad Heirs" 194
Innovations to Meet the Responsibilities of Chiefs and Lineage
Networks 204
Conclusion 209
6 THE ORDER OF MILES ON TRIAL 211
The Complainants and the Logic of their Case 213
Mailo and the Young Kabaka’s Power 222
The Grammar of Omusango 227
Daudi Chwa’s Attempt to Rule and its Aftermath 230
Colonial Power on Trial on a Colonial Stage: The Multiple Meanings
Of Butaka 232
The Tenuous Intersection of Discourses of Power 240
7 THE DESTRUCTION OF THE GOOD CUSTOMS OF BUGANDA 245
Mailo Shattering the Foundations of the Kingdom 245
Critiquing Colonial Rule 249
The Harmful Constriction of Forms of Authority 250
The Inappropriate Exercise of Power 257
Arguing about the History of Power in Buganda 260
Arguing about the Ganda Social Order 264
People Turning into Things: Private Land Ownership as
Enslavement 269
The Possibility of New and Old Together 278
Conclusion: Beyond Bakungu and Bataka 285
ix

EPILOGUE "SNAKE IN THE COOKING POT": THE IMPASSE OF LAND IN
BUGANDA 290
GLOSSARY 293
WORKS CITED 294
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 300
x

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Lush banana gardens support the dense population of the ridges on the northern
edge of the great East African inland sea, where the Buganda kingdom emerged about five
hundred years ago. People used this fertile land not only to produce the means of their
subsistence, but also to define relationships between people in the kingdom. Ceremonies
of "showing the land" cemented the connection of wives to husbands, of followers to
chiefs, and of regional leaders to the kabaka, the king of Buganda. Neighbors and their
children gathered to witness when a newcomer was "shown the land." A bark cloth tree
was planted, intermediaries received gifts, and children planted bushes that indicated the
borders of the granted land. In Buganda, the power to allocate land meant power to rule
the people who cultivated the banana gardens on that land, and each person who had the
power to grant land had a place in the complex web of authority. More important
ceremonies, carried out by a designated messenger of the ruling kabaka, marked a
kabaka’s decision to give power—and land—to one subordinate and to take it away from
someone else.
A unique and profoundly significant series of ceremonies "showing the land"
occurred in every part of Buganda in 1900 and immediately thereafter. In the aftermath of
the protracted war that followed Buganda’s involvement in long distance trade in ivory,
1

2
slaves, and guns, the victorious Christian chiefs and their British allies had agreed to re¬
allocate the land of the kingdom In Ganda terms, new controllers of land logically
followed new alignments of power. This time, however, the victorious chiefs (not the
kabaka, then an infant) had made the allocations, and they had agreed to give half the land
to the British, after all "ruling chiefs and notables" of Buganda had received their share.
The leading Christian chiefs gave themselves the largest amounts of land and people, but
took care to give estates of land varying in size from one to twenty square miles to almost
four thousand other chiefs and figures of authority in Buganda. Since the British wanted
to secure their portion of the land as a potential means of attracting European settlers and
making a profit for their fledgling colonial endeavor, they insisted that the new allocations
be marked and measured following European practices of landed property, as well as
Ganda practices of "showing the land."1 People called the land allocated in this way mailo
(estates of land measured in square miles). Mailo land had implications beyond
demonstrating a shift in the hierarchy of power in Buganda. Although Baganda giving and
receiving mailo did not recognize it at the time, the new rituals for land allocation,
including land surveys, the distribution of certificates, and writing names in the land
registry, gave mailo the characteristics of private property, and this permanently
foreclosed the possibility that any future kabaka might manage shifting power alliances by
making new assignments of land.
‘After waiting fifteen years for their turn to choose, the British got swampy lowlands,
rocky hilltops, and Buganda’s least arable land.

3
In creating mailo. Ganda chiefs and British colonial officers supported each other
because they agreed on the importance of asserting their control over the land. Neither the
Ganda nor the British recognized, in 1900, the huge gap in their intentions for the use of
that land. The ruling Ganda chiefs focused on inscribing the new order of power, with
themselves at the top, in the familiar form of chiefly control over land. The British focused
on the creation of protectable private property, and on obtaining a share themselves. The
coalescence of these two fundamentally different concerns generated unusually rich
sources for African social history, ones that provide insight into the structures of an east
African society before the tumultuous changes of the late nineteenth century. The
documentation of mailo land contains types of information that are difficult to recapture
from oral historical narratives.
The chiefs’ distribution of land articulated their perception of the structures of
power in Buganda, because they attempted to allot a mailo estate to each person in
authority. Their decisions were recorded with due solemnity on land certificates,
surveyors’ maps, and land registry lists. Those who felt their authority merited estates and
who had not received them immediately attacked the mailo allocation with statements
explaining their right to land and power based on generations of remembered clan or
family history. The British protectorate carefully recorded these counterclaims. Twenty
years later, Ganda social discontent crystallized in a tumultuous public protest about mailo
land. The culmination of this protest was a public enquiry under British colonial auspices
in which people explained what Ganda society had been like in the past in order to prove

4
that the allocation of land—and the organization of society-had been utterly corrupted by
mailo Their thorough critique of the consequences of colonial involvement in Buganda
received a full hearing under British colonial auspices because British authorities felt
obliged to investigate claims that involved the violation of property rights.
This dissertation uses Ganda actions regarding land to perceive social change in
the kingdom at a crucial period in its history. It traces the outlines of the relationships
which people had encoded in control of land, observes the impact on those relationships of
Buganda’s nineteenth century crisis in authority, and records the transformation of those
relationships under the impact of British colonial demands for labor, tax, and obedience.
Since Ganda chiefs, followers, and clan leaders made the decisions about land, my strategy
focuses attention on Ganda ideas and Ganda intellectual endeavor. The dissertation
discusses Ganda notions of the proper way to organize society, the creativity of Ganda
leaders who used land allocation to re-create order during and after the seemingly
interminable war of the late nineteenth century, and Ganda ability to integrate new and old
ways of thinking when people chose to involve themselves with the British. By paying
attention to the meaning of land, it is possible to see the 1920s conflict over land as an
articulate Ganda assessment of the failures of British colonial intervention. In a sense, this
is an intellectual history of Ganda use of the idiom of land as power.
My conclusions about the Buganda polity are quite different from those of most
published histories of Buganda. Those works, based on research carried out during the
transition from colonial rule to independence, emphasized the consolidation of central

5
power in the hands of kabakas, and argued that the militarism of Buganda in the late
nineteenth century had characterized the kingdom for several preceding generations. In
Chapter Two, I use clan histories, Ganda epic tradition, claims regarding land in the 1880s
and other late 19th and early 20th century sources to argue that power in Buganda was
diffused through a layered network of multiple forms of authority. I argue that the
coexistence of overlapping forms of authority in the 19th century indicates a tendency to
avoid conflict and seek compromise as Buganda institutions developed, and that people
who held office oriented themselves to each other as well as to the king.
In Chapter Three, I describe the collapse of Ganda structures of authority in the
nineteenth century. Building on recent scholarship which identifies the introduction of
caravan trading in ivory, guns and slaves as a transforming crisis for East African polities,
I interpret the actions of nineteenth century kabakas as attempts to regain authority they
had lost because of the fundamental disruptions initiated by the caravan trade. Using
testimony of participants and a close reading of the records of Captain Lugard (who has
hitherto gotten credit), I argue that Ganda chiefs ended civil war and re imposed order in
their country through incorporating new religions in the arrangement of control over
Buganda’s ten provinces.
Using land allocation to understand social relationships also generates a new way
of looking at the causes of the drastic social changes that occurred in Buganda in the early
20th century. Mailo land owners have been blamed for the emergence of vast differences
in social class that happened at that time. One version of the story is that scheming, selfish

6
chiefs sold the nation to the British in return for huge estates of mailo land, and the masses
who were not granted mailo land were shut out from the means of personal advancement.
British Protectorate officials themselves accused the mailo owners of laziness and greed
because they lived off the rents of their tenants instead of turning their land into profitable
plantations. These explanations fail to consider the logical motivations Ganda chiefs might
have had for re-allocating land, and later for refusing to turn their followers into wage
laborers, as the Protectorate officials wanted them to do. Also, the story of greedy
landlords leaves out the consequences for Baganda of British colonial exactions of labor
and tax.
In order to develop a more complete understanding of the consequences of mailo,
it is necessary to keep in mind that all interactions involving productive resources have
both economic and social (moral) components. People in Buganda produced bananas and
other foods and manufactured goods in order to survive, but Baganda did not emphasize
the economic aspect of production in their explanations of their society. Until the early
twentieth century, Ganda production almost invariably had meanings and utility beyond
the provision of subsistence: the production of things created and demonstrated
connections between groups of people. British colonial officers arrived with a different
way of thinking about production. Colonial decision-makers in Buganda attended to the
economic dimensions of production and ignored the social ones. For most of the colonial
era, British employers insisted that work was a purely economic transaction even when
doing so drove workers away from their plantations and factories by the thousands.

7
Baganda, including mailo owners, did not stop seeing social obligations inherent in control
of land even when the land came with a certificate of ownership. I argue that in 1900
chiefs wanted the authority and prestige that came from having followers, and the
allocation of mailo land was a statement of a new order of power in the kingdom, not a
pre-emptive grab for resources that would soon have economic value. The labor demands
that made life unbearable came from colonial exactions of one to two months’ labor for tax
and one month’s obligatory labor on top of the obligations of tribute and labor for chiefs
and the kabaka. Chapter Four describes the decisions made by Ganda chiefs in allocating
mailo, and their attempt to include important meanings, such as the continuing power of
deceased Kabakas, in the form of private property. Chapter Five outlines the effects of
excessive labor demands on the relationship of chiefs to followers, and suggests that class
differences emerged in Buganda as people with school-taught skills obtained exemptions
from obligatory labor.
The massive social protest in the 1920s, known as the Butaka controversy, has
been understood as a further working out of the centralizing tendency in Buganda political
development. In this view, the protestors were disgruntled clan elders complaining about
having lost land to the chiefs appointed by the kabaka. A careful examination of the
records of the 1920s dispute over mailo land suggests that much more was going on. The
complainants were not only clan elders, but also all the other kinds of people who had had
authority in pre-colonial Buganda, and whose authority had diminished under the regime
of mailo. They asked for the return of butaka (clan graveyards) and their other lands, but

8
they also asked for the restoration of all the positions of authority and the patterns of
decision-making that had characterized Buganda in the past. Chapter Six documents the
participants in the case against mailo, and explains how their incisive critique of colonial
power was misunderstood as an argument about graveyards. Chapter Seven explores the
arguments made by the Ganda leaders who brought the case against mailo. They wanted a
return of the Ganda pattern of rule which had more positions of authority, more
participants in decision making, and more compromise. They claimed that their children
were "enslaved" by the commodification of social relationships, and stated that people in
power ought to consider the well-being of the people they were ruling. They claimed that
progress would be most effective if it incorporated "the good customs of Buganda," and if
change happened slowly. The epilogue sketches why these aspirations could not be met,
describes the Busulu and Nvujjo law of 1928 which defined the Ganda obligations of
chiefs to followers in cash terms, and shows how Baganda retained their expectations
regarding land and social obligation as the cash economy developed.
The sources I have used to examine the intellectual creativity of Baganda who
reshaped their social institutions to make them work in new circumstances could also
answer other interesting historical questions. The specific controllers of land before the
time of mailo are discernible in Ganda epic tradition and in statements by clan elders and
others who disputed the mailo allocation. These might contribute to an elaboration of
Ganda history from the beginning of the kingdom until 1800. Who received mailo, and
who it was passed down to, was recorded in carefully filed provisional and final

9
certificates of ownership in the Land Registry Office, in the Ekitabo kva Obusika (Book of
Succession) of the Buganda kingdom, and in land survey maps made between 1908 and
1914. These documents could be used to answer fascinating questions about the origins of
a land market: what land was sold, and what land was not sold, and why? The ways that
people infused meaning into plots of land can be glimpsed in scattered explanations of
events in the epic tradition, in the chronicles of 19th century events written by Miti,
Kaggwa, and Nsimbi, in reports of 19th century travellers and in the ethnographic works
of Roscoe and Mair. Records of land cases heard in district level courts between 1910 and
1970 contain transcriptions of pointed arguments between litigants concerning their
mutual obligations in relationships mediated by land. In fieldwork in Uganda in 1993 and
1995,1 participated in occasions of "showing the land" and listened to people’s stories of
the history of their land. These sources could be used to extend a study of social
transformation in Buganda from 1928 until the present.
It is important to point out that my work takes place in a context in which people
ask different kinds of questions of the past than the first generation of historians of
Buganda. In the 1950s the semi-autonomous Buganda kingdom ran smoothly, managed
from the imposing Lukiko (parliament) building by clerks with typewriters, and the Lukiko
itself deliberated in a room with Westminster-like benches. Writing as the colonial era
drew to a close, historians saw in the Buganda past a progressive centralization and
bureaucratization which had allowed the kingdom to advance. Whether they intended to
or not, their story of Buganda offered the suggestion that African nations might become

10
more modem through the imposition of strong central control. In contrast, this history of
Buganda is written against a backdrop of decades of civil unrest and anxiety about African
governance. It may not be a coincidence (although it was not my intention) that my story
of Buganda describes institutions that once created civil order but have been irretrievably
lost.

CHAPTER TWO
BANANA GARDENS AND THE PURPOSES OF PRODUCTION
Ganda banana gardens were shady and cool, they produced lots of food, and the
spirits of ancestors hovered in the play of light and shadow among the trees. In the
nineteenth century, and for several hundred years before that, dark green banana gardens
covered the middle heights of the hills and ridges in the region north of the great East
African inland sea, the Nyanza. In these gardens, married women grew the food that fed
their families, and in household compounds their husbands made the beer and barkcloth
the family owed to a chief for the use of the land. In particular banana gardens, people
gathered at the graves of lineage ancestors for ceremonies marking birth, growth, death,
and inheritance. The gardens also supported the people who moved along the wide,
straight roads from compounds of chiefs to the center of the kingdom, offering tribute and
labor to the king and to the other powerful figures whose authority contributed to the rule
of the land.
For more than a thousand years before the Buganda kingdom emerged, people
living around the Nyanza had sustained themselves through a mixed agricultural system of
cultivating grains and yams, herding cattle, and fishing. Then, during the period from 900
and 1200 AD, environmental stresses caused people to experiment with alternatives to
11

12
mixed agriculture, and intensive banana cultivation was one result.1 The Luganda language
broke off from its parent language North Nyanza at some time between 1200 and 1500,
which is about the same time period that Ganda epic traditions are assumed to originate.
According to Ganda origin myths, Kintu the first man and Nambi the first woman arrived
in the land that would become Buganda with the first shoot of a banana tree.
How the people who grew bananas so successfully around the northern rim of the
Nyanza created the kingdom of Buganda is a contentious question. In order to discern the
early history of the kingdom one must interpret Ganda epic tradition, clan histories, and
the placement of clan butaka (burial grounds of important people) on a foundation of
awareness of the significance of banana cultivation. Banana cultivation made land more
valuable than it had ever been in the past, and the historical linguistic record shows that
new social institutions developed as bananas became central to people’s subsistence
strategies. Historians have come to various conclusions using this evidence. Perhaps
Kintu, an immigrant, was the first king. Perhaps there had been five kings before Kintu, all
members of Ganda clans. Perhaps Kimera, third in the dynastic list derived from epic
tradition, was a Nyoro prince who founded a sub-Bito dynasty; perhaps he was a leader
bringing his own followers from the western region.2
‘David Lee Schoenbrun, A Green Place. A Good Place: A Social History of the Great
Lakes Region. Earliest Times to the 15th Century. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 1997,
manuscript 295,290, 320. Note that references refer to page numbers in the manuscript,
not in the published book.
2 M.S.M. Semakula Kiwanuka, A History of Buganda from the Foundation of the
Kingdom to 1900. New York: Africana, 1972, 32, 39-41; Benjamin Ray, Myth. Ritual,
and Kingship in Buganda. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991, 101; Christopher C.
Wrigley, Kingship and state: The Buganda dynasty. Cambridge: University Press, 1996.

13
However the kingdom originated, over the centuries people in Buganda found
ways to organize their lives and relationships with each other that ensured prosperity and
cohesion for the kingdom. In this chapter, I argue that two social forms shaped the
developing institutions of the kingdom. These were kusenga. the attachment of followers
to chiefs who gave them land, and the organization of production for remembering
important aspects of the past. Using Ganda epic tradition and information on relationships
among various parts of the polity in the mid- to late nineteenth century, I suggest that
Baganda used kusenga and the pattern of remembering to create many overlapping forms
of authority. As a result, the Buganda kingdom was characterized by both central order
and diffuse authority. After describing production in the Ganda household, the nature of
kusenga. and patterns of using productive relationships to remember important things, I
show how the structures of the Ganda kingdom described in epic tradition combined these
forms. In the eighteenth century kabakas began to appoint another kind of chief, the
ekitongole; this development of Ganda social forms allowed kabakas to control and
manage innovation.
In contrast to the predominant understanding among historians of Buganda as a
despotic, highly centralized kingdom, I see the polity as one that had many nodes of power
and authority. My conclusions are different because I have chosen to make different
interpretations of three important sources of information. First, I have not assumed that
nineteenth century travellers’ and missionaries’ accounts describe long-standing
characteristics of the kingdom; those early visitors observed Buganda at a time of violent
crisis. It is possible to construct a sense of Ganda social institutions before these

14
upheavals, which were caused by caravan trading, through a careful use of other sources.
Second, I have not accepted at face value one of the pivotal documents used by historians
of Buganda in understanding the development of the kingdom.3 In the huge controversy
over the morality of mailo land in the 1920s, which is the subject of Chapters Six and
Seven below, Apolo Kaggwa justified his action in taking vast amounts of clan land by
arguing that Ganda kings had been taking land away from clans for generations, and
therefore his land-grab had merely followed long-established traditions. The group who
brought the case against mailo claimed that power relationships in the past had been more
fluid and subject to negotiation, and I have attempted to balance Kaggwa’s statements
about the development of the kingdom with those of his opponents. The third reason that
my interpretation of power in Buganda departs from the predominant one is that I have
tried to follow the record of exchange-to understand social relationships in Buganda
based on how tribute flowed from followers to their superiors. Since some of the
recipients of tribute were people whom foreign visitors would probably not have seen as
powerful, their role was underemphasized in the descriptions of Buganda provided by
missionaries and early colonial officers.
While my information about kusenga. tribute, chiefship, and other forms of
authority comes largely from nineteenth and twentieth century sources, some evidence
from earlier times confirms my suggestions about Ganda society before the late nineteenth
century upheaval. Stories narrated in the Ganda epic tradition impart information about
3I show in Chapter 7 that a memorandum prepared by Apolo Kaggwa for the Butaka
Land Commission regarding the relationship of kabakas and clans has been has been
adopted uncritically by successive generations of historians of Buganda.

15
patterns of social interaction in Buganda several hundred years ago. Detailed drawings of
the placement of compounds in the capitals of Kabaka Suna (who reigned from 1824 to
1857) and Mutesa (who reigned from 1857 to 1884) provide social maps relevant for an
earlier time. David Schoenbrun’s study of interlacustrine society until 1500 demonstrates
the antiquity and historical antecedents of social institutions and relationships I describe.4
Households and Banana Gardens
We can see from more recent descriptions something of the historically-rooted
style of marriage and household production in the region. Ganda society was built on
households in which women produced food and children and men produced manufactured
goods and maintained formal networks of social connections. Near the cool, shaded quiet
of each banana garden was the home of the family it supported. A man received a kibanja
(a plot of land) from a chief when he wanted to marry, and once the land had been cleared
and the banana shoots established, cultivating the growing trees was the responsibility of
his wife. In Luganda the verb still used when a man marries is okuwasa. which literally
means, "to cause (someone) to peel bananas." The verb used for a woman’s marriage is
passive, okufumbirwa. and it means "to become the cook (for someone)."5 Women in
Ganda households were responsible for growing bananas and other crops, and for
cooking; finding a wife could also be called "finding a hoe."6 A man brought gifts of
4Schoenbrun, Green Place.
5 Lucy Mair, Native Marriage in Buganda. IAI Memorandum 19, 1940, 13.
6John Roscoe, The Baeanda; An Account of their Native Customs and Beliefs. 2nd.
ed., New York: Barnes and Noble, 1966 (first ed. 1911), 92; Mair, An African People. 87-
88.

16
barkcloth, beer, and food to his new wife’s family to compensate them for the value of the
labor that he was taking away. If thereafter a woman objected to the treatment she
received from her husband, she returned to the home of her brother. From his home, the
possibility of improving the marriage would be negotiated; if that proved impossible, the
woman’s brother would return the bridewealth to her former husband, and she would stay
with her brother. Women who had been given away to chiefs, or captured during raids on
Buganda’s neighbors, and for whom no bridewealth had been paid, were "wives of the
tired hoe," who could not be divorced because there was no bridewealth to return.
Husbands expected wives to produce children as well as food. Women who had
been unable to have children were sometimes sent away by their husbands, and a woman
might live apart from her husband after her children grew to adulthood.7 Baganda
approved of widows who "remembered" their deceased husbands by continuing to live in
the same place, cultivating the same gardens.8
Baganda families lived in large circular homes made of neatly trimmed elephant
grass, with the roof sloping to the ground. In the same courtyard, there were smaller
structures for cooking, for young men to sleep in, and for adult men to gather and talk.
Nineteenth century travellers were struck by the sturdy construction and meticulous
neatness of Ganda homes, which, at that time, were built in one or two days by
7Jan Bender Shetler observed households of independent barren women in Northern
Tanzania, personal communication.
8Cf. Buganda Law Reports, Civil Case No 38/46, p.41-44, which excoriates families
that disturb widows.

17
neighborhood work parties.9 Bark cloth partitions divided a home into separate rooms.
The homes in a neighborhood, separated by each family’s gardens, stretched along the
fertile middle ground of the hills characteristic of Buganda—swampy land at the bottom of
the hill was uncultivated. A family’s compound was distinguished from that of its
neighbors by mpanvi. a border-marking bush that was planted by children during the
ceremony in which the family was "shown" the land it was receiving. The street
connecting houses in a mitala neighborhood/ridge led to the compound of the chief, the
figure of authority who had granted land for cultivation to each of the families in his area,
who listened to disputes, and who marshalled the people in his (or her) area for tribute or
service to the king.
The Logic of Kusenga: Attaching to a Chief
Kusenga. the act of attaching oneself to a chief, was one of the fundamental forms
of social cohesion in Buganda. The particular meaning the word kusenga has in Luganda—
indicating an exchange of service, allegiance, and tribute in return for a kibanja (plot of
land) and protection—is older than Luganda itself. According to Schoenbrun, the word
emerged between 800 and 1000 A.D. in West Nyanza, the ancestral speech community
that eventually split into Rutara, (the parent of Lunyoro, Runyankore, Ekihaya, and
others) and North Nyanza (the parent of Luganda, Lusoga, Lugwere, and Orusyan). As
Schoenbrun explains, "To ask for land, in West Nyanza societies, at the end of the first
millennium A.D., was also to enter into a net of social obligations."10 The mutual
9Mair, 123.
10Schoenbrun, MS, 328.

18
expectations inherent in the kusenga relationship structured the productive activities of
Ganda men and women and their aspirations for well-being and prosperity.
Allocation of a kibapja was the critical first element in the kusenga relationship. An
oral tradition of the great loyalty of Nkalubo to Kabaka Ndawula, whose reign began
sometime around 1700, describes this process. Nkalubo and another person emigrated
from Sesse to the mainland, and became the men of a chief named Nawandugu. Nkalubo
then decided to leave that chief, and went to serve the kabaka. He was given one plot, but
then, because of the respect he showed, he was given a better plot, closer to the king's
palace.11 As a result of his actions on behalf of the kabaka, a chieftainship was created for
him, and successors to that chiefship assumed his name as their title of office. The sign of
chiefship was control over land that one could allocate to people who would be followers.
In the pattern we know from the nineteenth century, a person might attain this status by
succeeding to the leadership of a branch of a clan, by appointment to a senior chiefship by
the kabaka, or by appointment to a sub-chiefship by a senior chief. Chiefs attracted
followers using their ability to allocate land. The Ganda likened chiefship to the light of
torches that burned at night. Baganda chiefs were said to initially dismiss paraffin lamps,
saying :"what will become of our torches? How will a chief be able to hang onto a torch?
11 "There were two brothers who went to live under Nawandugu at Lubu, having
immigrated from Sese. Their names were Nkalubo and Miingo. Nkalubo decided to leave
Nawandugu and to become the Kabaka’s man being presented before the throne by
Sewankambo, and receiving plot of land near the palace from the Kabaka then reigning—
Ndawula. From day to day Nkalubo paid a visit of respect to the Kabaka and soon he
gained favour, the outward sign of which was a new plot nearer to the palace where
Sebugwawo now resides.” Basekabaka, ms. version at Makerere, p. 73.

19
Surely it is the lamp-torch which is adhering to the chief?"12 Chiefs, like torches at night,
collected people around them.
After attaining a chiefship, a person might be demoted, but would never be left
with no followers.13 Part of the tremendous emotion attached to the creation of mailo land
in 1900 came from the fact that chiefs lost their land, and had to become followers instead
if chiefs. One person testified, "I had been a mutaka (a chief by virtue of clan leadership)
but I settled down and became his man and cut reeds for him."14 Another clan elder
described how in 1900 he had been "turned out" of the historically important clan land that
he had controlled, and had gone to the Lukiko (the assembly of Ganda chiefs, like a
parliament) three times for the return of his land but failed to get it. He explained, "so I
packed up my belongings and went and settled on the kabaka’s land in Kikulu and became
a mere peasant."15
12 Apolo Kaggwa, Ekitabo kya Kika kya Nsenene. Mengo: AK Press, n.d., Manuscript
translation of Professor John Rowe, 17.
13In the early 20th century, Ganda chiefs tried to explain to British Protectorate
officials that retiring a chief to the status of ordinary citizen was really unthinkable. A long
correspondence about whether the man who had been an important chief, the Pokino,
from the 1890s until 1924 ought to be required to pay tax demonstrates how seriously the
Baganda considered this problem, and the failure of the colonial administrators of the
1920s to fathom Ganda political structures. Jarvis, the Governor’s secretary, refused to
acknowledge that having to pay tax would humiliate the once-great man, "The ex Pokino
should be well able to pay the small sum demanded as Poll Tax. Personally I should like to
see all exemptions abolished. When a European official retires he is still called upon to pay
all his taxes!." ESA, A46/1315, SMP No. 4345.
14Commission, 425.
15Commission, 458, Pasikale Bambaga.

20
Although on the surface kusenga may appear similar to feudal relationships in
medieval Europe, its workings were very different. The relative abundance of land in
relation to people shaped the character of the relationship. The Luganda vocabulary
regarding kusenga indicates that people chose to form these relationships, and could also
undo them. A follower could kusenga. "join a new master, settle, immigrate," and he could
also kusenguka. "leave a master/chief, move away from." A chief could kusenza. "receive
(newcomers into an area)," or he could kusengusa. "cause people to move away." Since a
chiefs standing was dependent on having lots of followers, the terms of kusenga favored
the followers. Ganda proverbs speak of followers as people who had choices. "Musenze
alanda"—"The follower often changes his master" and "Busenze muguma: bwe
bukonnontera n’osongola"—"Service is like the digging stick: when it has become blunt,
you point it again."16 In the late nineteenth century, people left their chief if another chief
seemed to present better opportunities; even a page in the kabaka’s court could report that
he had left his position in the palace because "they ruled him badly."17
Baganda described kusenga as beneficial in explanations to early twentieth century
ethnographers; clan histories and the recorded epic tradition suggest people perceived
balance and mutual benefit in the relationship in earlier periods.18 The forms of exchange
16 Ferdinand Walser, Luganda Proverbs. (Kampala: Mill Hill Missionaries, 1984)
proverbs numbered 2938, 1034.
17Lubwuma interview, 6/4/1995; Commission, 540, Danieri Serugabi; Kaggwa,
Nsenene. 14.
18 The sense that the relationship between leaders and followers was mutually beneficial
has great antiquity: cf. Schoenbrun, ms. 186.

21
marking kusenga expressed the reciprocity people expected to experience in the
relationship.19 A chiefs men built elaborate reed fences that encircled his compound as
part of their service to him; a chief protected his men from other powerful people who
might claim their labor or service. The chiefs representative planted a barkcloth tree as
part of the ceremony of "showing the land" in which the follower received his plot of land;
the follower then gave back to his chief graceful, dark red cloths made of bark from that
tree pounded and stretched in several days’careful labor. Followers took their chief part of
every brew of beer they made, and chiefs offered beer to people who came to their
compound.20
People spoke and wrote about kusenga as an on-going exchange of gifts. Chiefs
needed loyal service, and followers who served loyally needed to be rewarded. It is
interesting to note that the Ganda epic tradition recalls a chief of Kabaka Tebendeke (the
eighteenth Kabaka, who probably ruled just before 1700) who lost his position as keeper
of the royal tombs and was killed because he asked too often for gifts, instead of waiting
to receive them.21 Chiefs showed their gratitude to people who served them well with gifts
of barkcloth, women, and cattle.22 Apolo Kaggwa, who held the highest chiefly office,
19Schoenbrun notes that kibanja means both debt and banana plantation, thus revealing
"with stark efficiency the elision of inequality with access to land." 312, ms.
20Mackay, 197; Roscoe, "Enquiry."
21 Apolo Kaggwa, Basekabaka be Buganda. Typescript of English translation by Simon
Musoke. Africana Collection, Makerere University Library, 58.
22A.M. Mackay, Pioneer Missionary of the Church Missionary Society in Uganda, by
his sister, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1891, 208-9.

22
Katikiro (Prime Minister) for forty critical years at the turn of the century, defined the
logic of kusenga in his description of the actions of Christian refugees during the wars of
1889. According to Kaggwa, "Kabaka Ntale (king of Ankole) liked us, he gave us many
estates and five tusks and about thirty or forty head of cattle." To show their appreciation
(and also to further their war aims), the refugees raided Ganda cattle for the Nkole king.
They then built Ganda bridges for him over the Luzi river. As a result "we became more
loved by Kabaka Ntale who gave us more cattle."23 In the early twentieth century, people
told Lucy Mair that they expected to receive "meat, beer, and politeness" from their chief;
and records from the first decades of the century describe a chief giving a favored follower
bridewealth contributions and barkcloth on important occasions.24
The highest reward a follower could receive was appointment to a subordinate
chiefship. Ganda epic tradition describes chiefships that were created as rewards to loyal
followers, and the practice did not end with the attempt by British colonial officers to
rationalize chiefship.25 In 1924, the Omuwanika Stanislaus Mugwanya, who had been one
of the Regents who received a large amount of land in 1900, made a point of emphasizing
his relationship with a person who was testifying against him in the case against mailo.
Mugwanya identified the witness as one of his followers, and remarked "You have
23Apollo Kaggwa, Basekabaka bva Buganda, Ms. in Africana Collection, Makerere
University Library, 110/149 (doubl* pagination).
24Mair, 183; Africana Collection, Makerere University Library, Kaggwa Papers, AR
KA 43/52, Sitefano Serwange to Apolo Kaggwa, August 1913.
25Kaggwa, Basekabaka ms. version, 74.

23
cultivated a very nice garden at Buganga for which I thanked you and made you a chief in
consequence."26
The logic of kusenga. and the bonds it created between Baganda of different
statuses, can be glimpsed in a story of the failure of foreigners to understand how they
were to behave as part of this system of reciprocal exchange. Sometime in the 1890s, a
nine-year-old Ganda boy (who is not named) joined the household of the Protestant
missionary C.W. Hattersley. He stayed there working for Hattersley for nine years. When
he wanted to marry, he asked the man he had served for assistance in acquiring a plot of
land. Hattersley told the young man to ask his father for help, but the young man said (as
Hattersley remembered the conversation), "When I came to join your establishment I gave
myself entirely to you. Since that time you are my father; I have no other. Were I to apply
to my father, he would only refer me to you." Hattersley, however, did not think of
himself as obliged to the young man. He had employed him for nine years, and now he was
employing other boys, "and with my short pocket I cannot be always helping boys who
have left me." He also explained to the young man that if he helped him with the plot of
land, the young man would also want help with the dowry, then with wedding clothes,
then with the wedding feast. He told the young man "It is very difficult to understand
where such requests are going to end." Trying to get Hattersley to recognize his role, the
young man explained
Sir, you altogether fail to understand the customs of the Baganda. Do you
not know that the more requests we make the more we show our love for
26Commission, 424, Stanislaus Mugwanya.

24
you. Were it not that I greatly love you, I would never ask you for a single
thing. We never ask anybody we dislike to give us a thing.
The missionary replied, "Perhaps in this particular case less love and fewer requests might
suit my pocket better." The young man responded
Sir, it distresses me much to hear you talk thus. I came to you because you
are my father. You have been in Uganda many years, and I thought you
knew our customs thoroughly. I hope you will never make such a remark
to those who know you less than I do. At present they look upon you as a
great friend.27
However disappointed the young man might have been in his patron’s lack of
understanding, he did not give up on the missionary. Several months later, when
Hattersley said he hoped the young man would serve as a housemaster at the Mengo High
School, his former servant replied, "I have already told you that I am yours; that you are
my father and I belong to you. If you say I am to come back and be a master in the High
School, it is for you to command and for me to obey."28 The missionary, along with many
other foreigners in Buganda, failed to understand that receiving the service someone
offered created a relationship that did not begin and end with the payment of wages.
Production as the Enactment of Meaning
Attaching to a chief through kusenga gave people a material place-a banana
plantation to farm, a source of support, and a channel for their ambitions. Another
fundamental process connected people to essential metaphysical realities—the act of
remembering. In the long history of Buganda, people invested their productive energies in
27C.W. Hattersley, The Baganda at Home. London: Frank Cass and Co, 1968 (first ed.
1908), p„ 189-90.
28Hattersley, 190.

25
ways that enabled them to maintain the memory of meaningful people and events. The
growing of food, manufacture of goods, and raising of children took place in
configurations dedicated to, and named by, things that were important to remember. These
acts of remembering had to do with the present and the future: they organized and defined
relationships between people, and brought into peoples’ lives the protection and assistance
of able spiritual resources. One kind of remembering was the connection people
maintained with their immediate and distant ancestors in lineage networks and clans.
Another kind involved the continuation through generations of exchanges that had once
taken place; these reenacted exchanges shaped Buganda as a cohesive entity.
Remembering the Lives of Ancestors
Paths in Buganda took families from their own homes to those of their neighbors,
to the compounds of their chief, and also further, to the home of the mutaka (head of a
line of descent from a remembered ancestor). In the banana garden of the person who had
succeeded to the position of mutaka. relatives gathered to observe ceremonies marking
birth, growth, death, and succession. These ceremonies took place in the nineteenth
century, and people explained to early twentieth century ethnographers that remembering
ancestors was critical to the well-being of Ganda families. Schoenbrun explains that in the
society that preceded the kingdom of Buganda and its neighbors in the region, the gift of
life (mwovo) and the physical force of life (bugalaf were "joined together in the living,"
and when the body died, "what had been the life force of the living body, mwoyo, became
the life-force of the disembodied spirit, muzimu." A muzimu was a real entity, but it
"could only be present in fhis’ world (the land of the living) through acts of memory by its

26
descendants."29 Baganda remembered their ancestors in the banana gardens that contained
the graves of generations of forbearers and asked their ancestors for protection. Before
the arrival of Western religions, bazimu (spirits of ancestors) intervened in the lives of
their descendants to assist and guide them, as well as to punish them.30
The power of distinguished ancestors over the living can be seen in the actions the
kabaka had to take to free himself of the influence of the dead in an area that he chose as
his capital. Whenever a kabaka moved his capital from one location to another all of the
graves in the location of the new capital had to be removed. (The habit of moving the
capital appears in Ganda epic tradition in the time Kabaka Mutebi, who probably reigned
in the mid 17th century, and the statement that bones were always removed from the site
of a capital appears in the epic tradition in a story about Kabaka Suna, who ruled in the
first half of the nineteenth century).31 Since kabakas had sovereignty over all the land, it
seems likely that graves had to be removed in order to eliminate the power over the
kabaka’s actions that the people buried there would otherwise wield.
29Schoenbrun, ms., 358-9.
30In the 1920s Mair was told that people paid attention to the spirits of ancestors to
avoid their potentially malicious interference, but Gorju, writing about Ganda religion as
people remembered it from the 19th century, described the impact of ancestors’ spirits as
beneficial. Mair, 225; Julien Gorju, Entre le Victoria. L’Albert et LEdouard. (Rennes:
Oberthur, 1920), 220, ff, Schoenbrun, ms, 356-7. Schoenbrun notes that according to
Welbourn, in Luganda the word zimu implied a long departed ancestor, and misamhwa
had the meaning of recently departed relatives. Schoenbrun, 364, citing Welbourn, "Some
Aspects of Kiganda Religion." Uganda Journal 26/2(1962): 171-82.
31Apollo Kaggwa, Basekabaka bya Buganda, ms. translation in Africana Collection,
Makerere University Library, 88/5; Kiwanuka, Kings. 44, 117.

27
Baganda conceptualized descent from specific remembered ancestors as a tree
branching out into branches and limbs. The kika (clan) divided into secondary units called
ssiga (branches) and smaller ones called mituba (twigs). A clan consisted of large numbers
of people who thought of themselves as children of the same original forefathers, never
married each other, and identified with each other by sharing names and a totem.32 The
clustering of clan burial grounds suggests that several hundred years ago, members of each
clan lived primarily in one particular area of the country.33 As more people moved into
Buganda and royal institutions developed, the connection between clan membership and
access to land became less direct. In the nineteenth century, and probably in the
eighteenth, people maintained clan and lineage connections with relatives who did not live
near them, and a mutaka had followers on clan land who were not members of the clan.34
After clans had dispersed so that their members lived all over the country, people
relied on hospitality from fellow clan members—immediately identifiable by their clan
names—wherever they travelled.35 People observed important occasions with members of
ssiga or mituba. and leaders of these units controlled succession. The clan as a whole
provided labor to maintain the shrines of Ganda royalty who came from their clan, and
32Schoenbrun suggests that the kika (clan) was probably the means through which
people obtained access to the best banana growing lands as the practice of intensive
banana cultivation emerged between 900 and 1100 AD., ms., 305.
33Kiwanuka, 94.
34Z. Kisingiri, "Enquiry into Native Land Tenure in the Uganda Protectorate," Uganda
(Kingdom); Bodleian Library, Oxford; Shelftnark MS Africa s 17.
35Ndawula interview.

28
performed particular tasks for the kabaka. In Ganda epic tradition whole clans were
responsible for the transgressions of one of their members, and evidence from the late
nineteenth century suggests that persons who incurred debts or fines could approach clan
leaders for help.36
The most important location for remembering ancestors was the butaka, a banana
garden that contained graves of important members of the clan or lineage network. One
witness before the 1924 Commission defined butaka as "the place of birth of anyone where
his ancestors and forefathers have lived and were buried. And every chief whether
Mukwenda, Sekibobo, or even the Katikiro himself when he dies he is buried on his
butaka land."37 Banana gardens that contained important graves were controlled by the
people whose ancestors were buried there, and not by chiefs who had authority over
contiguous land. Before the twentieth century, only distinguished members of a lineage
were buried in a butaka; the graves of ordinary people were not visited or honored.38 The
mutaka Zedi Zirimenya Buga explained, for example, that his clan had always had a butaka
at Mangira: "We were on that land when Kabaka Kintu [the first kabaka] came, and he
found us there." In all the generations "from time immemorial" until 1924, however, only
sixteen graves had been made on the land. Other butaka had graves "that cannot be
numbered," but even those must have been the graves of important people, not all the
36Kaggwa, Basekabaka 69; Kiwanuka, Kings. 67; Lukiko Record, 13, 29/5/1905.
37Commission, Aligizanda Mude, 333.
38Mackay, 196; Lubwuma interview; Commission, 540, Danieri Serugabi.

29
members of the clan.39 People who had been powerful during their lives belonged in the
butaka after their death, where they would be remembered and invoked to continue to
assist their relatives.
New butaka were sometimes created by the kabaka to commemorate the lives of
very important people. People who had been chiefs in the nineteenth century described the
process in 1904. They said that people who had gathered around a distinguished leader in
his lifetime continued to live in the vicinity of his grave, and more people might choose to
come to live there and remember him after his death. After three generations of
descendants were buried in the place of the grave of a "man of importance," the area
containing the graves—and the surrounding gardens occupied by people engaged in
remembering the buried ancestor—became butaka. This meant that the ability of chiefs to
require labor or service was diminished, just as it was on the ancient butaka that had been
incorporated in the kingdom as it developed.40 Since people might choose to live near the
grave of a particularly powerful leader who had been a member of their lineage, the
39Commission, 438, Zedi Zirimenya; 443, Semei Sebagala Kyadondo.
40 Testimony of Apollo Kaggwa and Ham Mukasa, "Enquiry into Native Land Tenure."
It is important to note that this document has been widely misinterpreted as meaning that
butaka was created by the burial of three generations of one lineage in the same place.
Both Kaggwa and Mukasa stated that the process was unusual and only happened in the
case of an important chief. Roscoe, perhaps in eagerness to see an equivalent of private
property in pre-colonial Buganda, wrote about the process as a general one, Roscoe, 134.
Morris Carter, attempting to define Ganda land tenure for the Uganda Protectorate High
Court, made the same inference from the "Enquiry" testimony, "The Clan System, Land
Tenure and Succession among the Baganda," Uganda Protectorate Law Reports. 1(1904-
10):99-120. Roscoe and Carter’s interpretation has been taken as authoritative by other
scholars.

30
kabaka and others with authority over land were especially careful about where such
people were buried. If the kabaka, or a clan, did not want to surrender control of a
particular area of land where an important personage had been buried, the successor to the
important person would not be allowed to be buried in the same location.
Exactly this kind of conflict over the potential creation of a butaka took place in
the early nineteenth century at Senge. The details of this conflict, which emerged in
disputes over the allocation of mailo land, provide an important insight into social
relationships and the process of creating butaka before the transformations that took place
at the turn of the century. Kidza had been the Kimbugwe, one of the most important chiefs
of Kabaka Suna. When the Kimbugwe Kidza died ("before the arrival of Mr. Speke the
first European,") he had been buried on a plot of land that had been given to him by the
head of the Mbogo clan merely for growing food. Since he was an important chief, the
Mbogo clan elders feared that his relatives would begin to gather to live around his grave,
successive burials would turn it into a butaka, and the land would be lost to the Mbogo
clan. They negotiated with the Kimbugwe’s clan to ensure that the important man’s grave
would not remain on their land permanently. They "were very anxious to have the body of
Kidza, a member of the Nsenene clan, removed from our butaka land, but the members of
the Nsenene clan begged us to allow them to keep it there until it was quite dry when they
would disinter it and take it to their butaka land."41 Baganda made significant efforts to
bury important members of their lineage and clan in the appropriate butaka, where their
memory would be best preserved and their enduring influence experienced by the group.
4'Commission, 371-2, Luisi Majwega.

31
This involved travelling to take the body of an important person to the appropriate
location for burial if he (or she) had died in another place, and also exhumation of the
bodies of significant members of the lineage who had not been buried in the butaka.42 Men
who had been leaders in the late nineteenth century described this kind of disinterment as
normal; witnesses before the Butaka Commission in 1922 described both reburials and the
tragedy of important men who had been buried in inappropriate places.43 It seems
reasonable to surmise that people had given the same careful attention to the burial of
important people in the eighteenth century.
Remembering Constitutional Events
The strategic assemblage in a butaka of powerful people’s graves had significance
beyond the prayers and hopes of their descendants. As the institution of kingship
developed, people found ways to incorporate the pre-existing centers of power and
authority, manifested in butaka, into the emerging entity of Buganda. The butaka
themselves, and the pattern of finding purpose and order in remembering, were extended
and adapted to create the structures of Buganda as a nation. One aspect of this integration
was pinpointing, and holding in memory, moments when the clan had demonstrated its
support for an early kabaka, or a kabaka from the distant past had visited the butaka. The
people who lived in an area reenacted in successive generations the actions that linked
them with the center of the kingdom. Gorju observed, in 1920, that a detailed
42 Africana Collection, Makerere University, Apollo Kaggwa papers, AR KA 1, CA 22
"Mugwanya to Apolo and Kisingiri, Rubaga 24 Jan, 1906; Commission, 357-8, 448.
43Commission, 357-8, 361, 425, 448.

32
reconstruction of the entire history of Buganda could be made from piecing together clan
traditions of their own contributions to the kingdom.44
The Ganda monarchy evolved through the interaction of pre-existing and
immigrant clan structures.45 This can be glimpsed at in the testimony in 1924 concerning
the loss of butaka by the Nvuma clan. Kyadondo was an ancient butaka of the Nvuma
clan; as their mutaka explained, "Kabaka Kintu found us there." Before the kingship came
to exist (probably in the 14th or 15th century), the Nvuma clan had had a corporate
existence and identified Kyadondo as their center. Kyadondo was the name of the butaka,
the name of the large area that became a saza (province) of the Ganda kingdom, and the
name of the mutaka himself. Kyadondo was a kasolva (principal) butaka, which meant
that it had the quality of a charter: it was the place where the clan began and which
everyone in the clan, no matter where they were bom, called their birthplace. As one
witness explained, butaka were "the origin or beginning of the baganda...the place which is
hereditary during the reigns of all the Basekabaka of Buganda, and it is the place where
the ancestors or forefathers of each clan are buried."46 Together, the kasolva butaka of all
the clans were a kind of unwritten constitution for the kingdom, they were its first source.
^Gorju, 85.
45This process is considered by Julien Gorju, Entre le Victoria. L’Albert et LEdouard.
Rennes: Oberthur, 1920, 133-4; Lloyd Fallers, "Social Stratification in Traditional
Buganda," in Lloyd Fallers, ed., The King’s Men. New York: Oxford University Press,
1964:64-113, 76-81; Kiwanuka, 115; D. Anthony Low, Buganda in Modern History. Los
Angeles: University of California Press, 1971, 15; Wrigley, Kingship and state. 64-5; Ray,
94-6. Schoenbrun’s historical linguistic examination of the question provides the greatest
time-depth supported by evidence, ms. 347-350, 369, summarized on 396.
“^Commission, 342, Malaki Musajakawa.

33
The people who lived in subsidiary Nvuma clan butaka in Kyadondo remembered
not only their ancestors buried in the butaka but also stories that linked their clan with the
order of the kingdom. The clan members continued to work for kabakas to commemorate
the way one of their ancestors had begun to serve a kabaka in the past. The Siga butaka
called Sekagya at Bumbu, for example, was remembered because Sekagya, who had been
the katikiro to Kabaka Nakibinge (the 8th kabaka, who probably ruled around 1500), took
care of Nakibinge’s wife, Nanono, at that place. All the generations of successors to both
Sekagya and Nanono were buried there.47 A clan elder explained that another butaka,
called Buwambo "had been given to us by Kabaka Nakibinge, who planted a tree there for
us to tie on his cow which we look after there and which is called Nakawombe." For the
hundreds of years since that event, according to the Nvuma clan, its members had
continued to look after the kabaka’s cows in that place, and "the present Kabaka Daudi
Chwa came to this place and saw this very tree and he also gave us his own cow to look
after." One of the mituba butaka of the clan, Jita, "was very important for it was in this
estate that the kabaka’s beer was brewed, and where the kabaka’s big calabash called
Mendanvuma was kept."48 Other clans framed their relationship with the kabaka in similar
ways. The Ngabi clan, for example, had a butaka called Kipapi, where the king’s buffalo
were looked after.49
47Commission, 446-7, Semei Sebagala Kyadondo.
48They said, "this estate had never been cut off before." Ibid, 442.
49Commission, 475b, Danieri Sendikadiwa.

34
Baganda spoke about the tasks or the remembered actions of their clan with a
strong sense of identity and purposefulness. When a mutaka claimed in front of the Bataka
Land Commission, "we have always been fishermen for the Namasole (Queen Mother)
from time immemorial," he asserted the importance for the people of their work not as a
means of livelihood, but as a way of defining who they were and how they fit into the
kingdom.50 Remembered relationships between clan ancestors and ancient kabakas
connected people in Buganda to the central authority of the kingdom in ways that were
meaningful and effective. Whether the remembered events represent co-optation by
increasingly powerful kings, or clans’ strategies of integrating themselves into a useful
rising power, or both, are questions for further historical enquiry.51 For whatever
combination of motivations, over the long duree people in Buganda created a resilient
polity using production dedicated to remembering important people and relationships.52
Following Tribute Up: Overlapping Forms of Power
People in Buganda used the logic of kusenga and the pattern of production
oriented to remembering relationships to create the structures of their kingdom. By
comparing the patterns of exchange visible in the late nineteenth century with the forms of
authority named in Ganda epic tradition, it is possible to reconstruct the order of the
kingdom. In the time of Kabaka Namugala, the 24th kabaka, who probably ruled in the
mid-eighteenth century, a new type of chiefship—ekitongole—appears in the Ganda epic
50Commission, 428, Makobo Kalonde.
51 "Schoenbrun, ms. 333.
52Wrigley, Kingship and state. 228.

35
tradition. Before the beginning of ekitongole chiefship, Buganda was organized in a
complex and effective system of chiefs serving the kabaka, chiefs serving the Namasole
(Queen Mother), chiefs serving extremely powerful chiefs, and partially autonomous clan
elders and religious leaders.
The role of tribute in expressing political relationships may have contributed to
Buganda’s stability over hundreds of years. Followers gave tribute to the particular
leaders whom they served: Ganda structures of power were the connections between large
groups of less powerful people who had obligations to particular powerful people in
control of land. Since political relationships were expressed through the exchange of gifts,
new forms of authority (and new obligations for tribute) could be introduced without
displacing older ones. Had rulers been contesting authority over territory, one would have
won and the others would have lost; but because Ganda rulers were competing for
followers and their tribute, the allegiance of a group of people could be divided among
two or more rulers with nobody losing out entirely.53 The densely complex and
overlapping patterns of tribute obligations that existed in the late nineteenth century
suggest that in the past Ganda rulers divided power—in the form of control over tribute-
givers—among leaders who otherwise might have come into conflict.
Attention to the flow of tribute from households through chiefs to various leaders
of the kingdom suggests that power in Buganda was diffused, not centralized, and the
structures of power were overlapping and complex, not hierarchical in a linear way. The
53Another reason that Ganda chiefs did not fight each other over territory in the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was that they obtained wealth by raiding.

36
resolution of conflict by dividing followers among contenders for power created intense
competition among chiefs to attract followers. Interpretations of Ganda history derived
from royalist sources and from observations made in the nineteenth century have depicted
a centralized state in which kabakas gradually became more dominant over other internal
forces. However, the actual relationships expressed in the exchange of tribute, allegiance,
and protection reveal power diffused throughout the structures of the kingdom.54
According to Ganda epic tradition, Buganda comprised ten divisions called sazas
each ruled by a chief with a specific title at the time Kabaka Namugala established the first
ekitongole chiefship in about 1700. The kingdom had grown through the incorporation of
clan leaders whose territories became sazas of the kingdom under the kabaka and through
the appointment of chiefs to rule newly annexed territories. These gradual changes are
recorded in Ganda epic tradition, which concludes the story of each kabaka by naming the
important chiefs appointed during his reign. The titles for the chiefships of the oldest,
most central sazas are identical to the names of the clan elders of the clans which had
540riginal sources that reinforce this point of view are Kaggwa’s Basekabaka, his
contribution to the "Enquiry’, and the memorandum that became part of the Butaka Land
Commission records which listed every victory of a Kabaka over a clan leader. The point
of view that kabakas attempted to systematically take over the power of other controllers
of territory can be found in Martin Southwold, Bureaucracy and Chiefship in Buganda.
East African Studies No. 14, Kampala, 1961, and D. Anthony Low, Modem History. 30;
and Low, "The Northern Interior, 1840-1884," in History of East Africa. Vol. 1, Roland
Oliver and Gervase Mathew, eds., Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963, 334; Fallers, "Social
Stratification," 97, and Wrigley, Kingship. 65. However, Ray cites an informant who
remembered seeing Kaggwa refuse to record clan traditions which named Kabakas before
Kintu, 101. Relying on oral histories recounted by clan elders, Michael Wright disputed
the view that clans and kabakas had been in conflict or that Buganda had been despotic,
Buganda in the Heroic Age. New York: Oxford University Press, 1971, 2-4, 206; More
locations of power and other non-royalist perspectives were published in Ebifa and Munno
by Gomotoka and others; these are explored by Kiwanuka, 99-100, Ray, 96-13.

37
significant butaka in that area. For example, the Mugema was the head of the Ngeye clan,
and also the chief of Busirro; and the Kitunzi was the head of the Mpologoma clan, and
also the chief of Gomba. The titles for the chiefships of some of the areas which Buganda
had annexed from its neighbors were identical with the names of the newly annexed sazas:
the Kasuju was the chief of Busuju; and the Katambala was the chief of Butambala.
Following the Ganda pattern of marking political relationships with remembered histories,
each saza chief had particular obligations of service to the kabaka, as is illustrated in Table
2.1.55
"All of Buganda" attended gatherings in the courtyard of the kabaka, nineteenth
century visitors were told; the peopie present were chiefs of every saza, and followers who
had come from each saza to work for the kabaka.56 The compound of every saza chief
connected to the courtyard of the kabaka in the capital with a wide, straight road. This
real and mental picture of Buganda as a collection of ten sazas ruled by saza chiefs was
valid, but it was not complete. Each of the saza chiefs nominally allocated land and
received tribute over the part of Buganda that was his saza, but other powerful figures had
claims within their sazas, and several of the saza chiefs also had authority over land in
55 Ham Mukasa, Enquiry; Roscoe, 233.The names and services of some saza chiefs
suggests that these chiefships originated with something like the remembered relationship
of an individual with the king called obwesengeze land tenure by Morris Carter in 1909,
and by A. B. Mukwaya, Land Tenure in Buganda: Present Day Tendencies. East Afficn
Studies no. 1, Kampala: East African Institute of Social Research, 1953, 12-3.
56Maps of the capitals of Kabakas Suna and Mutesa, who reigned through most of the
nineteenth century, and descriptions of the gathering of "all of Buganda" by Mackay and
other nineteenth century observers confirm the order delineated in the epic tradition.

38
Table 2.1
The Chiefs of Buganda’s Ten Sazas and Their Special Functions
Name
Name of Saza
Special Work for Kabaka
Kago
Kyadondo
Built houses for kabaka; cared for his twins
Mukwenda
Singo
Sekibobo
Kyagwe
Supervised people who came to work for kabaka
Collected tribute from Busoga
Kangawo
Bulemezi
Built the house of the kabaka’s most important
wife; took care of her
Mugema
Busiro
Head of Ngeye Clan; built and maintained
shrines of dead kabakas
Pokino
Budu
Collected tribute from Koki and Kiziba
Kitunzi
Gomba
Head of Mpologoma clan; took care of shrines
Kaima
Mawokota
Provided guides when the kabaka went to war
Katambala
Butambala
Head of Ndiga clan; carried the kabaka’s charms
Kasuju
Busuju
Took care of the families of the princes and
princesses; an elder of Ngeye clan.

39
other chiefs’ sazas. For example, the Queen Mother and her subordinates controlled land
in most of the sazas.57 Saza chiefs also lost control of areas that became populated by the
followers of a particular Lubaale (god), when the devotees established farms and
remembered the Lubaale under the direction of a mandwa (medium). According to Apolo
Kaggwa’s explanation in 1906, the people who had had authority over the land on which
the mandwa and his followers settled could not object to their presence, because the
medium would say "You’ll die if you don’t let them stay."58 Parts of every saza were
butaka lands, and these were under the control of clan elders. A small number of powerful
chiefs in the center of the kingdom, including the Katikiro, the Kimbugwe, and the
Sabaganzi (brother of the Namasole) controlled lands in every saza.59
The power to collect tribute, or the inability to do so, demonstrated the extent of a
chiefs authority. A Saza chief mediated between the center of the kingdom and people in
authority below him; all these subtle relationships were enacted in the collection of tribute.
57Gorju, 139-40; Lawrence D. Schiller, "The Royal Women of Buganda." International
Journal of African Historical Studies 23/3(1990):455-473, also Lukiko Record, 239,
29/1/1917 on a conflict over the appointment of a Namasole’s chiefship that was being
abolished; Lukiko Record 169, 30/4/1915, on a Namasole of a deceased Kabaka
complaining about losing control of her land; and Customary Law Reports 1941-1951,
115-118, on a dispute between descendants of the Mugema and a Princess over ownership
of land,
Civil Case No. 262/50.
58Kaggwa, Enquiry. Schoenbrun suggests that kubandwa became associated with
particular places, and their mediums were able to command considerable labor, at some
time before 1000 AD. ms, 207.
59Gorju, 136-7.

For example, people remembered in 1904 that only some of the people giving tribute in
the saza of Kyagwe in the nineteenth century gave it directly to the Sekibobo, the saza
chief of Kyagwe. Others paid directly to his deputy, because they were the followers of
the deputy, not followers of the saza chief. Other people residing in the saza gave tribute
only to the Mutaka of a clan, and in order to obtain tribute destined for the king from
those people, a chain of collectors, representing the king, the saza chief, and his deputy,
would appeal to the Mutaka to collect tribute. Some tribute items, such as barkcloth, had
to go to the kabaka, but the collectors could ask people to supply other goods in order to
have something to keep themselves. When chains of collectors asked for tribute in a
group, each authority figure represented kept a portion of what was collected.60 These
complex and overlapping chains of tribute suggest that new demands had been layered on
top of older demands over a long period of time. Mackay observed in the 1880s that some
forms of tribute were collected by responsible people going from household to household
whenever the king or queen mother chose to collect tax. Other forms of tribute, such as
beer from every brew or the obligation to provide a bark cloth for the burial of a very
important man, were routine and the tribute was brought without a specific request.61
Receiving tribute through chains of authority figures entitled to take a portion of what was
given was a well-established pattern in Buganda: early in the twentieth century, Catholics
“Kaggwa, Enquiry.
61Mackay, 196.

41
and Protestants built their cathedrals and schools by collecting from followers using this
technique.62
Evidence from the nineteenth century indicates that saza chiefs did not exercise
authority over all the people who lived in their sazas; a person could live in the area of one
chief, but be the follower of a different chief. A follower’s allegiance to the chief who was
nominally in control of a region depended on a consensus regarding that chiefs authority
over the specific land the follower occupied. A person might be independent of the saza
chiefs authority because he or she was a follower of the Kabaka directly, of a Lubale
spirit, of the Queen Mother, or of a different chief who controlled some land inside that
particular saza. For example, the blacksmith Erenesti Kakoza claimed that in the 1880s he
had not been a follower of the Kimbugwe, even though he had been "under" (living in the
saza and of lower status than) the Kimbugwe. He demonstrated his autonomy by claiming
that no intermediaries came between the holders of his title and the kabaka: "All the
kabaka’s messengers sent to Kakoza used to come straight from the kabaka to myself, but
did not come through the Kimbugwe; and when the Kabaka used to come to my
workshop to [ask me] to do some blacksmith work he used to come straight to me not
through the Kimbugwe; and he would not have paid such visits to a private tenant..."63
More evidence of multiple forms of authority that co-existed and sometimes
overlapped comes from testimony about control of Bussi Island from about 1880 to 1900.
“Africana Collection, Makerere University, Kabali Papers, AR KA 2/2, Budo Board of
Governors’File, 23/10/1924.
“Commission, 451, Erenesti Kakoza.

42
The island had been given to the Gabunga (the kabaka’s admiral) by Kabaka Mwanga in
1884, but not all the land came under his authority.64 A witness before the Butaka Land
Commission explained, "When Gabunga was given power to rule the islands of Sesse he
found some important bataka who had power over their own land and he did not take
away that power from them. But [he] took possession of all the estates which belonged
then to some less important bataka and converted them into his own private estates."65 A
series of clan elders testified that even though the island had been given to Gabunga, they
had never become his followers. They proved their independence from the saza chief by
describing their actions. Zedi Zirimenya said, "When my father died we were about 150
men who attended the funeral, but we never went to Gabunga first to apply for permission
to bury him."66 Malaki Musajakawa challenged the Katikiro (Prime Minister), "Let Chief
Gabunga point to any one of us [bataka from Bussi] who was his private tenant and who
worked for him."67 Before it was given to Gabunga, Bussi island had been territory
controlled by Guggu, the priest who controlled the shrine of the god Mukasa. Witnesses
discussing the issue of authority on Bussi pointed out that no nineteenth century kabaka
64As we shall see in Chapter Three, Kabaka Mwanga’s own authority was called into
question (and, by some accounts, entirely rejected) during the years for which control over
the island was disputed, and the kabaka’s own dubious position might have contributed to
Bussi leaders rejection of the overrule of the Gabunga. However, the logic of the Bussi
witnesses, who proved their autonomy by referencing their actions in relation to the saza
chief, suggests that autonomous authority within the territory of a saza chief was not
unusual.
“Commission, Yosiya Sajabi Semugala, 385.
“Commission, 359, Zedi Zirimenya.
“Commission, 345, Malaki Musajakawa.

43
had ever tried to call up the canoes controlled by Guggu for service on the lake.68 Kabaka
Mwanga gave Bussi to the chief Gabunga, but large groups of people who lived in his
territory gave their allegiance, tribute, and labor to others and not to Gabunga.
These multiple, overlapping relationships of followers with figures of authority
shaped the political character of Buganda. In carrying out their obligations as leaders,
Ganda chiefs had to pay attention to their peers as well as their superiors. A chief had to
be constantly alert to the possibility that his followers might desert him because they
decided another chief in the same neighborhood treated his men better. Successful chiefs
had to be able to attract and maintain followers in a context of competition from other
chiefs seeking followers. Effective chiefs had to be skilled in resolving disputes in ways
that seemed just to all parties; they had to be able to obtain and redistribute goods in ways
that satisfied their superiors and their followers; they had to develop working relationships
with other rulers so that their control of their people would not be threatened.69 By the
time foreigners arrived in Buganda in the mid-nineteenth century, the coordinating,
balancing characteristics of chiefship had been replaced by a more aggressive style
required by participation in an escalating trade in ivory, slaves and guns; but the Ganda
68Commission, 386, Gabunga. The chief Gabunga claimed that withholding of Guggu’s
canoes from service proved that Guggu had not been a chief, because "they were
considered to belong to the Gabunga personally as his private property," but it seems
reasonable to assume that Guggu’s canoes were not utilized because they were considered
to belong to Mukasa.
69Roscoe, 241; Martin Southwold, "Leadership, Authority, and the Village
Community," The King’s Men. Lloyd Fallers, ed., New York: Oxford University Press,
1964, 211-255, 214.

44
ethic that ruling implied courtesy and cooperation among peers was still intact (see
Chapters 3 and 7).70
Power at the Center of the Kingdom
All the broad, well-maintained roads that crossed hills and bridged swamps in
straight lines from each saza converged in the courtyard of the palace of the Kabaka. In
Buganda, the kibuga (capital) was a physical representation of the kingdom as a whole. It
is possible to perceive the nature of power relationships at the center of the kingdom in the
customs observed in constructing a kibuga. and in maps drawn by Apolo Kaggwa of the
layout of the capital in the time of Kabakas Suna (1825-1852) and Mutesa (1852-1879).71
One half of the huge circular kibuga was the palace of the kabaka, including large houses
for his primary wives, each one built and maintained by a saza chief. Immediately in front
of the palace was a large courtyard where "all of Buganda" gathered to greet the kabaka
and listen to cases. Elaborate fences, built by people brought to work in turns by their
chiefs, enclosed each layer of buildings in the palace. Facing the palace across from its
courtyard were shrines to the gods Mukasa and Nende. The chief of each saza had a
compound at the top of the road connecting the capital to his saza. The central chiefs of
70Richard Waller, "The Traditional Economy of Buganda," Master of Arts Essay,
University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 1971. Wright observed that
"low tension" characterized Ganda political interactions: differences were not pursued to
the point at which conflict would become necessary, 51. This perception stands in contrast
to that of Lloyd Fallers, articulated in "Despotism, Status Culture and Social Mobility in
an African Kingdom," Comparative Studies in Society and History 2(1959):4-32, that the
lack of clearly delineated functions of each of the multiple office holders would have
increased the power of the kabaka, 20.
71 Peter C.W. Gutkind, The Royal Capital of Buganda. The Hague: Mouton, 1963, 9-
18; Kiwanuka, History, facing 160.

45
the kingdom, such as the Katikiro and Kimbugwe (guardian of the kabaka’s metaphysical
well-being), also had large compounds in the kibuga.
Kabakas lived at the center of the kingdom, at the pinnacle of Buganda’s pattern of
exchange. In the 1880s, Baganda told the missionary Mackay that "the axis of the earth
sticks visibly out through the roof of the conical hut of their king."72 In theory, everything
was owed to the kabaka and he had everything to distribute: he "ate" the nation when he
became kabaka. Replicating the kusenga relationship on a kingdom-wide level, the kabaka
allocated land to his chiefs and expected obedience and tribute in return. In the nineteenth
century, kabakas demonstrated the power of the monarchy through rituals devoted to
deceased kings in which large numbers of people were killed.73 As Ganda epic tradition
mentions few cases of large scale killings in earlier times, it seems probable that these
events were part of the kabakas attempt to counteract the collapse of their power induced
by the caravan trade.
Kabakas marked the center of the kingdom but they were not by any means the
sole wielders of power within it. The shrines to Mukasa and Nende in the center of the
kibuga represented the independent voice of spirit mediums that rulers of Buganda were
obliged to accommodate.74 A confrontation between Kabaka Suna. who ruled from 1824
to 1857, and a famous spirit medium, Kigemuzi, arose when Suna ordered people not to
defecate in the capital on pain of death. It may be that Suna made this impossible demand
72Mackay, 214.
73Ray, 177-181.
74 Wrigley, Kingship. 182-7; Schoenbrun, 368, 371-2, 464.

46
as an attempt to reassert control at a time when trade with the coast had begun to erode
the kabaka’s power. According to tradition, Kigemuzi objected to the new law and sent a
message to Suna through the tax collector, "Ask him, where does he defecate?" The
horrified tax collectors took him to the palace, but Kigemuzi refused to be humble. When
the kabaka’s men stuck his lips with sticks to make him be quiet, he said "You also will be
stuck"; when he was burnt with irons he said "You also will be burnt." According to the
remembered tradition, only a few hours passed before Kabaka Suna was struck by
lightening, and his capital burnt down. Kigemuzi, who had been held in stocks, was
released and taken to the kabaka. He told Suna, "Punishing a child does not mean hatred,
you will soon recover," after which the Namasole and Kabaka Suna made sure that
Kigemuzi got everything he might want.75
Two leaders of Buganda wielded such a high degree of power that it was
impossible for them to reside in the same place as the kabaka: the Namasole (Queen
Mother) and the Mugema (saza chief of Busiro). The court of the Namasole was on
another hill, separated from the kibuga’s hill by a stream of running water. The Namasole
was served by a coterie of chiefs in all parts of the kingdom that mirrored the set of chiefs
serving the king.76 Namasoles exercised a kind of superintending power over the actions of
a reigning kabaka through their independent material base in land and people, and through
their influence over their other sons, who were potential rivals for the kabakaship. If a
75Basekabaka, Makerere MS, 128.
76Schoenbrun observes that words for queen mothers and other royal women emerged
in ancient east African speech communities at the same time as words for kings, some time
between 900 and 1200 AD, Green Place ms., 345.

47
kabaka wanted to remain in power, he had to act in a way that pleased the Namasole.77 A
Namasole never entered the kibuga: when she wished to communicate with a kabaka, she
sent messengers.78 The Mugema—who served the deceased kings all of whose shrines were
all in his saza Busiro (literally, the place of shrines)—also resided in a compound that was
separated from the kabaka’s by a stream of running water. As the "Katikiro" of the
deceased kabakas, the Mugema could speak with a voice of authority that challenged the
reigning kabaka. The Mugema was the only chief who stood instead of kneeling in the
presence of the kabaka; he did not eat food prepared by the kabaka’s cooks, and he was
not obligated to provide people to maintain buildings inside the palace.79 Their locations
as well as the ritual prohibitions regarding interaction between the kabaka and both the
Namasole and Mugema expressed the Ganda awareness that these leaders wielded power
that could seriously threaten a reigning kabaka.
Although royal ritual and proverbs emphasized the absolute power of the kabaka,
the patterns of interaction in the kibuga suggest that the Namasole and Mugema were not
the only figures of authority who had the capacity to challenge the kabaka. The
Kimbugwe, the chief who was responsible for the king’s "twin" (a powerful ritual object
that represented the kabaka’s metaphysical well-being), could suggest to a kabaka that
77For example, Kabaka Semakokiro’s success in overthrowing his brother Kabaka Junju
was engineered by the Namasole, angered by Junju’s murder of a pregnant wife.Kiwanuka,
Kings. 92: Kabaka Mutesa told Mackay he felt obliged to comply with the Namasole’s
wishes, Mackay, 162; Wright gives another example, 3.
78 Schiller, 461; Nakanyike B. Musisi, "Women, "Elite Polygyny,’and Buganda State
Formation". Signs; Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 16/4(1991):757-86.
79Roscoe, 253; "Enquiry into Native Land Tenure."

48
specific actions were essential for his well-being, and the kabaka had to comply.80 The
Sabaganzi (uncle of a kabaka) and Kasuju (saza chief in charge of princes) also had
leverage over a kabaka because of their connection with the princes who were his
potential rivals. As Rowe has pointed out, the Katikiro who assisted a prince to come to
power on the death of his father often had considerable influence over a new king.81 The
Kibari was a chiefship that required the holder to voice objections to unacceptable actions
of the kabaka. The Kibari took the king’s place when he was absent, and was the only
person who could try the king. According to Zechariah Kisingiri, one of the most powerful
chiefs of the early colonial period, the Kibari in the past "could find the king was in the
wrong, but he had no authority to punish him."82 Succession to this position followed a
unique procedure: the Empeo clan selected fifteen candidates from the appropriate
lineage, then the kabaka chose four of those, and the final decision of who would succeed
to the position of Kibari was made by "all of Buganda"—the chiefs who gathered to hear
cases in the kabaka’s court.83
The gathering of "all of Buganda" had a larger role in the government of Buganda
than has been recognized by studies that have taken royalist traditions and rituals at their
face value. In these gatherings, and in the "endless amount of omusango (cases) going on,"
various chiefs and coalitions of chiefs constantly worked out their relative positions of
80Roscoe, 235.
81Rowe, xx.
82Kisingiri, Enquiry.
83Ibid.

49
power.84 Decisions that went in favor of one chief or clan at one time were decided in
favor of another party at a later date, when their relative strength—the love the kabaka felt
for them—had shifted.85 As Waller observes, the role of the kabaka was to balance and
coordinate the actions of chiefs: he could not rule without them. The chiefs who met in the
gathering place in the center of the kingdom had the power to offer or withhold tribute
and labor, and to choose the peers with whom they would align. A kabaka’s capacity to
secure the allegiance of chiefs depended on his ability to re-allocate chiefships or create
new ones, but he had to constantly be aware of the power of groups of chiefs who might
favor one of his brothers over him.86 When kabakas moved the kibuga every few years,
they were able to consolidate the allegiance of some chiefs and make others more remote
and less powerful depending on where they placed the kibuga in the kingdom, and how
they re-arranged the order of the compounds of particular chiefs within it. The reign of
each kabaka was remembered, in Ganda epic tradition, by enumerating all the important
chiefs which that kabaka had appointed; the list of chiefs encapsulated how he had ruled.
84Many early observers of Buganda commented on procedures for trying cases, this
statement comes from Mackay, 187-8. Schoenbrun suggests that powerful men gathered
at the court might have developed into the chiefships that were considered to be the
specific servants of the king, ms, 338.
85This is one of the themes of the testimony of clan elders before the Butaka Land
Commission in 1924; see for example the testimony of Daudi Basude, Commission, 352.
86The story of the rise and fall of the servant Kiyanzi, which carried on for several
generations, is an example of this. Kiwanuka, Kings. 146-9.

50
Though ritual and proverbs celebrated the absolute authority of kabakas, in practice they
were obliged to cultivate the cooperation of chiefs.87
Kabakas who violated the moral imperative of kusenga faced rebellion. Kabaka
Kagulu, the twentieth kabaka who probably ruled at the beginning of the eighteenth
century, was remembered by people for making impossible demands. According to the
epic tradition, he made people carry reeds for his fences with the points sticking up, and
kneel down where he had planted needles in the ground. He also made them dig trees all
the way out of the ground, including the roots, so that some people got buried alive in the
process. The tradition explains, "When the chiefs and the rest of the people came to hate
being pierced by needles or buried alive, they rebelled against Kagulu." People gathered on
a hill adjacent to the kibuga and jeered the Kabaka, saying "Sir, we your men have come
to pay you a visit, Busiro greets you.1" When Kabaka Kagulu saw that the people were
refusing to come to him, he made a drum and ordered it to be beaten: "Buganda is at
peace: Kagulu does not now kill people: come and visit him." But the people did not
come, so Princess Ndege Nasolo called the princes, organized a battle, and eventually
killed Kagulu herself. Kabaka Kagulu was not buried in Busiro, and after his death, people
of Njovu clan were killed for having produced such an evil kabaka.88 The epic tradition’s
87 In his written version of Ganda epic tradition, Kaggwa explained that people
evaluated the success of a kabaka by observing how many beads had been left in his shrine
by successors to the chiefs he had appointed. If there were many, people would say "He
died a happy many because he had many chiefs." Basekabaka, ms in Makerere, 58.
88Kiwanuka, Kings. 62-68.

51
story about Kabaka Kagulu demonstrates that power in Buganda did not simply flow from
the top down.
Ebitongole; Kabakas Control Innovation
Ganda epic tradition records that in the eighteenth century, kabakas began to
establish chiefships dedicated to specific purposes. In contrast to positions of authority
that commemorated important people or significant interactions in the past, these
chiefships were named for what they were supposed to accomplish. While saza chiefships
had developed gradually by accretion over long periods of time, a newly appointed
ekitongole chief displaced the previous authority on that land as soon as the chiefship was
created. A chief explained how this had been done in the nineteenth century, "when the
kabaka appointed you to a Kitongole you would choose an estate at which you would
make your headquarters, and you would then distribute the rest of the estates among your
Batongole."89 Kabaka Namugala (who also made innovations in the ritual installing
kabakas) and who probably ruled in the mid eighteenth century, established the first two
ebitongole, Ekigalagala (for the purpose of spreading out) and Kitamanyang’amba (for the
purpose of knowing what is said). A generation later, Kabaka Kamanya established the
chiefship Ekikinakulya (for the purpose of things to eat).90 Consolidating military victories
was the purpose of some of the original ebitongole chiefships, and for this reason, they
have been erroneously considered a form of military chiefship. Their purposes were
actually much broader.
89Commission, Paulo Bakunga, 536.
^Commission, letter of Lukiko, 563.

52
Ebitongole allowed a kabaka to orient productive labor towards a task which he
wished to have carried out. Settling an area to incorporate new territory into Buganda
could be one purpose towards which the kabaka directed productive resources, but there
were many others. An ekitongole on Buganga was called Ekibukula Mabira (for the
purpose of opening up of the forests) because the clan elder had asked the kabaka for
hunters to drive away elephants and buffaloes that were attacking people, and the
ekitongole was the land supplied to meet the food needs of the hunters.91 Another
ekitongole in Buganga was Ekirwanyamuli, which was a place where the people of Chief
Omulwanyamuli could obtain bananas when they visited the lake to fish. The ekitongole
had been allocated as uncultivated land, and the chief had been obliged to bring people to
cultivate the land in order to use it. Other ebitongole in the same area were Kikwekwesi,
which was for the head of all the kabaka’s servants to obtain labor and supplies, and
Kisomose, the place where the makers of drums and mweso boards for the kabaka lived,
grew their food, and carried out their work.92 Another ekitongole was responsible for
brewing the kabaka’s beer.93
The creation of ebitongole allowed kabakas to control innovation by placing the
production of new things under chiefs who were directly obligated to him. Semakokiro, in
the generation following Namugala, developed the innovation of a new type of hunting
91Commission, Mikairi Kidza and Stanislaus Mugwanya, 401.
92Ibid.
93Commission, 531b, Siriwani Mberenge.

53
net, which brought him many followers who helped him defeat his brother Kabaka Junju.94
Kabakas attempted to control the social consequences of new productive possibilities—
new commodities or production for new purposes—by confining them to ebitongole. One
ekitongole was named Kirima Ntungo (to cultivate sesame seeds).95 Kabaka Suna assigned
an ekitongole to "the Banyoro potters".96 The sesame seeds and pots produced went
directly to the kabaka, without any chiefs who might trade independently as
intermediaries; and also the producers owed allegiance directly to the kabaka. As sources
of potentially disruptive innovation increased in the early nineteenth century, the number
of ebitongole chiefships also expanded.
Conclusion
Buganda has been called a highly centralized kingdom, but this is not quite
accurate. Kusenga. the fundamental component of Ganda production and political
association, linked people in a reciprocal relationship which was premised on the
possibility that followers could leave their chiefs. A similar premise—that chiefs might
withdraw their support—shaped the relationship of kabakas with their followers, the chiefs.
Remembering ancestors motivated the activities of people who produced food and
reproduced communities; a remembrance of significant ties infused meaning and
purposefulness into the relationship of different units of the Ganda polity. In people’s
94Kaggwa, Basekabaka, 93.
95Commission, 395, Stanislaus Mugwanya.
%Commission, 472, Yosiya Sensalire.

54
minds Buganda existed as a network of chiefships that offered tribute to the kabaka who
"ate" the kingdom—the existence of a center was fundamental. However, power was nol
centralized; authority and the will that caused things to be accomplished did not flow
down from the center, dominating every other participant. Chiefs acted in ways that
indicated their sense of their own power relative to their peers: sometimes they withheld
obedience and labor, they made alliances that pressured kabakas into compliance, and at
times they rebelled. Compelling reasons to act or to refrain from action came from
peoples’ ways of remembering the past, and from the connections to that past which they
re-enacted in butaka. A map of the roads in the kingdom looked something like a spider
web, and power in Buganda had some of the same characteristics. All the lines led to the
center, but each connection in the circle had strength and integrity of its own.

CHAPTER THREE
CHIEFSHIP, LAND, AND CIVIL ORDER
Civil war and social disorder convulsed Buganda in the late nineteenth century.
Four kabakas (kings) were installed in less than a decade; tens of thousands died from
famine and disease; and the institutions of the polity appeared to fall apart. By the end of
the war Baganda appeared to have temporarily ceded the kabaka’s authority to allocate
land—the ultimate demonstration of his authority—to British officers. The war has been
perceived as a "religious revolution" in which modernizing Ganda Christians and Moslems
toppled paganism and then fought each other to make Buganda Catholic, Protestant, or
Moslem: contemporary Ganda chroniclers, missionary and colonial observers, and
historians have interpreted the war in these sectarian terms.1 New religious categories
were only one dimension of the war in Buganda from 1888 to 1896, however. It was also,
fundamentally, a Ganda expression of the collapse of social institutions that affected all of
‘Kaggwa recounts the plundering undertaken by the kabaka and chiefs, and also the
provocations of "unnatural vice," but identifies the onerous burden of digging the lake as
the cause of the revolt against Mwanga, 96/141-100/143. The conflict is cast in religious
categories by Wright, 34,40, 164-5; Kiwanuka, 192-3; John Milner Gray, "The Year of
the Three Kings of Buganda," Uganda Journal 14(1949): 15-52; Christopher C. Wrigley,
"The Christian Revolution in Buganda," Comparative Studies in Society and History
2(1959:33-48; and D. Anthony Low, "Religion and Society in Buganda 1874-1900," East
African Studies. No. 8, Kampala, 1957. According to Twaddle, Kakungulu. it was less a
religious revolution than a palace coup, 35.
55

56
east Africa as a consequence of trade in ivory and slaves.2 In Buganda, the exchange of
cloth and guns for people both undermined the legitimacy of the kabaka and transformed
the autonomous power of chiefs. The faction leaders in the civil war were chiefs who had
new religious convictions, and also new wealth from independent trading with Arabs, new
power from followers who attached to them instead of to the king, and an expanded set of
potential foreign allies.
The overthrow of Mwanga in 1888 initiated a period of self-destruction in which
Ganda religious factions raided and slaved against each other inside their own country.
The war caused unprecedented devastation because most Ganda mechanisms for ending
conflict could not function: the four successive kabakas were ineffective; conversion by
the chiefs had undermined the mediating role of Ganda spiritual leaders; and there was no
model for cooperation among the new religions. In these difficult circumstances, Ganda
chiefs used the language of land allocation to forge compromises among the warring
groups. In 1889, 1892, and 1893, a re-arrangement of control of land by the various
factions sealed attempts to end the war. The failure of the first of these efforts, along with
the further collapse of the authority of the kabakaship under Mwanga after he was re¬
installed, appears to have motivated the Ganda chiefs to give Captain Lugard the kabaka’s
2This analysis relies on Richard Waller’s unpublished Master of Arts essay from the
School of Oriental and African Studies, "The Traditional Economy of Buganda," John
Tosh’s description of the Ganda contribution to pre-colonial trade in "The Northern
Interlacustrine Region" in Richard Gray and David Birmingham, eds., Pre-Colonial
African Trade: Essays on Trade in Central and Eastern Africa before 1900 London:
Oxford University Press, 1970, 103-18; and Steven Feierman’s analysis of the
consequences of long distance trade for a kingdom with a tribute-based economy in The
Shambaa Kingdom: A History (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1974).

57
role of making land allocations to resolve conflict. The assignment of Catholic, Protestant,
and Moslem provinces by the Ganda chiefs with the support of various British substitute-
kabakas resolved the political and social turmoil of the preceding decade by effectively
integrating the new and potentially dangerous religious categories into the structure of the
Buganda kingdom.
The first three sections of this chapter consider the unfolding violence of the late
nineteenth century in East Africa: the destructive effects of the caravan trade on the power
of the kabaka, the development of chiefs who wielded autonomous military power, and the
integration of new forms of spiritual power into the growing conflict. The fourth section
demonstrates how Ganda chiefs used re-allocation of land to end the spiral of violence.
Buganda and the Trade in Ivory and Slaves
Trade goods which had come from the East African coast were first mentioned in
Ganda epic tradition in the time of Kabaka Semakokiro in the late 1700s, and successive
kabakas managed for half a century to incorporate these new things into the circulation of
goods that expressed Ganda social hierarchies.3 They did this by making specific chiefs
responsible for trade in various markets on the edges of the kingdom, and by
circumscribing new economic possibilities inside the structure of ebitongole chiefships.4 At
first, goods from the coast flowed exclusively to and from the Kabaka. In 1861, after
3Items traded from the coast have been found in archeological sites in Uganda dated at
several centuries before Kabaka Semakookiro. David Schoenbrun, personal
communication. It is possible that Ganda traditions associate trade with Kabaka
Semakookiro because long-distance trading expeditions began to reach Buganda during
his reign.
4Kaggwa, Basekabaka. 103; Chapter 2.

58
Speke’s visit, Kabaka Mutesa killed a chief-the Mutongole of Karema-for acquiring cloth
in Karagwe which he had not turned over to the king.5 Foreign traders were met at the
borders of the kingdom and escorted to the capital, and food was provided to them in
order to prevent them from interacting with people or trading on their own.6 Through
most of Kabaka Mutesa’s reign, foreigners—both traders and missionaries—were the guests
of the kabaka at the capital: they could only acquire food or labor when the kabaka
supplied it, and were forced to offer their goods to the kabaka on his terms.7 The absolute
nature of the kabaka’s control over foreign travel and trade was illustrated by Mwanga’s
killing of Bishop Hannington in 1885; he had aroused suspicion when he failed to enter
from the correct direction and changed his travel route without informing the kabaka .8
Neither the authority of the kabaka nor Buganda’s well-developed forms of
hierarchical exchange could withstand the negative effects of the caravan trade which
reached to Buganda in search of sources of ivory that had been depleted closer to the
coast. Traders acquired slaves to carry ivory tusks to the coast, and the existence of a
market for human beings transformed the practice of utilizing the labor of war captives
into more aggressive forms of slave raiding. Ivory harvesting easily merged into slave
raiding, as guns were the tools of both trades, and sources of ivory were quickly depleted.9
5Kaggwa, Basekabaka. 64/123.
6Mackay, 216-7; Waller, 22.
7Mackay by his sister, 216-7; Mackay journal quoted in Waller, 30.
8Ashe, Chronicles. 72-73.
9Steven Feierman, "A Century of Ironies in East Africa (c. 1780-1890), in Curtin,
Philip, Steven Feierman, Leonard Thompson, Jan Vansina. African History: From Earliest

59
The argument that late 19th century enslavement was different in degree and character
from earlier uses of war captives contradicts a tradition of scholarship on Buganda that
views Ganda slavery as static or as a phenomenon that increased in scale without having
serious social repercussions.10 The view that accelerating enslavement is central to the
Buganda civil war is based on recorded memories of the nature of enslavement, the
documented increase in raiding and captives taken into Buganda, evidence of slave buyers’
participation in Ganda war making, and the ways that the kabaka’s loss of authority to his
chiefs was connected to slave raiding.
Baganda remember the time when people began to be sold to the coast. Selling
people for cloth was entirely different than other kinds of nonffeedom (such as pawning)
that people experienced in their lives. According to Kiwanuka, Kabaka Mutesa was the
first to allow the selling of people. The impact of an Arab selling cloth in 1868 were
recorded by Apolo Kaggwa,
[Mutesa] found an Arab by name Wamisi had arrived at the capital of
Nakawa, bringing with him a lot of cloths and many other things. The
Kabaka distributed cloths to princesses and ladies ....[to pages and specific
chiefs] ... later on he gave cloths to all chiefs and ordered them to buy.
Many people, boys and girls were sold to the Arabs in exchange for
cloths.11
Times to Independence 2nd ed., New York: Longman, 1995:352-376, 354.
10Fallers, "Social Stratification," 111-2; Christopher C Wrigley, "The Changing
Economic Structure of Buganda," in Lloyd Fallers, ed., The King’s Men. New York:
Oxford University Press, 1964:16-63, 19, 21, 25; Rowe; Twaddle, 59. Kiwanuka argues
that there was no slave trade until after 1860, 167.
"Kiwanuka, 167; Kaggwa, Basekabaka, 66/124.

60
In 1883 O’Flaherty reported that he had had a conversation with Kabaka Mutesa about the
effects of trading slaves to the Coast. Mutesa said that two years earlier he had been
trading ivory, but "such a thirst for cloth has caught hold of [the Ganda] that they will sell
men and women for guns, powder, and shot, cloth, soap, etc." According to O’Flaherty,
Mutesa regretted the trade, but felt he could not prevent it.12 A son of one of the first
Christian chiefs described the late 19th century as a time when "a piece of soap could buy
a man, and a measure of bafuta [cotton cloth] could buy many slaves."13
One indication that raiding for slaves to sell to Arab traders was changing the
nature of Buganda’s wars is the intensification of conflict during the 19th century.14
Kaggwa’s history describes not only more conflict, but also more conflicts resulting in the
death of the leaders of the expeditions. He names "a lot of slaves" as well as women and
cattle, as booty from battles in this period.15 The huge increase in the number of royal
wives also suggests that the nature of warfare was changing.16 Mackay wrote in 1881
"One army has been sent east to murder and plunder. Not even the natives themselves can
call it war, they all say it is for robbery and devastation."17 He wrote to the Times in
^OElaherty, CMS Archives, quoted in Waller, 31.
13E.M.K. Mulira, Sir Apolo Kaggwa, CKCMG, MBE Kampala: Buganda Bookshop,
1949, seen courtesy John Rowe.
14Waller, 31; Kiwanuka states that the power of the monarchy increased, 108; Rowe,
Twaddle says patterns of plundering were formalized, 13.
15Kaggwa, Basekabaka, 63/122.
16Musisi, "Elite Polygyny", Signs.
17Mackay by his sister, 185 (check page).

61
January of 1889 that Buganda and Bunyoro "have generally large armies in the field, in
one direction or another, devastating whole regions of their inhabitants." Kabaka Mutesa
attacked estates which had been protected from raiding ’from time immemorial’; these
included the estates of Lubale, and also estates of the Namasole. These violations of
Ganda morality may have been Mutesa’s test of the power of Lubale, as Rowe suggests,
but it is also possible that the estates became vulnerable as social disorder and the need to
supply traders increased.18
According to Mackay, Arabs supplied the guns and powder for the plundering
expeditions, and then received "women, children, and ivory" procured in the raids as
payment.19 Traders sent agents into the field with the armies to select the slaves they
wanted.20 Kiwanuka observes that Ganda military success declined after 1880; this is
perhaps because Buganda’s neighbors were also participating in the exchange of cloth and
guns for ivory and slaves. Richard Waller outlines the increasing importance of guns in
Buganda: in 1875 there had been approximately 500; in 1882, Felkin complained
"Mutesa’s cry is always guns and gunpowder"; he calculated that there were 2,000 guns in
the country, and guns and powder had completely replaced all other trade items. Waller
notes that in the 1880s Mackay described traders bringing nothing but guns, and
O’Flaherty reported the arrival of a trader with 600 rifles.21
18 For example, his raid on Batombogwe hill; Kaggwa, 82/133, also 65/123; Rowe.
1 Mackay, 435.
20Waller, 32.
21Waller, 29.

62
Kabaka Mutesa brought the caravan trade closer to his court in order to maintain
his supervision of the distribution of goods, but eventually was overcome by forces
inherent in the trade that he could not control. Waller identifies three stages in Buganda’s
external trade: a first stage in which royal agents traded on behalf of the kabaka in
Karagwe; a second stage after the death of Kabaka Suna when trade shifted to the
Ukerewe Islands and Kabaka Mutesa controlled access to Buganda by controlling canoe
transport of traded goods across the Victoria Nyanza; and a third stage, in the 1880s,
when the focus of trade shifted to Mutesa’s court.22 Waller argues that the kabaka had
used the distribution of prestige goods, such as guns and slaves, to enhance his power and
his followers’obligation to him: the huge increase in both trade goods and plunder
unbalanced the system and the kabaka’s place in the center of it.23 Since the mutual
obligations and relationships in Buganda society were expressed in the exchange of tribute
and gifts, it makes sense that social relationships were fundamentally disrupted by massive
increases in the goods being exchanged. The collapse of authority that characterized late
nineteenth century Buganda was not merely a result of an enlarged market: it was also a
consequence of the nature of the trade. The possibility of gaining wealth and power by
selling slaves introduced a new kind of violence into the relationship of the kabaka to his
chiefs, and of chiefs to their people. This is evident in the increasing autonomy of the
chiefs, and in Kabaka Mwanga’s ultimately ineffective attempts to re-assert control over
them.
22Waller, 28.
23Waller, 32.

63
The Dissolution of Authority
A new kind of authority figure emerged in East African societies with the
expansion of trade in ivory and in slave-taking and slave-holding. "Rugaruga" were
followers of a powerful big man who broke the rules of social interaction and exerted
power over others through military force.24 The way people lived in their environment
changed in response: they grouped themselves into large defensive settlements, behind
walls of stone and spiny cactus, whose ruined outlines are still sometimes visible in the
rural landscape. In the well-developed bureaucracy of Buganda, the destabilizing potential
of a new kind of trade manifested itself in changes in the action and role of chiefs, and in
the total deterioration of the authority of the king, which began under Kabaka Mutesa and
reached its culmination with the overthrow of Kabaka Mwanga in 1888. Most histories of
the period explain the collapse of the kabakaship in terms of Mwanga’s personal qualities:
his youth and insecurity; his excessive attachment to pages who were his lovers and his
consequent inability to value the advice of senior chiefs; his pagan small-mindedness and
fear of the followers of new religions.25 While it is true that Mwanga did not lead
Buganda effectively when he assumed the kabakaship in 1884, it is possible that elements
of irrationality that were inherent in circumstances in the 1880s have been attributed to
24Iliffe, A Modern History of Tanganyika. 75.
25 Gorju, 120; Gray, 15; Wright, 28; Kiwanuka, 194. I see the growing power of chiefs
as a descent into chaos fuelled by slaving, and not as a potentially competent emerging
bureaucracy, cf. Low, Buganda and British Overrule. 4; and "The Northern Interior," 334;
Fallers, "Social Stratification," 111; Wrigley "Changing Economic Structure," 25-6,
Twaddle
Kakungulu. 38, 59.

64
Mwanga’s personality. This was a time when things were turned upside down, when
young men obtained power they did not deserve, and strong government from the center
of the kingdom became impossible. Ganda chiefs did not manifest the inversion of all
socially appropriate behaviour that characterized the rugaruga. but they amassed and
deployed wealth and force in ways that were fundamentally destructive.
Chiefs of the border sazas who came into unsupervised contact with traders were
the first ones able to trade on their own account: the Pokino and Kago irritated Kabaka
Mutesa by selling ivory and obtaining cloth without his permission and this may have
contributed to the redirection of trade first to Ukerewe and then to Rubaga.
The contribution of trade to the growing power of chiefs is most obvious in the
position of the Katikiro. The Katikirro’s responsibility for overseeing receipt of tribute and
distribution of the kabaka’s wealth made it a chiefship that brought wealth to the holder.26
Describing how wealth had derived from control of land in an earlier time, Stanislaus
Mugwanya explained in 1906 that "The Namasóle or king’s mother, got estates, and
originally was a person of more consideration and honour than the Katikiro."27 Mackay’s
journal gives an indication of the control the Katikirro exerted over trade: for five months
Katikirro Mukasa had blocked Mutesa’s orders that Arab traders be supplied with canoes,
and Mackay told Mutesa that Katikirro Mukasa "was practically causing rebellion in the
26Twaddle associates the katikiros’wealth with the political influence of 19th century
katikiros in issues of succession, 34.
27Enquiry, Rhodes House Af S 17.

65
country".28 He took on two of the most important chiefly titles as well as being Katikiro—
the Sekibobo of Kyaggwe and the Pokino of Buddu. Both of these provinces were critical
to long distance trade.29 The power of this Prime Minister over Kabaka Mutesa was
formidable: in 1881 the Kabaka made blood brotherhood with Mukasa, and directed that
Mukasa’s sons should be carried like princes.30 Possibly the Katikiro was taking advantage
of Mutesa’s vulnerability because of his incurable gonorrhea, as Rowe suggests, but the
economic dimension of his growing power cannot be discounted, either. Ashe noted in
1888 that Mukasa had an important role in directing the ivory trade, and foreign visitors
commented on the wealth and impressive character of the Katikiro.31 Kiwanuka records
that Mukasa had the reputation of a man who sold his own relatives into slavery.32
The ekitongole type of chiefship was also transformed by long distance trade. As
we have seen, Kabakas Suna and Mutesa increased ebitongole chieftainships in order to
channel new economic activities and to contain their effects. (Chapter 2). When the
possibilities for trading became more available, and as guns became more significant in
raiding, an ekitongole chief who had guns because the purpose of his chiefship was
hunting or defense could become wealthy independent of the kabaka by raiding and
28Mackay, 150.
29Kiwanuka, 208.
30Kaggwa, Basekabaka, 85/135.
3‘Ashe, Chronicles. 116.
32 M.S.M. Kiwanuka in Kaggwa, Kings. 184.

66
disposing of slaves on his own. Kaggwa explained the remarkable wealth of batongole
chiefs in terms of their success in war:
Their areas carried great honour and people used to flock to them and they
were therefore well cultivated...When the Kabaka was at war, people in
such areas (Bitongole) excelled in capturing the booty for they were always
young men. From what they had captured their chief (Mutongole) would
choose the best and consequently became a rich man. Such a chief would
also act as the Kabaka’s messenger and thus again become rich for he was
given presents.33
The presents given by kabakas to ebitongole chiefs may suggest that Kabakas Mutesa and
Mwanga recognized the possibility that these chiefs might act outside of their control and
attempted to maintain their allegiance.
Michael Twaddle’s richly detailed biography of Semei Kakungulu documents the
potential independence of an ekitongole chief. Kakungulu obtained an ekitongole for
elephant hunting from Kabaka Mutesa in 1884. Kakungulu had arrived in Buganda with
experience of elephant hunting, and Mutesa gave him "guns, gun caps, and bullets", and
land in Buddu. This land had been attached to a different chieftaincy, but was reallocated
to the new ekitongole, which was called "Ekirumba njovu”—'for hunting elephants', and
Kakungulu’s title was "omulumba njovu”—’ hunter of elephants'.34 Although nominally
under the control of Kabaka Mutesa and required to turn over all the ivory he acquired,
Kakungulu's control of one hundred guns enabled him to build up an independent
following through predation. According to Paulo Kibi, at this time Kakungulu had a
drumbeat:
33Kaggwa, Basekabaka. 340/277.
34 Twaddle, Kakungulu. 37.

67
I eat what I choose:
I eat what I find:
I eat whatever does not belong to me.35
Kakungulu and his men raided Nkore on their own, without instructions from Mutesa, and
disposed of the cattle and slaves they obtained in Kiziba. Even when Kakungulu and his
men participated in a raid against Bunyoro initiated by the Kabaka, Kakungulu’s men got
in trouble for looting inside Buganda. That his activities went beyond the pale of
appropriate behaviour for subordinate chiefs is evident in the story that Katikiro Mukasa
either placed Kakungulu in stocks or threatened him with death; he was only saved by the
intervention of his blood brother the Pokino or, in another version of the story, by the
Kabaka.36
The power that men like Kakungulu created for themselves in the tumultuous
circumstances of late nineteenth century East Africa was mercurial. As the chief of an
elephant hunting ekitongole, located on a route along which guns were being brought into
Buganda, Kakungulu raided people and cattle without passing them on to the Kabaka, and
collected followers of his own.37 Kakungulu was able to attract followers by offering to
arm them, and also by trading ivory for enslaved people. He was not, however, able to
maintain the following he created for himself. Kakungulu lost his chiefship, the Ekitongole
of Ekirumba Njovu, when Mwanga was deposed, demonstrating that in Buganda, the
arrangement of the kingdom allowed the center to exert a degree of control over the
35 Twaddle 21.
36Twaddle, 22-3.
37Twaddle, 37.

68
destabilizing force of men with guns. As soon as Kakungulu lost the chiefship, seventy of
his followers deserted him for the new Katikiro, Honorat Nyonyintono. These men had
"belonged" to Kakungulu, but they chose to align themselves with the strongest leader
available.38 Kakungulu’s experience suggests the similarity of late nineteenth century
ekitongole in Buganda and rugaruga south of the Nyanza: in both situations, big men
controlled unfree people who had guns.
The Kabaka’s control over raiding deteriorated markedly as the amount of military
hardware in the nation increased in the 1880s. Ashe reported that the escort taking him to
the capital made an "impromptu slave raid" during the journey.39 In 1862, members of the
party escorting James Grant to Buganda had been punished for raiding without
permission.40 Waller also points out that Pearson estimated that 75% of the slaves taken in
a raid were not reported to the Kabaka, "the rest having been secretly disposed of by the
chiefs."41 By the 1880s the Kabaka received only ivory, and chiefs retained cattle, women,
and slaves.42 This represents a diminution in the Kabaka’s share, and may have been a
recognition that chiefs would retain slaves and cattle on their own whether or not the
Kabaka gave them permission.
38Twaddle, 28.
39Waller, 32.
Ajames Augustus Grant, A Walk Across Africa, or Domestic Sceneries from my Nile
Journal. (Edinburgh: Blackwood and Sons), 191.
41Waller, 32.
42Kaggwa, Mpisa, 157-160, quoted in Twaddle, 14.

69
The increasing social instability was expressed in allocations of land: Mwanga took
large areas from saza chiefs between 1886 and 1888 in order to create four new
Bitongole, which he placed under the control of young men. These were the Ekitongole
Ekiwuliriza, the chiefship of listening carefully; the Ekitongole Ekigwanika—chiefship of
wealth; the Ekitongole Ekijasi—the chiefship of guns; and the Ekitongole Ekiyinda—the
chiefship of menacing noise.43 Not only did Mwanga take land that had been under the
control of saza chiefs to make the new ebitongole chiefships, he told the new batongole to
establish their chiefships in every saza, presumably by force. According to Fallers, these
bitongole represented Mwanga’s attempt to remove power from the saza chiefs and give it
to young chiefs he could control more easily.44 However,in the highly disordered condition
of Buganda in the 1880s, it is difficult to assert that Mwanga was actually creating new
chiefships in order to advance the structure of the state.45 A more accurate assessment
might be that in creating huge new ebitongole, Mwanga was merely naming as chiefs new
holders of power who had emerged from circumstances of the violent exchange of ivory
and people for guns, and attempting to claim power over them.46 As Kiwanuka points out,
Buganda was in such turmoil at the time that chiefly authority over land was not readily
discernible. Kiwanuka claims that people deserted other chiefs to become the followers of
43Kiwanuka, History, 198-9; Kaggwa, Basekabaka. 99/143.
“Fallers, 64-116.
45See references for footnote 24.
46According to Twaddle, the purpose of these new ekitongole chieftaincies was to
guard Mwanga, but the information available about them suggests they were acting on
their own, in their own interest. Twaddle, 59.

70
the batongole, and "by 1888 the four new Bitongole had nearly 100,000 men, all young
and arrogant."47
The new batongole proceeded to plunder all over the country. Apolo Kaggwa’s
account of this period describes the Kabaka’s lack of control:
the morals of the country became deteriorated as we young men adapted a
bad habit of robbing people of their cattle and goats at random; and people
found on the way were killed for no just cause. The Kabaka knew of this
and he did not care for the well-being of his country at all. He liked the
young men more than his chiefs.48
Kiwanuka states that the batongole and their followers "became the rulers of the country";
they raided and took captives without any inhibitions.49
Kabaka Mwanga himself took part in the process of raiding and enslaving
Baganda. In 1888 the Kabaka had made a tour of the country. A royal journey to "show
the kabaka" and to receive tribute was not an unusual thing, but this tour proved "nearly
as disastrous to his unhappy subjects as a foreign invasion, since he ruthlessly robbed and
raided his own people."50 In Kyagwe, Singo, and Buddu, he raided hundreds of cattle, and
seized "vast numbers" of women and children. On his return to the capital, he distributed
these as gifts to his pages. The right of a kabaka to sacrifice the lives of people in a
"kiwendo" for the spiritual well-being of the nation was accepted; Mwanga’s use of
47 Kiwanuka, 199.
48Kaggwa, Basekabaka. 98/142.
49Kiwanuka, 199.
50Ashe, Chronicles. 90; also James. S. Miti, A History of Buganda, n.d.; a manuscript
translation in Makerere University Library Africana Collection, (N.B. pagination of this
document is unreliable), 252-297.

71
captured subjects to enrich the members of his palace household, who had not even been
introduced in the palace in the appropriate manner by chiefs, was not acceptable.
Mwanga’s final, unsuccessful attempt to consolidate his authority was his demand
that his people dig a large artificial lake in the capital: requiring unnecessary work was a
way of making people demonstrate their allegiance that had been deployed by other
kabakas.51 Everyone, of every status, was required to participate in this public work or
face heavy fines. Ashe reports that
The chiefs came with extreme reluctance, many of them smarting from the
loss of their wives and other valuable property extorted from them during
the King’s progress.52
A royal drum was beaten calling people to work on the lake before dawn. Kaggwa wrote
that anyone who did not arrive early in the morning was fined one woman and one head of
cattle; Ashe reported that insufficient service at the lake resulted in fines of large numbers
of women, expensive cloths, and guns; Zimbe wrote that they were fined, "women, slaves,
livestock, and loads of barkcloth"; and that the treasurer’s house "became a huge prison
camp overflowing with alleged defaulters".53 Baganda remember not only the unreasonable
fines, but also the horrifying humiliation forced on important, old chiefs who were made to
sit in the mud if they arrived late.54 Mwanga’s bizarre behavior in the last months before
51For example, Kabaka Mutesa had required the Kaima to build a hill inside his palace
in 1871; Kaggwa, 78/139.
52Ashe, Chronicles. 90.
53Kaggwa Basekabaka 100/143; Ashe Chronicles. 93, Zimbe, Buganda Ne Kabaka,
133-4, quoted in Kiwanuka, 200.
54Kaggwa, Basekabaka. 100/143.

72
he was overthrown can be understood as an attempt to demonstrate authority over his
subjects which he had already lost, and also, as a means to obtain slaves by fining his
subjects in people and in creating situations in which they would avoid humiliation by
offering bribes.
Kabaka Mwanga was deposed because his chiefs withdrew the will to be governed
by him: the firsthand accounts of the events in 1888 are reminiscent of the history of
Kabaka Kagulu, a century and a half earlier, whose reign ended when his chiefs retreated
to a hill overlooking the palace and jeered.55 This moment came for Mwanga when the
readers refused to embark in canoes for a journey on the lake they suspected would lead
to their deaths: Mwanga’s Katikiro told him "All Buganda refuses to take you to Sesse."56
Mwanga, like Kagulu, was overthrown when people became fed up with entirely
unreasonable demands. In Mwanga’s case, we can recognize that profound social changes
contributed to the Kabaka’s unreasonable actions and unworkable relationship with his
chiefs.
Buganda’s Civil War: Social Violence with Religious Categories
The fall of Mwanga was one moment in an unfolding crisis of authority in Buganda
which was much larger than a palace coup. Fundamental terms-of how to be a chief, how
to express authority, and how and why to be productive—had been altered by the
possibilities and also the violence of long distance trade. This moment of political, social,
and economic turmoil also contained a crisis in ideology, because Arab traders and
55Kaggwa, Basekabaka. 65, also Chapter 2.
56Ashe. Chronicles. 102.

73
European explorers had introduced new ways of thinking about the world in the form of
Islam and Christianity. The conversion of large numbers of Baganda to these faiths in the
nineteenth century was so unique, so attractive to observers, and so clearly genuine that it
has tended to overshadow other aspects of the processes of change underway at the
time.57 Without denying the significance of conversion for individuals and for their
community, it is important to keep in mind that the people who became Moslems and
Christians did not stop being Ganda. The late nineteenth century was an encompassingly
difficult time, intellectually as well as on every other level. People expected the kabaka to
be powerful and to be in the center of things, but no kabaka filled that expectation from
Mutesa’s reign onwards. World religions became a principle for organizing relationships at
a time when other means of organizing them were not functioning effectively.
The new religions gave young men powerful spiritual resources. Reading and
prayer gave them access to spiritual power without the mediation of their elders. The
world views of Christianity and Islam offered comfort and security lacking in a difficult
time. In the new religions, positions of spiritual leadership were open to young converts,
who had been pages at the lowest level of the Ganda chiefly hierarchy.
Ganda Moslems, Protestants, and Catholics used their new sets of ideas to create
social institutions that did the kinds of things that organizations of people had always done
in Buganda. That is, a religion was not only a spiritually effective practice and a form of
identity, but also a way of organizing economic activity and an instrument for wielding
political power. "English religion" (Protestantism), "French religion" (Catholicism), and
57See footnote 1.

74
Islam functioned like clans or important chiefships: they brought people together under
well-respected leaders for political and economic actions as well as spiritual ones. In the
highly unstable context of the late nineteenth century, the new religious categories gave
Ganda readers a means to re-group the authority that had been dissipated by the actions of
the kabaka and by some chiefs. As Michael Wright points out, Ganda categories of clan
and family continued to be salient, and throughout the war people defended and protected
family and clan relatives of different faiths.58
Religions became alternative categories in which people could continue to make
the social arrangements they had always made.59 It has been said that the Baganda were
fighting each other for religion, but this ignores the larger East African context and the
instabilities that would have led to armed conflict whether or not the protagonists had
adopted new religions. A more accurate perception might be that they were fighting each
other with religion, since the logic of the organization of the groups, their sources of
supply, and their maneuvers to gain political power were all connected to their sets of
beliefs. Fighting with religion made ending the war particularly difficult, because the new
religions were bereft of the conflict- resolving role that had been played by Ganda spirit
mediums, and because both the ideological and economic dimensions of the new religious
communities facilitated a prolongation of hostilities.
58Wright, 114-5.
59According to Bakale Mukasa "They did not fight for religion but for chieftainship",
quoted in Twaddle, 40-41.

75
Baganda followed the new religions in the ways that they had followed spiritual
leaders in the past. Allegiance to a leader was an element of allegiance to a religion; even
the Christian missionaries accepted the role of nurturing "their" Christians. When the
Katikirro Honarat Nyonyintono was killed in a battle, his followers found it impossible to
continue fighting, "they were not cowardly but were distraught and did not see why they
should fight just for Protestants."60 The connection of personal and religious allegiance
meant that it was logical for people to switch religions in order to gain chiefships: Simioni
Segutta had been a Catholic in 1886, but became a Protestant when offered the position of
Kiryagonja, when he did not get the chiefship he had wanted as a Catholic. Yosefu
Sebowa was promised a chiefship if he converted to Catholicism, which he did, and
became Kisalosalo.61
The new religious communities became arenas for competition over status in the
same way that Ganda chiefs had competed with each other over relative status in other
circumstances. The individual chosen to lead Christian groups in any given engagement
had authority over the division of spoils. Before one battle in 1890, a messenger had to be
sent back to Mwanga to enquire whether it was acceptable for a Protestant, Kakungulu, to
take over the leadership of a campaign whose original Catholic leader was indisposed.62
The group of Catholics and Protestants who retreated to Ankole clashed with the
Christian group that had retreated to the lake over the issue of seniority and control of
60Wamala, quoted in Twaddle, 44.
61 Wright, 116.
62Twaddle 51.

76
spoils: these groups were known as the "grain-eaters" and the "fish-eaters".63 Entirely
new forms of authority fostered further conflicts over relative status. For example, a
conflict arose between the Pokino and the Katikirro because the Pokino was lower than
the Katikirro in the chiefly hierarchy but higher than him in the church council hierarchy:
he did not want to take orders from someone who had a lower position than his in the
church council.64
The new religious factions controlled the organization of production and of trade.
In the past, the followers of a Lubaale occupied land associated with that spirit; the
Mandwa was given sufficient land for his or her followers, however large that group
became (Chapter 2). Catholics held a monopoly on canoes at times during the war, so that
lack of access to lake transport was a problem for Protestants, and one of the great
weaknesses of Kabaka Kalema.65 The Catholic and Protestant coalition suffered because
they needed food, and essential supplies of food were controlled by Ganda chiefs who
were not readers in Kyagwe and Bulemezi.66 Each faction had sources of supplies from the
Coast. Moslems got their guns through Arabs, and Christians got their guns through the
former missionary Stokes. Co-religionists who were not Baganda participated actively in
the war through their efforts to provide supplies. Miti states that Kipanda, an Arab trader
63Twaddle, 51.
64Ashe, Chronicles. 141.
65Ashe, Chronicles. 41;Twaddle, 47.
“Hamu Mukasa, Simuda Nyuma, 383, quoted in Twaddle 47.

77
at Magu at the south end of the lake, sent a dhow of guns and ammunition which he paid
for himself, and told his people to attack and sink Stokes’ boat if they found it.67
Ganda Christians and Moslems created organizations that had religious, political,
and economic dimensions at a time when raiding and plunder had become one of the main
occupations of groups of people. The destruction of the civil war, and the terrible
calamity of people slaving inside their own society, have been underemphasized by
historians who have focussed on the religious identity of the combatants, and described the
war as a conflict between new and old ideas.68 The accounts of the war written by
participants, and also the statements of non-Ganda observers, describe an effort to
overthrow an unsatisfactory king that spun out of control in the volatile conditions in
*s4
which young men with guns had power.
In 1888, Moslem, Catholic, and Protestant leaders had made blood brotherhood
with each other before beginning the battle which caused Mwanga to flee: they were
making an effort to overcome the potential conflict inherent in their different religious
identities.69 Once they had installed Kiwewa as Kabaka, they assigned chiefships in a way
that attempted to divide positions of high status between Moslems and Christians. This
arrangement quickly dissolved in conflicts over which religious group ought to hold which
67Miti, 349.
68 Part of the challenge of the war for Ganda Christians and Moslems was to find ways
to integrate new and powerful ideas into their organization of Ganda society, but to frame
the conflict in a tradition vs. modernity dichotomy ignores the reality of fundamental
change in the region in the nineteenth century.
69Kiwanuka, 205.

78
chiefships. Not long after a fight which caused many Christians to withdraw to Ankole,
Kiwewa lost control of Mengo in conflict with Muslim chiefs, and he was replaced by
Kalema, a son of Mutesa who had been considered by everyone a better candidate for
Kabaka than Kiwewa. During the brief reign of Kalema (1888- October 1889), conflict
between the factions escalated from raids on Kyaggwe cattle by Ganda Christians in
Ankole to violence and plundering that led to the depopulation of Buganda.70
The civil war protagonists were the same people who had been involved in raiding
and plundering outside of Buganda and sometimes inside it: the neglected role of elephant
hunters was identified by Hamuli Suku, who remembered that the Moslem defeat was a
result of the joint action of "all of them, the pagans, the readers, and the hunters"71
Kaggwa acknowledged that in an engagement he led in Mawokota "the Mohamedans
were defeated and their wives plundered", but he states that the wives were later
returned.72 The Protestant missionary Ashe, who returned to Buganda during the war,
wrote that probably not all the women had been returned after that engagement, and that
loot was the main objective of the combatants.73 One of the Christian combatants later
explained that in re-taking Mengo, the Christian army failed to capture Kalema because
people stopped to plunder. "What saved Kalema was our poverty. Just when our victory
70Kaggwa, Basekabaka. 110/149.
7lHamuli Suku oral testimony 1969, English translation at Department of Religious
Studies, Makerere, by Abdul Kasozi, quoted in Twaddle, 58.
72Kaggwa, Basekabaka. 116/153.
73Ashe. Chronicles. 137, 139.

79
was almost complete, everybody went to the place of the coastal traders in order to
plunder the cloth."74
James Miti, who followed his participation in the war with a distinguished career in
the Uganda Protectorate government, stated clearly that enslavement was a goal of
making war, to "plunder and carry off men and women from the vanquished side on every
occasion was the order of the day at that time" and "it was each warrior’s ambition to fight
hard in order to be able to return home with plunder and captives".75 He acknowledged
that he himself had taken "not less than seventeen female captives and some six male
prisoners of war" in the attack on the Buvuma Islands in which Major MacDonald had
participated and forbidden any enslavement, and suggested that many hundreds of captives
had been smuggled away into Buganda by other Ganda warriors.
Miti also described an incident in the war which indicates that people were not
only being enslaved, but that many of the captured people were being sold to Arabs.
Kabarega, the king of Bunyoro, had sent an army to assist Kalema in 1890. This army got
confused in retreating from a battle, and accidentally went further into Buganda, where
"they fell into a trap and many of them were captured and made prisoners or slaves." Miti
describes how the captured people attempted to prove their value to the Ganda captors,
pleading that they should remain with the person who captured them:
A Munyoro potter or blacksmith would plead his case by assuring his
Baganda captors that his knowledge of pottery or of the manufacture of
74Paulo Kibi testimony, quoted in Twaddle, Kakungulu. 55.
75Miti, 409.

80
spears, as the case might be, would be found very useful if he were only
kept under their service.76
After the Moslems had been driven from Mengo in 1889, according to Miti, they began
plundering food and property all over Ssingo, and into Ggomba and Busujju.
Women, children and even old men fell victims to the Mohamedan’s acts of
cruelty, some of them being killed on the spot, others being carried away
for sale to his Arab friend as slaves.77
When Christian chiefs organized themselves to stop the raiding, they engaged in a battle in
Lumanyo, when they surprised the Moslems and routed them so that the retreating army
dropped their plunder. Captured women and children were abandoned along the road. The
Christian army returned them to their families, and the children whose families could not
be found (because the children were too young to identify themselves) were adopted.78 A
praise song devised for Kakungulu during the war "Kangabaana, eyawangula abensambya"
—"the scatterer of children, the one who conquered those of Nsambya" suggests the social
consequences of the war.79 That children and their mothers were targets for enslavement
led to a problem encountered in Buganda some years later, when Ganda who had been
children in the war were unable to successfully contract marriages because they did not
know their real clans.
76Miti, 359.
77Miti, 368.
78Miti, 368.
79Twaddle, 78.

81
Baganda remembered the war as a time of unimaginable destruction. The
population of Bunyoro is said to have increased because so many people fled from war
and the danger of enslavement in Buganda.80 An image that recurs in descriptions of the
war is of corpses rotting by the roadside because no one was available to bury them.
People stopped cultivating out of fear of fighting, and in the ensuing famine people dug up
the stumps of banana trees in order to eat the roots. Warriors with guns "used to assuage
their hunger by force of arms, carrying guns with them wherever they went and
threatening to shoot anyone who would not give them food."81 An outbreak of bubonic
plague followed the famine. Estimates of the death toll range from 7,000 to 400,OOO.82
After October 1889, Moslem armies had moved into and then out of Kyaddondo and
Busiro because they were empty of people and animals and there was nothing left to raid;
they then proceeded to plunder all of Kyagwe. Carl Peters passed through Kyaggwe early
in 1890 and found "a desolation of destroyed banana groves, with vultures gorging on
unburied corpses and the wind raising flurries of ashes in the burnt villages."83
The civil war fundamentally undermined the institution of the kabaka.
Success for any of the factions in the civil war depended on having a prince of the drum-
one entitled to become king because he was a direct descendant of a kabaka. Among the
80J. Nyakature, Anatomy of an African Kingdom. 144, quoted in Twaddle, 60.
81Miti 361.
82The lower estimate is from Ashe, Chronicles. 144; the higher estimate is from
Kaggwa, 119/155.
83Wright, 101.

82
first actions of the Christian group after it withdrew to Ankole in 1888 was to try to
acquire a prince of the drum. Bawmweyana, one of the sons of Mutesa, bribed his guard
to allow him to escape to join the Christians, but Kalema had sent people to watch for him
after he escaped, and he was captured. Kalema then decided to kill all the princes of the
drum, and also all the princesses, because if they had no potential kabaka in their camp,
they would have no means of regaining power.84 Princesses were killed as well as princes
because the British were ruled by a woman, and therefore it seemed possible that
Christians might put a princess on the throne. One generation earlier, Mutesa’s mother the
Namasole Muganzirwaza had caused the deaths of eleven of Suna’s sons through
starvation: only Mbogo, Mainja, and Kabaka Mutesa had been left alive.85 These two
successive wholesale executions of princes may be an indication of the accelerating
instability of the nineteenth century, because no earlier kabaka had considered it necessary
to kill all his brothers. Even the practice of imprisoning princes of the drum had started in
the late 18th century under Kabaka Semakokiro (who had killed his brother to obtain the
kabakaship).86 The killing of two generations of princes (and one of princesses) was a
disaster for Buganda because it created a dearth of potential effective leadership. When
Kalema died of smallpox after his retreat from Mengo, the only possible kabakas were the
Moslem leader Mbogo, two young sons of Kalema and Kiwewa who were out of the
country with Catholic missionaries, and Mwanga, who had already been deposed once.
^Miti, 337; Kaggwa, Basekabaka. 114.
85Kaggwa, Basekabaka. 76/130.
86Kiwanuka, 129.

83
The Christians turned to Mwanga because they had no other means of maintaining
a credible bid for control of the kingdom. Since Mwanga had demonstrated his ineptness
as a ruler and the chiefs had demonstrated their lack of respect for him the first time they
overthrew him, his return to power inevitably entailed a further diminution of the
authority of the kabaka. Unfortunately, the elements of Ganda society that served to
balance the power of the kabaka were also in decline. The Kimbugwe, the chief who was
officially the keeper of the kabaka’s "twin" (an elaborate charm which contained the
kabaka’s umbilical cord), had the right to speak against the kabaka in the Lukiko and to try
the kabaka for improper actions; but the Kimbugwe chiefship was abolished in 1892
because "during the Christian reign, we could not honor the traditional twin-god."87 Spirit
mediums, who had served to safely focus legitimate criticism of the kabaka also lost their
influence with the spread of Christianity and Islam, and with the general disorder of the
time. Kakungulu was said to have a new drumbeat when the Christians and their allies
gathered on Bulingugwe island
I eat whatever I find:
I eat whatever belongs to emmandwa.88
Kabaka Mutesa had been obliged to entertain and submit to the actions of the priest of the
shrine of Mukasa, the Lubaale of the Victoria Nyanza. The son of that priest had lost his
followers and his land was taken by the Gabunga in the 1890s; the grandson claimed to be
"an important mutaka in Sesse as well as in Buganda" but, when questioned, he admitted
87Kaggwa, Basekabaka. 104/146.
88Paulo Kibi testimony, quoted in Twaddle, 50.

84
that he received land as a tenant of the Gabunga, and he performed services as the
Gabunga’s man.89
The crisis of newly strong chiefs and a thoroughly weak kabaka led to "wars that
did not let go."90 In 1888, Mwanga was driven out, Christians withdrew, and Kalema
replaced Kiwewa as Kabaka. In 1889,a coalition of the forces of Christian chiefs and the
forces of avowedly pagan chiefs brought Mwanga back to Mengo by the end of the year,
after battles that had left fields where "skulls are as numerous ... as mushrooms."91
Groups that considered themselves supporters of the Moslem Kabaka Kalema, and after
his death the Moslem Kabaka Mbogo, fought against the re-establishment of Mwanga all
over Buganda. In 1892, fighting broke out in Mengo between people who identified
themselves as Protestants, and people who identified themselves as Catholic. In 1893,
negotiations for territory (see below) ended conflict among the new religious factions, but
in 1894 and 1895, Baganda participated in fighting against the rebelling Sudanese troops.
From 1897 to 1899, Mwanga and a coalition of chiefs fought against Baganda who allied
themselves with "the Kampala European’. The "religious revolution" framework explains
these continuing conflicts in terms of what religious group held Mengo or wanted to
control it: but the triggers for each outburst of hostilities were so trivial that conflict seems
89Entebbe Archives, SMP 6902, Butaka Commission Report, Guggu, Yosiya Ajabi
Sumugala, and Gabunga, 384-387. Cited hereafter as Commission, with witnesses names
and page numbers.
90Mulira, 2.
9lSolomon Wamala, Obulamu. 51, quoted in Twaddle, 52.

85
to have been prolonged for its own sake. More war meant more opportunity to acquire
the wealth that came from raiding. Reporting on the volatile situation in Mengo in 1890,
Captain MacDonald noted that chiefs seemed to be acting in their own interest, and the
Kabaka "had little control over powerful, intriguing chiefs, ripe for any contingency that
promised a chance of plunder."92
Re-allocating Land to Make the War End
At each shift in the control of the kingdom, the victorious group re-allocated
important chiefships. Naming the people who would control the sazas and the important
functions of the kingdom was a way of stating the order of the nation. In the oral
traditions of Buganda recorded by Apolo Kaggwa, the stories of each kabaka concluded
with a list of the important chiefs during that reign; the named chiefs, in their named
chiefships, constituted Buganda as it had been in ‘hat reign. In the civil war period, naming
the chiefs was also a way of identifying how those who had taken control of the capital
intended to manage the complicated problem of competing claims for authority between
factions of chiefs. The problem faced by the groups of chiefs who came to power was to
find a way to map the increasingly salient new categories of allegiance to Islam, and to
English’ and Erench’ Christianity onto the structures of saza and subsidiary chiefships.
Over and over again, these efforts failed. The order of Buganda, defined in chiefs of
territories and chiefs of important functions, could not hold together at a time when
organizing raiding had become the dominant occupation of chiefs. Furthermore,
attempting to insert new religious categories into the structure of chiefships in some
92Macdonald Report (1893) PRO Series Fos (African) F02/60, quoted in Waller, 32.

86
logical way created even more instability, because the new categories always provided
reasons for rationalizing renewed conflict. The various factions of chiefs attempted
successively more radical techniques for combining religion and chiefly control of the
provinces as the war continued.
In 1888, the Moslems and their Catholic and Protestant blood brothers assigned
the katikiroship to Christians, gave more than half the saza chiefships to Moslems, and
gave two heavily armed bitongole to both Christians and Moslems; but this division fell
apart within six weeks because an assertive Christian chief agitated for the post of Kauta,
a chiefship that included the function of cooking for the palace and also land in the central
provinces. His claim upset the precarious balance of power that had been negotiated and
led to an armed skirmish which caused Christians to leave for Ankole.93 Those remaining
in Mengo then had to carry out the action of identifying the chiefs of the nation again, in
order to replace the Christian chiefs who had left. But this exercise in naming authority
exacerbated tensions between Kiwewa and the Moslem chiefs who had brought him to
power, resulting in a violent episode that ended in the departure of Kiwewa, the
installation of Kalema, and a further naming of chiefships, to replace the ones who had just
been killed. Both the Christian faction and the Moslem faction appointed chiefs for all the
significant chiefships, even though they did not always control the sazas to which they
were naming chiefs. Wright points out that the Moslems twice reappointed a chief for
Kyaggwe when the intended Moslem chief was killed, even though the Moslem faction
never held that area after they abandoned Mengo.
93Twaddle, 38.

87
When the coalition of factions that identified themselves as Christian regained
control of part of the mainland near Mengo in October, 1889, they named chiefs for all the
sazas of the country. Two aspects of the chiefs’ action reveal the intensifying crisis of
authority in Buganda: the chiefs created an order of the nation that attempted to
thoroughly balance the power of Protestant and Catholic factions, and they made the
allocations entirely without the participation of Kabaka Mwanga. According to an eye
witness, Mwanga "had no power" in the allocation; the chiefs made their decisions, and
informed him afterwards.94 This is the clearest possible evidence that the central place of
authority in Buganda was empty. The structure of exchange in the country which, as
Waller argues, required everything to flow into and out of the center no longer existed,
and the figure who held the place that was also supposed to be that center no longer had
real power.
The group of chiefs who had beaten Kalema defined Buganda as a balance of
English religion adherents and French religion adherents at every level. The elaborate
system they devised of alternating Protestant and Catholic chiefs appears to be an attempt
to use the structure of chiefly control over territory and over subordinate chiefs to diffuse
potential conflict. The system is described in detail in the report of Captain Macdonald in
1892:
The Estates, chieftainships and posts of honour and importance were
divided equally between the two parties on a system which aimed at
absolute fairness and justice but which was so complicated as in itself to
contribute a great and ever present source of danger. The principle adopted
seems simple enough. Every holder of a post was to be under a superior of
94Wright, 117, 95.

88
the opposite party. Thus the owner of a Catholic shamba (estate) was
under a Protestant sub-chief, who in turn was subordinated to a Catholic
chief and so on and vice versa. In addition to this Buganda was divided into
ten districts—amasaza—five of which were headed by Catholic and five by
Protestant chiefs. Below these the alternation perpetrated [sic] but in
districts headed by a particular religious chief the estates belonging to him
were regarded as belonging to his party i.e. religious sect.95
The alternation of Protestant and Catholic permeated Ganda structures of authority: even
the estates of the Namasole, the Lubuga, and those of the Katikiro and Kimbugwe in every
province were supposed to have subchiefs of the other religious persuasion under chiefs
who held the same faith as the controllers of the estates.96
The orderly and logical plan imposed by the chiefs could not function in the actual
conditions in Buganda at that time. In the imagined Buganda of the named chiefships,
networks of chiefs expressed their relationship to each other by passing tribute up the
hierarchy and receiving gifts down it, but actually the sazas were devastated by raiding,
and decimated by famine and disease. The authority of chiefs should have derived from
their submission to the authority of the kabaka and the kabaka’s recognition of their role,
but actually, there was no authority, only intense competition among powerful, armed
chiefs, which was to be kept in check by their willful intention to share power.
The ordering of the nation under layers of Protestant and Catholic chiefs implied
that all people in authority were to be Christian. Since not all the Baganda were Christian,
this decision indicates the connection people made between political and spiritual authority
95J.R.L. Macdonald, "Report on Uganda Disturbances in Spring, 1892" Entebbe
Archives, quoted in L.L. Kato, "Government Land Policy in Uganda: 1889 to 1900,
Uganda Journal. 35, 2 (1971) pp. 153-160, 153.
^Macdonald Report, quoted in Kato, 153.

89
—people would have to be found, of the appropriate religion, to rule in each particular
locality, and the people below that chief would follow his religious lead. It is possible that
the coterie of chiefs who made this plan believed that commitment to Christian faith
implied a capacity to live peacefully. It is also possible that they chose complete power¬
sharing in every direction as a means to prevent any accusation of unfairness. Some
members of the coalition that had defeated Kalema were denied a leading role with the
rationalization "bhang is not religion".97 Since bhang smoking was identified with elephant
hunting, (and had been forbidden by kabakas in the past) the exclusion of bhang-smokers
may have represented an attempt to eliminate the instabilities associated with new wealth
and new military power.
Whatever the intentions and aspirations of the group of chiefs that devised the
ordering of Buganda in alternating layers of Catholics and Protestant chiefs, the system did
not work. The Baganda were used to changes in chiefship being ordinary, fluid, and easily
accomplished: this system required the order of chiefship to stay exactly as it was at the
moment the system had been initiated. Any change of chiefs, or any chiefs change in
religion, became a source of conflict between the English’ and Erench’ factions. When a
chief changed his religious allegiance, he lost his control of that chiefship. This was logical
since the chiefs had linked the political authority inherent in control over land to
prescribed religious allegiances, but it was impossible to carry out in the context of the
Ganda practice of constantly reordering chiefships. Irresolvable problems arose when the
Lubuga, Mwanga’s sister, changed from Catholic to Protestant. The chief Yoswa
97Wright, 95-96.

90
Wasekere changed from Protestant to Catholic, provoking another confrontation. Catholic
missionaries asserted that the principle of religious freedom required that people be
allowed to retain land, even if they changed religions. In the volatile atmosphere of 1890,
disagreements over who should control land quickly escalated into armed confrontation
between Catholics and Protestants. When a minor chief in Kyaggwe who held what was
supposed to be a Protestant chiefship became a Catholic, Protestants tried to evict the
chief and Catholics agitated for him to remain. Semei Kakungulu, who was at that time the
chiefs superior, travelled to Kyaggwe to resolve the problem, thirteen people were killed
on the disputed estate, and shots were fired in Mengo.98
Mwanga was entirely incapable of asserting the Kabaka’s authority over land that
might have resolved the disputes. The chiefs considered Mwanga to be someone who
could be "herded like an ox" and they manipulated him to get the decisions they wanted.99
In 1891, a dispute arose because Mwanga had secretly given a village on Bussi Island to a
Catholic, although this area should have been under the control of the Gabunga, the Saza
chief of the Sesse Islands, which had been designated a Protestant chiefship. Two
Catholics had been killed when they went to take possession of the land, because the
Gabunga’s men had refused to give it up, saying it was impossible that the land could have
been transferred if the Katikirro’s representative was not there to "show the land" and
make the transfer. When Mwanga attempted to decide against the Gabunga, a Protestant
chief stood up in the Lukiko and shouted at the Kabaka "No, sir Kabaka! You are wrong!
98Macdonald report, cited in Twaddle, 77.
"Wright, 99.

91
Do not adjudge so! Where were the Katikiro’s representatives? You are wrong!". Less
than a generation earlier, people had been executed for sneezing in the presence of the
Kabaka, but on this occasion Mwanga withdrew from the room, and the accusing chief
was never punished.100
Lugard arrived in Buganda at this time of fulminating tension, and immediately
became embroiled in the conflict over land and political authority. He was sent to set up
his camp on land associated with Catholics; when the Catholics discovered that he was not
a "Mufaransa" they demanded that he be moved. Mwanga told him to relocate so that he
was a guest of Protestants, but he refused to obey the king’s orders. "The people were
badly impressed by the white visitor’s boldness and positive defiance", wrote one
contemporary, and the name of Kampala hill was lengthened to "Kampala Alizala Bigwe",
meaning "the white man’s selection of Kampala as his headquarters will result in strife."101
The leading chiefs who were struggling to manage constant conflict over land allocation in
a climate of armed suspicion began to use Lugard in the way that they had been using
Mwanga and also Kalema: he became the voice of authority that justified the chiefship
allocations they were seeking. Catholics as well as Protestants sought the resolution of
land disputes with Lugard instead of Mwanga. 102 Lugard wrote that he
tried to form a court of arbitration [for the land and eviction disputes] in
which I could hear the circumstances from representatives of each side and
would act as arbitrator. I found however that no one would agree that this
l00Kalikuzinga, quoted in Wright, 118.
101Miti, 369.
102Wright, 117.

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court should consist of less than some four on each side. This number led
to violent and heated argument, either side telling a completely different
story, both undoubtedly lying. In addition, the circumstances were so
involved and intricate that I felt myself in despair of arriving at any
solution.103
The situation described by Lugard sounds like the Lukiko, the Buganda council of chiefs,
which met before the kabaka. The issues—cases related to chiefship and authority over
land—were issues discussed in the Lukiko, and the atmosphere of complex and passionate
debate was the atmosphere of the Lukiko. However, Lugard had taken the place of the
kabaka, and the Ganda chiefs had allowed him to do it.
Why did the Baganda chiefs allow a newly arrived British agent, with a reputation
for bad manners, to take on the centrally significant function of the kabaka to allocate
land? It does not make sense to assume that the Baganda chiefs deferred to Lugard
because they thought he had a competence or insight that they themselves lacked: a dozen
years later, when the British presence was more firmly established, Baganda were adamant
in protecting their control over land issues from any British meddling. European spheres of
influence in Africa were not an issue inside Buganda in 1890, and at first Catholics as well
as Protestants turned to Lugard as an arbitrator. Ganda chiefs gave Lugard and later
British agents kabaka-like powers in the 1890s because Ganda forms of authority had been
undermined first by the destabilizing cycle of long distance trade in cloth, guns, ivory and
people and then by civil war. In 1890, the Ganda chiefs were trying to integrate the
potentially dangerous new categories of religions into the familiar, formerly stable order of
chiefs controlling land. They were failing, and constantly renewing the possibility of war,
103Lugard, cited in Macdonald Report, Kato, 154.

93
because the order of chiefships they wanted to recreate required a powerful authority at
the center. Mwanga could not be that figure, and without doing so intentionally, the
Christian chiefs gave the role to "the Kampala European".104
The attempt to weave Protestant and Catholic allegiance into the entire structure
of Ganda chiefship in every province fell apart completely with the outbreak of armed
conflict in January, 1892. Catholics took Mwanga and fled from Mengo. Protestants
pursued them and "plundered a lot of cattle."105 Two months later, Kaggwa re-allocated
the chiefships, giving them to Protestants. Kaggwa avoided the accusation that he was
assuming the role of kabaka by resurrecting the title of Sebwana, the chief who had taken
care of the kingdom between the departure of Kabaka Chwa and the arrival of Kabaka
Kimera in the distant past. At this time, people discussed whether the ambitious Protestant
leader Apolo Kaggwa should become kabaka. Kaggwa refused, saying it would be wrong
for a peasant to become kabaka, and that as a non-royal person, he would not have the
capacity to judge impartially. According to Kalikuzinga, Kaggwa said, "as a Kabaka, I
l04My argument against the historiographical literature on the British entry into
Buganda begins with the contemporary chroniclers. Miti emphasizes British justice—
Lugard paid compensation when his goats damaged someone’s property, and he
introduced "justice along entirely new lines", Miti 375. Kaggwa elides the period in time in
which Catholics relied on Lugard as an arbitrator and defines the origin of the conflict as
the Catholic complaint that "the Baganda Protestants had as their Kabaka, the Kampala
European". Kaggwa 124/158. These accounts, and also those of later historians, fail to
acknowledge the effort to resolve conflict which was underway at the time Lugard entered
the country, and the way his assertion of authority fit in with the needs of the chiefs at that
moment. Also, historians have overestimated the power wielded by British agents, for
example, Kiwanuka states that from 1891 the colonial regime "took over Buganda and
ended her independence," 193.
105Kaggwa, Basekabaka. 128.

94
could not sleep well".106 Instead, Kaggwa continued to forge a relationship with "the
Kampala European" in which each met the other’s need as a legitimizer of his own power.
Kaggwa (and, initially, other chiefs as well) used Lugard and successive British agents to
consolidate the emerging chiefly hegemony within Buganda, and the British used Kaggwa
and the Baganda to conquer the rest of Uganda.107
The Catholics stopped fighting and came back to Mengo through a re¬
conceptualization of the structure of the kingdom: territory was assigned to different
religious groups. It is not clear who made this decision, which represented a
fundamentally different approach to the unending potential for contention inherent in the
categories of the new religions. Kaggwa wrote about the decision as though it was made
by Lugard, and most historians have followed his lead. However, Miti reports a rumor that
the Catholic missionaries had appealed to Lugard for a province for their people, and that
Lugard refused, saying that "as he was a white man like themselves and as such only a
stranger in the country, he did not consider it within his power to settle the matter of
splitting up the country. It was the duty of the people themselves, although he had a voice
in the matter."108 Lugard himself claimed, some thirty years later, that the decision had
been made by the Baganda,
106Kaggwa. Basekabaka. 129/161; Wright, 119-120.
107My argument against the British/Ganda collaboration literature is that its over¬
emphasis on Ganda and British interaction obscures the ways Baganda used British power
in their solution of Ganda problems.
108Kaggwa, Basekabaka. 130/162; Miti, 391.

95
There was never any such thing [as a "Lugard settlement"]. After the
fighting in 1892 the Baganda Chiefs urged that the two parties could not
live together without a recurrence of murders etc. and they urged that each
should take different provinces. This they did.109
The Baganda had used allocation of land to define relationships between people for
generations, and associating provinces with religious groups was a logical next step after
the attempt to associate religion with specific chiefships. Since Baganda chiefs had been
making the land and chiefship decisions before Lugard’s arrival, and since the new
allocation followed a thoroughly Ganda idiom regarding the meaning of land, it seems
likely that Ganda chiefs made this decision also, and it became associated with Lugard
when people looked back from a point in time when Ganda autonomy was diminished.
Ganda chiefs mapped religious categories onto Ganda sazas with attention to
Ganda forms of meaning that might have been neglected if the re-allocation of land had
been a British decision. A new drum with the beat "Reliance on the side of the Lake" was
created to identify Buddu as a Catholic area. Stanislaus Mugwanya, the leader of the
Catholics at that time, moved "all the Catholic chiefs who were in Bulemezi, Kyagwe,
Kyadondo and those of Kimbugwe and Kaima, Mujasi and Lubuga together with all their
people" and allocated a place for them to live in Buddu. The allocations were made by
Mugwanya in person.110 Bataka (clan elders) on butaka land in Buddu who were
Protestants were replaced as bataka by members of their families who were Catholic, but
109 Entebbe Archives, S.M.P. 6902, Document identified as 22ID .
ll0Entebbe Archives, SMP 6902, Butaka Commission Report, Mugwanya, 394.

96
clan members did not have to leave butaka land.111 All the Protestants chiefs in Buddu
received chiefships in other sazas; all the Catholic chiefs from other sazas got some
amount of territory in Buddu. The Baganda chiefs who planned these complicated
movements of people intended to create peace by separating the factions whose
disagreements had seemed uncontrollable. At the same time, the movement of chiefs and
people to newly allocated land was a re-assertion, after the chaos of the war, of the
productive and orderly purposes that chiefs and their followers were supposed to fulfill.
The initial 1892 allocations of Buddu to Catholics and the three small provinces of
Gomba, Butambala, and Busuju to Moslems did not create peace because the territories
given to non-Protestants were too small. Moslem chiefs who had held important posts
were forced to occupy minor chiefships without much land or many followers attached to
them. Mugwanya later said that he could not give any chief, no matter what his status,
more than four estates, "for had I done so I should not have been able to put all the
Catholic Chiefs in one single County".112 Catholics and Moslems felt that the
disproportionate allocation of land to Protestants violated the moral logic of the kingdom,
and so they withheld the labor which it was their obligation to supply to the center of the
kingdom. Refusing to provide people to work for the kabaka was the first stage of
rebellion, and tension escalated. Songs objecting to work circulated among Moslems,
"The Kasujju (chief of the Moslem province Busuju) said that to work for Mwanga was to
eat pigs"; and neither the Catholics nor the Moslem chiefs were able to muster respectably
11'Commission, Matayo Serubuzi, 422; Erenesti Kakoza, 450.
112Commission, Mugwanya, 399.

97
sized forces for work at Mengo.113 Conflict over working for the kabaka caused the
Moslems to withdraw and fight again, and as result they lost all but Butambala province
in 1893. Moslems had no alternative but to scatter and live on the lands of Christian chiefs
who would accept them: this marked the end of Moslem political power in Buganda.114
The potential that Catholics’ unwillingness to work might also lead to war caused a further
negotiation of titles and territory in 1893. This gave the Catholic faction chiefship titles
equivalent to the major titles held by Protestants, land between Buddu and Mengo, land in
Mengo, and also the provinces of Mawokota, Buwekula, Sesse and Busuju.115 Each of
these actions defined the nation in symbolically significant ways as both Protestant and
Catholic. Additional Mengo land gave the Catholics place in the center of the kingdom;
the newly created Catholic Katikiro and other titles affirmed the equivalence of the two
factions in the structure of the country, and the re-allocation of land gave the Catholic
faction rich and densely populated areas on the shore of the lake.
This symbolic and practical reconstitution of the kingdom effectively ended the
civil war in Buganda. This is how people remembered it thirty years later, "there had been
many Civil wars in Buganda and that what had put a stop to these wars was the division of
113Wright, 144, 147; Kaggwa, Basekabaka. 136/166.
U4Kaggwa attributes these decisions to "the European" (Major MacDonald),
Basekabaka. 140/168; 146/172; Miti claims that Mwanga made them after a long and
inconclusive discussion by the Lukiko and MacDonald approved. Miti, 424.
115Kaggwa reports this as a decision made by Portal, Basekabaka 135/165; Miti reports
it as a discussion in which Portal urged Mwanga and the Lukiko to take the action, 410-
411.

98
the country".116 The violent ambition of armed Baganda chiefs was channeled into
collaborating with the British in the conquest of the neighbouring polities. Mwanga’s
inability to rule with authority was resolved when he finally refused to cooperate with
chiefs and British agents attempting to control him. He withdrew from the capital, led a
rebellion of "bitter nostalgia", and was replaced as kabaka by his infant son.117
In the 1890s, the relationship between Baganda and a British "Protectorate" had
not become clear. The Buganda Lukiko made decisions and sometimes, for authority,
attributed them to the "Kampala European"; the British Protectorate officials made
decisions they assumed would be carried out by the Baganda.118 Although the histories
written by Baganda in the early colonial period describe the 1890s as a time when British
power was unquestioned, scraps of popular opinion from that time suggest otherwise.
Colonel Colville, the Acting Commissioner from November 1893 to December 1894, was
known as "Mmandwa", a man who is possessed and therefore not responsible for his
actions. Dr. Ansorge, sometime Acting Commissioner whose bizarre behaviors included
impressing chiefs into a chain gang, was known as "Njota Vvu"—a man without friends
116 Commission, 603 letter dated 13 May 1924, to "Chairman of the Commission of
Inquiry into the distribution of Land" signed, Kaggwa, Mugwanya, et al.
ll7Wright, 162.
ll8The later chapters of Kaggwa’s Basekabaka are the most striking evidence of Ganda
decisions placed in the mouths of "Kampala Europeans"; see, for example, 125, 126, 129,
162.

99
who had no one to bring him firewood.119 The long term consequences of political and
economic ties with Europe unfolded gradually over the next decades.
Conclusion
The familiar story of Buganda’s civil war explains how the uniquely enlightened
Baganda created their modern nation. Versions of this narrative usually highlight the
confrontation of Christians and Moslems with Kabaka Mwanga on the shore of the
Nyanza, emphasizing the inevitability of new ideas replacing old ones; the moment when
Mwanga invited the IBEAC to help him win back his country, explaining British and
Ganda cooperation; and Lugard handing out guns during the battle of Mengo, underlining
British power and later Protestant hegemony. It is also possible to see the civil war as
something not so unique; a time when Baganda are caught up in the vortex of change that
transformed East African societies in the late nineteenth century, and respond in ways that
have to do not only with their new religions, but also with the cultural resources of a
people who had established an ordered kingdom based on relationships on permanently
settled land. Placing Buganda in a larger context, the first critical moment of the civil war
was the raiding in 1888 by armed, uncontrollable ebitongole chiefs and their followers, and
Mwanga’s royal tour in which he raided and enslaved people across the nation: the
patterns of exchange which linked people and leaders had been replaced by violence. A
second significant moment in the civil war was the allocation of chiefships by a group of
Christian chiefs, who decided on the order of the country themselves, and informed
Kabaka Mwanga afterwards: the center of Buganda’s hierarchy was functionally vacant. A
119Wright, quoting Walker letters and Kaggwa, 169; Twaddle, 107.

100
protracted but essential element of the story was the failure of the system of interweaving
Catholic and Protestant chiefships at every rank: the chiefs in the Lukiko had recognized
the need to mold new religions into the nation, but had not found a workable method.
Finally, the resolution of the civil war, from this point of view, was not the arrival of
powerful British administrators who took sides and took control, but the creative,
innovative actions of Baganda chiefs, who re-conceptualized the nation as a balance of
Catholic and Protestant power, and expressed that new vision in drumbeats, symbolic
space in the capital, and in the allocation of chiefships and land.

CHAPTER FOUR
AT THE TIME OF THE MILES: MAILO ALLOCATION
Miles came to Buganda in 1900, when the boundaries of vast tracts of individually
owned land were measured out in square miles on top of the webs of overlapping
allegiances that divided up the ridges and hills of the country. No inherent, compelling
logic motivated the innovation of a new form of land tenure; as we have seen, Ganda
chiefs had successfully used the language of land allocation to demonstrate their
assumption of authority that had been the kabaka’s, and to reimpose stability after the civil
wars. Private property in land was in a way a misunderstanding—one consequence of an
agreement between Ganda and British negotiators which could not go according to plan,
because the Ganda oligarchy planned to use land and their alliance with the British to
consolidate their hold on power, and the British envoy planned to rationalize the alienation
of land in order to attract settlers and make the colony pay. Most turn of the century
treaties between African rulers and potential colonial powers involved a high degree of
mutual misunderstanding: the Buganda Agreement of 1900 was perhaps unique in that
both parties invested considerable resources and effort in its implementation, because both
anticipated they would benefit. It is ironic that none of their expectations were met. The
Ganda chose their land first, and the British crown land turned out to be mostly rocky hill
tops and useless swamps. Gaining title did not give Ganda chiefs the lock on power they
101

102
anticipated, because the social relationships which the Ganda defined through exchanges
on the land were fundamentally transformed by colonial overrule and a cash economy.
Mailo, the form of land tenure that developed from the land clauses of the agreement,
embodied the contradictory intentions and assumptions about land of its creators.
One of the enduring myths of mailo land is that the regents who negotiated the
1900 Agreement were land-grabbers, who offered Buganda to the British in order to
secure the largest possible amounts of land for themselves. The huge estates amassed by
Apolo Kaggwa (the Prime Minister), Stanislaus Mugwanya (the Chief Justice), and a few
others give weight to this point of view, as does the most available documentary
evidence, which dates from the 1920s. The nasty, imperious, self-justifying manner in
which Kaggwa rebuffed clan elders who had lost all their clan lands and were unable to
bury their relatives, and the proof that Kaggwa had allotted miles to all of his sons,
including one who was unborn at the time, makes it easy to support the view that mailo
did not work from the beginning because the big men were selfish. What actually
happened in 1900 is more complicated and more interesting.
The creation of mailo land is a story of intense intellectual and social creativity; of
meaningful things that stay the same in a new context, of things that have to stretch and
change, and of fundamentally important things that become no longer possible. In
allocating mailo land, the ruling Ganda chiefs carried out a complex and extensive act of
cultural translation. They inscribed the new order of power in Buganda, with themselves
at the top, into the spaces of square miles on the land, and they created ways for ideas that
were important in Buganda—such as the importance of remembered places relevant to

103
deceased kings—to continue to have meaning in a landscape of private land ownership.
The Baganda who received land and those who did not at first understood private land
ownership as a slight variation on familiar terms and patterns; the forms of marking
control over land, of attaching a person to land and a chief, and of being sent away from
land, were all applied to mailo land. One disjuncture between mailo and Ganda land use in
the past was immediately obvious: what happened to the authority of ancestors buried in
land to claim it for their descendants and influence the living if land could be owned by
people who were not descendants of the ancestors buried there? The elimination of the
authority of dead ancestors over people on the land was emblematic of the ways that
private land ownership narrowed and flattened the social relationships that land in
Buganda had always represented.
The Ganda chiefs who became landowners attempted to use their new property in
the ways that land had been used in Buganda in the past: to define relationships, create
sustenance, and achieve security and status. Achieving these familiar goals became more
difficult because the 1900 Agreement contained challenges to the Ganda order of things.
British "Protectorate" authorities competed with Ganda authorities. At the same time, the
chiefs’ roles as intermediaries in the calling out of labor and the collection of tax and their
inability to protect people from fines and harsh treatment undermined the logic of kusenga.
The authority of chiefs-turned-landowners was also threatened by the introduction of a
new vocabulary of status in European commodities and behaviors, and by the possibility
that followers could abandon chiefs and maintain themselves through wages or production
of cotton for cash.

104
Mailo Allocation and Authority in Buganda in 1900
Abstract allotments matching political status with an amount of land were the
beginning of private land ownership in Buganda. Following the Buganda Agreement, three
hundred and fifty square miles were reserved for the Kabaka, one hundred and fifty for the
Queen Mother, the Princes, and Princesses, each of the three regents was to receive 32
square miles, and each chief of a province was to receive 16. Mbogo, an uncle of the
Kabaka’s who had been a potential contender for the throne, got 24 miles for himself and
his fellow Moslems.1 The lower chiefs were to divide the remaining 8,000 square miles
which the negotiators of the Agreement determined would be the Ganda share of the
nation. In order to implement this miniature scramble for African land, the regents and
senior chiefs drew up a list of several thousand chiefs whose status entitled them to
become land owners, and the number of square miles that each one deserved. The most
important of these chiefs chose their miles first, and the less important had to find pieces
of land for themselves after the senior chiefs had chosen.
Although granting mailo land title was a new form of land allocation, the Ganda
principle that land was allocated from the center of power remained in effect. The shift in
power, evident during the civil war, from the clans and King to the ruling chiefs, was
!
intensified.2 The regents and the chiefs in the Lukiko, and not the Kabaka, made the land
allocation decisions. Authority to allocate land flowed down, as it had in the past, from
1 Laws of Uganda 1951, Vol VI, Government Printer, Entebbe, 20-4.
2 Entebbe Secretariat Archives of the Uganda Protectorate, Secretariat Minute Paper,
No. 6902, Transcript of the Butaka Land Commission, 530, Mugwanya. Cited hereafter as
Commission, with page and name of speaker.

105
higher chiefs to lower chiefs: those who wanted land brought a paper from their Saza
Chief to the Lukiko stating that he deserved to be allotted miles.3 Relative status of the
claimants was the criterion by which decisions were made: the regents and Prince Mbogo
won disputes about land whenever anyone attempted to challenge their claims.4
The members of the Lukiko were following a well understood set of rules. They
expected their authority regarding land to be absolute, and successfully challenged
encroachments on that authority. In July, 1905, a Saza chief, the Kaima, tried to
implement orders from Mr. Martin, the Buganda District Officer, regarding the
preservation of forest land. The Lukiko secretary noted, "The Lukiko was very displeased
over the Kaima’s behaviour, because he had only paid attention to the European’s orders
without caring for what the Lukiko said." They countermanded the Kaima’s decision, and
made sure their interpretation of mailo procedures prevailed.5 The Lukiko refused to
involve itself in land questions involving a kibanja (the plot assigned by the chief or owner
to a follower), even though it was wanted for the worthy purpose of building a school.
"Then we of the Lukiiko told them that we had no power over a kibanja which had an
occupant....Go and come to an understanding with Tela Sebugulu, the kibanja owner,
whereby you give him another kibanja while he sells this one to you."6
Commission 514, Kaggwa.
4 Commission 440-1, Kyadondo. Lukiko of Buganda, Records translated into English
by the East Africa Institute of Social Research, seen by courtesy of Dr. John Rowe, 24,
July 10, 1905. Cited hereafter as Lukiko, with page and date.
5 Lukiko 27, July 14, 1905.
6 Lukiko 78, 4 April 1907.

106
The ruling chiefs gave themselves more land than chiefs had controlled in the past
because they had more power than chiefs had ever had in the past; it made sense.7 The
creation of new chiefly offices meant other important chiefs had to lose land so that the
greater importance of the new chieftainships would be evident. For example, Seperiya
Kisingiri moved up from being Kangawo, one of the most important Saza chiefs, to
become the Omuwanika, a new position created in the aftermath of the civil wars, "and he
had therefore to look for another place where to make his headquarters of his new
Chieftainship, to which he had now been appointed i.e. that of Treasurer; and he had also
to look for some other estates in which he would mark out his private miles....So Kisingiri
selected Bombo where he made his private headquarters, and Chief Kibale was the
Lukiko’s representative who handed over these estates to Kisingiri. Again Kisingiri went
down to Luwalo and made his official headquarters there, where he had to turn out Chief
Musitala from the estate in question."8
The sense that the mailo allocation inscribed the new hierarchy onto the land is
evident in the testimony of a clan leader a quarter of a century later, at the Commission of
Enquiry regarding Butaka land. Abuta Lusekera, a Mutaka of the Ng’onge clan on
Buganga in Mawokota saza, had gone to cut poles to build a church, when he was met on
the road by a man who had come to tell him that he had been turned out of his estate. "I
left the poles on the road and went straight to the capital and went and asked Mugwanya
whether it was really true that he had turned me out of my estate, and he replied that it
7 Commission 511, Kaggwa.
8 Commission 516, Mugwanya.

107
was true."9 Lusekera was told that he had been allotted 8 miles of land, but he would have
to find them some other place, because Mugwanya had taken his land. He got a certificate
for two miles of land, went to the Katikiro (Prime Minister) to complain, went back to
Mugwanya and begged, and ended up with nothing but the land around his fathers’ graves.
The 47 estates he lost were part of the valuable fishing area that twenty years earlier had
been claimed by the Catholics, and before that, various ebitongole had been created
there.10 Responding to this accusation, Mugwanya was unrepentant. If he had taken the
best estates in Mawokota, it was because his new position—that had never existed before-
required the best estates. He said the Lukiko had sent representatives to take away the
land of Lusekera and his fellow clan leaders because "the question of miles in Buganda is a
very important one."11 He explained that they had to alter the original distribution of 1893
because a physical place, in the form of estates, had to be created for the new position of
Second Katikiro. "As I had been appointed the Second Katikiro I was given more miles
than the other saza chiefs, which miles I marked out on my old estates as well as on the
other estates which were given to me by the Lukiko, and which had been pointed out to
me by the Lukiko Representatives."12 This involved batongole moving to other places,
and "even the saza chief Matayo Kisule had to evacuate his own estate which I took up."
9 Commission 404-5, Lusekera.
10 Commission 400-1, 406, Lusekera.
11 Commission 28, Mugwanya.
12 Commission 529, Mugwanya.

108
His old chiefship of Kimbugwe had involved a certain amount of status, but his new
position required more, so he had to take other peoples’ land.
Ganda Meanings for Land Applied to Mailo
The procedure for becoming the owner of a mailo estate combined Ganda forms of
allocating land with European ones. The person who received a piece of land was given "a
typewritten slip of paper on which was written the estate."13 These papers had great
import; a request by the Mugerere in 1905 to exchange miles with someone else, because
that man’s "was more appropriate for a chief," was turned down "because these places
were already shared out and type-written copies of the certificates are already complete in
which names of the places appear."14 Once the typewritten paper was produced, the
recipient went to the saza chief of the saza where his estate was located, and the saza chief
designated a representative to hand the estate over to him.15 Alternatively, a
representative of the Lukiko was sent to resolve land allocation disputes; these
representatives had to be properly introduced to the saza chief by the Lukiko. The
representative who had shown the land was always mentioned any time that the recipient
of the land or the person who had been driven off of it referred to the transaction.16 For
several years, mailo allocation had the same kind of flexibility that Ganda were familiar
13 Commission 413, Kasolobugundu.
14 Lukiko 49, 24 July 1905.
15 Commission 493, Mukasa.
16 Lukiko 21, 26 June 1905.

109
with in land transactions: people traded estates without any reference to written
documents, went to the people who had the land they wanted in order to get it back, and
tried to convince the Lukiko to give them a better allocation.17
When a new land owner "took up" a mailo estate, the person who had been the
controller of that area left, taking his followers with him to the new land that he had been
assigned.18 Alternatively, the person on top might be the only one to leave, and the
incoming land owner would assume control of the people on the land. In this situation,
there was a clearly understood code of conduct for how the new lord would treat his
people, and failure to comply would lead to complaints against him.19 Bishop Tucker, a
keen observer and defender of Ganda rights to private land in his interaction with the
Protectorate officials, later wrote about the transition to mailo for British public
consumption, "The man in occupation had to be turned out, and he in his turn sought his
portion of land...the occupant of these had to be turned out, and so on. Thus the game of
"general post" went on merrily until the whole population was in movement. Streams of
men, women and children going east with all their household goods, cattle, sheep, goats,
and fowls, met similar streams going west."20 In Buganda people had always moved,
searching for a more amenable chief or location, or following bakungu and batongole
17 Commission 338, Mude; 364, Batanude; Lukiko 49, 24 July, 1905.
18 Commission 517, Mugwanya.
19 Lukiko 27, July 10, 1905.
20 Alfred R. Tucker, Eighteen Years in Uganda and East Africa. Vol. II. (London,
Edward Arnold, 1908), 260-1.

110
chiefs to their new posts. One of the few people who was not a chief who spoke before
the 1924 Butaka commission explained, "the bakopi were very anxious to become wealthy
so they went and became private tenants of the wealthy and generous chiefs"; bakopi did
not have graves that were remembered, because they died on the land of their chiefs, and
their descendants expected that at some time they would move to another place.21 The
ordinariness of this movement is apparent in Mugwanya’s description of evicting Jemusi
Miti from Mawokota in 1892: "When I was distributing these estates I came upon this
witness’s butaka estate, but I found that he had already packed up all his things and was
only waiting to greet me before leaving since he was a friend of mine."22
One reason that chiefs were willing to be turned out of their land was that people
did not realize, in the first years after the imposition of mailo, that the allocation would be
permanent. Mikairi Kidza, one of the leaders of the Bataka in 1924, used the Ganda
proverb, "when an acquaintance robs you, you do not at once throw away the pad on
which you have been carrying your load which has been robbed" to explain that those who
lost land to more important chiefs assumed it would come back to them.23 The Bataka
also reminded the Commission "Omutaka nyenje tefa muka," "The mutaka is a cockroach
which does not die in the smoke."24 In the past, if one kabaka had taken away land from a
chief or a clan, another kabaka returned them to favor.
21 Ndawula interview; Commission 540, Serugabi.
22 Commission 502, Mugwanya.
23 Commission 520, Kidza.
24 Commission 352, Basudde.

Ill
In choosing their mailo, people sought estates that were on fertile land, which
would attract lots of followers, whose presence would give the land owner prestige.
Estates near the lake, where people could fish as well as grow bananas and other crops,
were the most sought after. People who were allocated land that was not so fertile
complained bitterly, because no one would live on their land. Writing to Apolo Kaggwa,
the Prime Minister, in 1905, Isake Kajane, ’a man of Kaima,’ asks for different miles
because the seven he has gotten are in a place where matoke does not grow, and no
people will go there.25 Other people complained of getting land "in the desert," "in a
district full of elephants," or a place where leopards ate the goats. Wild places with many
animals did not have enough people; there was no point to owning such land.26 Ronnie
Sessane, one of the officers of the Lukiko revived in 1994, recalled a story told about his
great-grandfather. The elder Sessane had tried to select his miles in Kyadondo in the place
of his clan, but found that land had been taken by a bigger chief, tried another place, found
that land taken also, tried again, and eventually decided to give up on mailo. A missionary
friend told him to take land that had no people, because in the future it would have value,
and that is how the Sessane family came to own their large estates.27
The principle that an important chiefs land had to have people on it had been
established and reiterated by the District Commissioner before the Lukiko met in the
spring of 1905, when the Kago, one of the saza chiefs, told the Lukiko he wanted better
25 Kaggwa papers CA 17, Box 1.
26 Commission 408, Senfuma; Kaggwa Papers Box 1 CA 15, Yakobo Mbugaereamura.
27 Sessane interview.

112
land. "I have only 10 square mailo in my saza, six mailos are situated in Bulumezi. When
we heard "Bwana’s" advice that if a person got land in a place where there are no people,
if he found unclaimed land he could exchange his land. I am also in the same situation."28
People on the land were the critical elements in two land disputes heard in the
Lukiko in 1905. Samusoni of Bulemezi and another man, Daudi Kaitakusa, had been sent
off their land when another man marked out his miles in the place where they lived.
Samusoni thought the man had taken more than the four miles to which he was entitled,
and was willing to put up 10 shillings to have the land surveyed. When it was discovered
that the man had actually taken more than four miles, the extra miles were given to
Samusoni and Daudi, but when Daudi returned from being away in Bunyoro, he had been
given the whole land, even though he had a mile somewhere else. When Samusoni
complained, the property was divided into two parts according to how many followers
each one would control: Samusoni was assigned 13 kibanja, (13 families of tenants) and
Daudi got 7 kibanja. Samusoni got more because he had paid for the survey. In Senga, a
man named Musajawaza had been given the butaka (land with ancestral graves) of Bude as
his mailo, so Bude wanted to trade. The Lukiko determined that in order to get his land
back from Musajawaza, he should compensate him with 6 gardens, that is, the place for
six families of followers.29
The immigration of Banyoro onto land beside the lake caused a conflict between
Enoka Mutalabwa and Yonasani Waswa, who had been given either the same land, or
28 Lukiko 5, 22 May 1905.
29 Lukiko 55, August 28, 1905.

113
adjoining lands, by chief Kimbugwe in Bulemezi. Mutalabwa had received it first, but he
left only one man there, and the Kimbugwe later gave land in almost the same area to
Waswa, who immediately began to build. He also put one of his men there. When 30
Banyoro had settled by the lake, both Mutalabwa and Waswa wanted the place with the
people to be theirs. Mugwanya, the chief judge of the Lukiko, told Mutalabwa that
Waswa deserved it because Mutalabwa had not built a house on the land, and "anyone
who occupies empty land is not a thief." Mutalabwa objected that the land was his if it had
been assigned to him, whether or not he had done anything with it.30 The Lukiko tried to
judge the case on the basis of documents, but neither man had any papers at all, so the
Lukiko "gave the whole place to Yona Waswa who had done building on the land."31
The calculus of kusenga. the relationship of a land-allocator and land-receiver, was
clearly motivating people who obtained mailo land. Even as people were positioning
themselves to use mailo for the most successful kusenga relationships, alternative sources
of status and alternative sources of security posed an even stronger threat to kusenga than
they had in the civil war years, (see section 4.5 below)
Maüo, Ancestors’ Bones, and the Translation of Culture
The mapping of the Ganda hierarchy of chiefs onto estates of appropriate sizes was
an assertion of Ganda ideas about the meaning of land which coexisted relatively smoothly
with the forms of private property. Ganda uses of land that connected the living and dead
30 Lukiko 15-16, 12 June 1905.
31 Ibid.

114
were not so easy to reshape, and Ganda chiefs worked to maintain the important meanings
of land in a new form. The most important problem was Busirro—literally, the place of
shrines, where all the former kabakas were buried, and from which they expressed their
concerns about the nation through mediums who embodied their spirits, and where their
continued importance to the nation was demonstrated by followers who inherited the roles
of each deceased kabaka’s wives and ministers. The capital of the country always faced
Busirro, and the reigning kabaka visited his fathers’ shrines every month at the new
moon.32
The first decision of the Lukiko was that title to the land with the Shrines would
be in the names of the kabakas.
It was in this way: every dead Kabaka had his katikiro as well as his other
chiefs at the place of his burial. Our intention was therefore that each dead
Kabaka should be allotted one square mile which should be marked out in
his name. This would have been in conformity with the old native custom
for the deceased Kabaka to possess estates and their chiefs.33
If the deceased kabakas had owned the land, the people living on it, maintaining the graves
and sustaining themselves from the banana gardens planted around, would have been the
followers of the kabakas, and it was appropriate for deceased kings to continue to have
followers. However, the British Government told the Lukiko that "this proposal was
impossible since a dead person cannot possess property."34 The solution that made perfect
sense in Ganda terms—the place where dead kings are buried and remembered belongs to
32Roscoe, 283.
33 Commission 517, Kaggwa.
34 Commission 517, Kaggwa.

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the dead kings-was impossible in British terms, because only living people could own
land.
The eventual solution devised by the chiefs was an innovation which partially
protected the Kings from the disgrace of having the land of their graves owned by
someone else, but it contained dilemmas of its own. The Katikiro called the head of the
Princes, Mbogo, and the head of the Princesses, Nalinya, and others to discuss how to
solve the problem of Busirro.
We put the matter which we had brought from the Commissioner before
them, and we asked them to consider it care fully... they decided to give up
their original Mituba estates in the various counties, and each prince agreed
to return to Busiro to the place of his ancestors. A prince marked out one
square mile and a princess one square mile on the place of the graves of
their ancestors.35
The neatness of this solution—"when the Lukiko gave the princes and princesses land
containing the graves of their grandfather they were giving them their own butaka land of
their ancestors"—was not wholly satisfactory, not only because the kabakas were no longer
independent, but also because in Buganda princesses and princes had always been kept far
from the king.36 Princesses held large amounts of land and administered it using a
hierarchy of chiefs that paralleled that of the kabaka; kabakas kept princes far from
themselves, confined under the close guard of a relative of the kabaka’s mother, if they
were allowed to live.37 "We the Princes are not entitled to settle in Busiro where they had
35 Commission 518, Kaggwa.
36 Commission 466, Kaggwa, Walusimbi.
37 Roscoe, 237, 190.

116
now taken us for from time immemorial Busiro has always been owned by the Kabaka
alone."38 Kabakas had a natural antipathy to princes, the people who might want to usurp
the throne; it did not make sense to have princes take the land that made them caretakers
of the kabakas.
Another problem that the regents and Lukiko had to solve in allocating mailo was
what to do about land that had intrinsic value in the history of Buganda. One such land
was Mangira, which was remembered as the first capital of Kabaka Kintu, the first king.
The head of the Leopard Clan, which had always lived there and carried on the work of
remembering the importance of the place, wanted to have title to the land, but the regents
had given it to the Kabaka. "This estate was Kabaka Kintu’s capital, and that is why it was
marked out with the Kabaka’s miles." A place which was said to be the burial place of
Kintu was also assigned to the Kabaka.39 Since all land had belonged to the kabaka in the
past, assigning a specific land to the kabaka was a strategy for preserving the meanings
that adhered to it. People assumed that social relationships on land that belonged to the
kabaka would not be disrupted in the way that a change of owners would affect
relationships on mailo land.
The intractable, insoluble problem of mailo land was the conflict between the rights
of a land owner and the undisputed rights of deceased clan leaders over the land on which
they were buried. Living descendants of clan and lineage leaders were obliged to maintain
butaka, the banana gardens which held the graves of important remembered ancestors. As
38 Commission 419, Kaliro.
39 Commission 416, Kaggwa.

117
we have seen in Chapter Two, the actions critical to social reproduction took place in
butaka. These included ceremonies securing the health of children, marking the passing of
generations, and defining the descent groups of people responsible for taking care of each
other. Butaka were in every part of the nation, although the most important ones were
concentrated in the central, oldest sazas. Although people told Lucy Mair that ceremonies
related to childhood were held less commonly than before in the late 1920s, butaka
continued to be essential for identifying lineages and defining lineage relationships.40 The
authority of ancestors in relation to their descendants reached across time and across
space, but the places where they were buried were unquestionably theirs.
One way to remove the authority of dead ancestors might have been to remove
their bones from the land. Kabakas exhumed any bodies on land they intended to use as
their capital, and Bakungu chiefs forced the removal of graves when they feared that
people might be using the graves to establish rights to stay on that land.41 Apolo Kaggwa
outraged his clan members and the Lukiko by removing butaka graves from land that he
received as mailo. The bodies he removed were recognized to be his own clan, although a
different branch.42 A clan elder admonished him, "In digging up those bones you also dug
up your grandparents."43 He justified his actions to the saza chief by saying that unburying
“^Mair, 54.
41Kaggwa, Basekabaka, 5/88; "Enquiry into Native Land Tenure," 3.
42 Archives of the Protectorate of Uganda, Secretariat Minute Paper 6902, dated
6.2.06.
43 Makerere University Library, Africana Collection, Kaggwa papers, Box 1 CA54
4.10.1906, Sebantindira to Kaggwa.

118
bodies was not an abomination, because kabakas had done it in the past.44 In the Lukiko,
perhaps for the benefit of the Buganda District Officer Tomkins, he said he did not want
to rebury the bodies because it would prevent him from selling the land to white traders.
The entire Lukiko and Tomkins got tremendously angry with him, and forced the reburial
of the bodies on the butaka land. Masembe, a Mutaka of the Nsenene clan, wrote that in
unburying the bodies Kaggwa had "yamala kunyooma kika” —'expressed the uttermost
contempt for the clan’—and that he had done it because he thought there was no one who
could challenge him on this or anything else.45 People referred to the incident twenty
years later. Kaggwa had attempted to extend his rights as a land owner into control of the
bones in the butaka: the response from his peers demonstrated that a land owner's
authority did not extend to the graves on butaka on his land.
Although it eventually proved impossible, the Ganda chiefs attempted to reconcile
private land ownership in square miles with clans and the sub-branches of clans
maintaining control of hundreds of banana gardens that contained significant graves. Mailo
land was to be given to people who were chiefs, and the most senior bataka were all
allotted a number of miles, often six or eight, because they were the heads of the clans.
Lower level bataka, those who were the heads of the secondary or tertiary levels of clans,
were not all considered chiefs. The Lukiko attempted to find someone who belonged to
the appropriate clan branch, who was on the mailo allotment list, and to assign the butaka
to that member of the clan. This effort did not satisfy the Bataka who had lost control of
44 Kaggwa Papers, Box 1, CA25 Kaggwa to Kangao 29.1.1906.
45 Uganda Protectorate Archives, SMP 6902, dated 6.2.06.

119
the butaka, because the people who got mailo for Butaka land were often not members of
the line of descent who were supposed to be in charge of the butaka.46 The Lukiko
members argued that they had preserved butaka by allocating it to a member of the correct
clan; the bataka maintained that only the correct descendant could control the land.47
The Lukiko also made efforts to return butaka when it had been allocated to the
wrong person, and defended the right of clans to hold on to butaka when chiefs asked for
it. Blasito Kiwanuka described how the Nvubu clan had lost a Kasolya butaka in Mbazi.
When the leaders of the clan realized that their butaka had been allotted to someone else,
they called a meeting, and then visited the Prime Minister together to ask for the return of
their butaka. "He told them that if that was our actual Kasolya butaka land he would give
us one square mile, and the Katikiro asked them to give him a member of our clan to
whom he would give this square mile which should be taken to the head Mutaka of our
clan."48 In 1905, the saza chief Sekibobo asked for one of the miles belonging to Misusera
Kibude, because some of Sekibobo’s own mailos were empty, and "it is not very becoming
of a Sekibobo to have mailo without inhabitants." The Lukiko refused to allow him to
have the land, however. "That land was given to Mesusera Kibude. It is his butaka on
which there are his graves, we cannot take away that land from Kibude."49 Negotiations
^Commission 347, Musajakawa.
47 Commission 456, Kiwanuka; 396, Ndugwa.
48 Commission 453, Kiwanuka.
49 Lukiko 22, 26 June, 1905.

120
to preserve some kind of clan control of butaka are a recurrent theme in the early records
of the Lukiko.
The attempts that the Lukiko made to preserve clan control of butaka were
considered by the 1920s to have been unsuccessful. One reason for this is the degree to
which lost butaka had come to symbolize every possible social ill (see Chapter Six);
another reason is that loss of butaka became the one legitimate complaint one could make
against a mailo holder, and people who had other legitimate claims to land began to
express those claims in terms of butaka. Looking past the highly charged discourse of the
1920s, however, it is possible to discern that the allocation of butaka land to people who
were not the appropriate descendants caused real distress. People were prevented from
burying clan elders on the appropriate butaka and had to bury "in the jungle."50 Others
described being unable to hold the olumbe. the post-funeral rites that marked succession,
"and up to the present day the funeral rites in connection with the burial of this Mutaka
have not yet been performed, as his children have no place where they can gather together
and perform them, since they have now become just like slaves and outcasts."51 Some clan
elders, who had been allotted a number of miles, refused to take their miles and instead
became tenants in order to remain on the land with the graves for which they were
responsible.52 People also immediately began to buy the land that held their butaka.53
50Commission 448, Lugwisa; 358, Zirimenya.
51 Commission 486-7, Seryenvu; 425, Kaikuzi.
52 Commission 423-4, Lusekera.
53 Commission 503, Miti.

121
The implications of privately owned land, that all the rights and powers related to
that land are held by the owner, were fundamentally incompatible with butaka, which
affirmed the authority of dead ancestors over living people, especially the people on the
land around their graves. White marker stones kept disappearing from the surveyed land in
Bussi; people explained that misambwa. the territorial nature spirits associated with those
who had first occupied the land, were taking them because they refused to allow their land
to be surveyed.54 While some mailo owners allowed bataka to continue to live on their
land in order to accommodate the challenge to their authority posed by ancestors buried in
the ground, others responded to that challenge by driving off all the bataka.55 Chiefs were
clearly less comfortable with the alternative authority of butaka than the kabaka had been:
the possibilities for bataka to exercise authority over clan lands diminished dramatically
when a coterie of chiefs with foreign allies took the place of the utterly powerful kabaka.
A specific example of this is the Nvubu clan butaka on Mengo hill. Blasito Kiwanuka
explained that the Nvubu clan had controlled Mengo hill when Kabaka Mutesa moved his
capital there in the middle of the 19th century. The Kabaka took the part of the hill where
the palace was then built, but left the clan’s butaka intact. When Apolo Kaggwa took the
land as his mailo in 1900, however, he drove the clan off of the land entirely.56 After
describing how Kaggwa had been willing to give some of the land to others but not to the
54 Welboum, "Some Aspects," 175.
55 Commission 539, Bakunga.
56 Commission, 454-5, Kiwanuka.

122
clan elders who deserved it, Kiwanuka observed "kisala munyazi"— ’a stolen thing is
missed most by the thief —when it is stolen again from him.’57
Mailo Allocation and the Locations of Power in Buganda
Mailo land narrowed the locations of power in Ganda society. This subtle but
profound transition was in part inherent in tenure change -Ganda ways of using land
facilitated the maintenance of many layers of relationships of superiors and followers in the
same small geographic area, while mailo supported the authority of only one owner. This
difference in the uses of land, however, reflected an important characteristic of the sets of
tools for creating social order which were available to the Ganda and to their British
colonial contemporaries. In Buganda, the centralizing control exerted by the absolute life
and death power of the kabaka coexisted with a tendency to avoid conflict by creating
multiple avenues of power. The layering effect of this strategy was inscribed on the
landscape, as we have seen in Chapter Two. Clans, lubaale spirits, royal women, the chiefs
of ebitongole dedicated to specific purposes and the chiefs appointed to administer areas
might all exercise claims to the labor and produce of people in the same, or nearly the
same area.58 For example, answering the question, "To whom did the estate Namutamba
belong?" Aligizande Mude explained, "Some of the estates at Namutamba were occupied
by the kabaka’s cooks, and others were in possession of princes and princesses, and others
57 Ibid.
58 Roscoe and Kaggwa, Enquiry, 3.

123
belonged to the Bataka. There was also Ekitongole called "Ekikuta" at Lwogelo."59 In
contrast, the tendency of British colonials in Buganda was to consolidate power in one
location, and to check alternatives with force. When the range of social relationships
expressed through the medium of land declined dramatically with the creation of mailo,
this was only partly a consequence of the characteristics of private property in land. It was
also a manifestation of the colonial process of dismissing multiple sources of power, and
the inability of Ganda leaders to effectively maintain alternatives.
The contrast between the Ganda inclination to diffuse power and the British
inclination to consolidate it is evident in some of the early entries in the written records of
the Lukiko. Three men were fighting over the minor office of Búlala Mutuba. The Lukiko
gave it to one of them, created another office for one of them, and told the third to remain
in the position he had.60 Two years later, the position of head of the Clan of the Princes
was challenged by Mbogo, the Prince who had been a contender for the throne and would
certainly have been executed by the reigning kabaka in an earlier era. Mbogo asked, "who
will be the head of our clan between me and I. Ssabalangira?" The Lukiko resolved "to let
I. Ssabalangira continue to be the head of the members of the blood royal, while Mbogo
should be the judge to hear all disputes between the princes."61 In 1909, the Provincial
Commissioner for Buganda had requested a list of chiefs that had been approved to collect
taxes. The Lukiiko sent a list of all the chiefs, and of all their assistants. The PC sent this
59 Commission 337, Muda.
60 Lukiko 58, 4 September, 1905.
61 Lukiko 66, April 23, 1906.

124
list back, saying, he did not want to know the names of the assistants, that all the names of
the assistants should be removed and the list should be returned with only the names of
chiefs.62
Lands controlled by lubaale spirits through their bandwa. mediums, were entirely
eliminated in the mailo allocation, completing a process that had begun during the civil
wars. Mediums had been one of the main sources of criticism of the kabakas and restraints
on the kabaka’s power (Chapter 2); the loss of their place and their voice diminished the
possibility for disagreement with the central authority of the state. Apolo Kaggwa almost
acknowledged the lubaale’s role in curbing the power of the kabaka in his explanation that
Lubaale land had been eliminated because it was a "bad custom" instead of a "good
custom":
...most of the Bataka were of "Lubale" and the Kabaka used to turn out
these bataka completely...The good native customs were followed; that is
those good customs of the bataka which are calculated to keep up the
dignity of the Kabaka were observed, such as that of Mulumba - the
Kabaka’s Chief Gatekeeper, the Musolosa - the Keeper of the Kabaka’s fire;
the Nakatanza and Kibale who guard the Kabaka, and others of a like
nature.63
Spirit mediums continued to exist in Buganda, but they lost authority when they lost their
lands and their followers.
While the Namasole and other royal women were given amounts of land that
approximated their control of land in earlier times, their particular place of being outside
normal categories no longer had validity. The Namasole and the Princesses had been
62 Lukiko 109, 12 July, 1909.
63 Commission 513, Kaggwa.

125
people who did things other people did not do: they were women who did not get
pregnant, who had lovers instead of husbands, who ruled like men, and who had power
separate from the kabaka. Namasoles had exerted a direct influence on kabakas; princesses
were critical to successful rebellions. (Chapter 2) Their political role of providing a
counterbalance to the power of the kabaka lost meaning when the kabaka lost power in
the civil wars. The hierarchy of administrative chiefs established by the regents and the
British chiefs ignored royal women. After 1900, royal women had large amounts of land,
but they could not do with it what they had done in the past. Legal battles that lasted for
decades were the result of the continued existence of the forms of royal women’s
authority, even though they no longer had power.64 What royal women did continue to
do was to behave beyond the bounds of other people’s rules, "these princesses are also
very cheeky. When they come visiting they stay a whole month or a full week all the time
drinking beer and without any thought of returning to their homes."65 One origin of a land
market in Buganda was royal women selling land to support their dissolute lifestyles,
which was all that remained of their role as the focus of political dissent.
64 Lukiko 131-2, 10 October 1914; Kingdom of Buganda Customary Law Reports
194Q-1955; Being a Digest of Decisions on Customary Law made by the Principal Court
Qf His Highness the Kabaka of Buganda during the years 1941-1951. Compiled by E.S.
Haydon, B.A. and I.S. Lule, Senior Judge E. A. Printers, (Boyd) Ltd. Nairobi, 115-118.
65 Lukiko 74 January 24, 1907; AR Fieldnotes, Fallers Papers, University of Chicago
Library.

126
Ebitongole, the lands that had been designated for a particular activity, lost that
named purposefulness in the allocation of mailo.66 People continued to carry out the
activity for which the ekitongole had been named—the kabaka’s mweso board makers
continued to carve, and the kabaka’s cooks prepared food, but the statement of the
importance of their activity inherent in the ekitongole was no longer present. The mweso
board carvers stayed in the same location, but it was designated kabaka’s land. When
Mugema chose the ekitongole of the cooks as part of his mailo, the Kauta, the chief of the
cooks, took land in a different place as a chief entitled to mailo, while the cooks
themselves moved to a different place.67 The ekitongole of the bark cloth makers was
marked out as kabaka’s land; the bark cloth makers stayed there, but ceased to be the men
of their chief, the Kasumba.68 The disaggregation of people and their work, from the
person who was named the leader in charge of their work, and from the place which was
dedicated to the importance of their work represents a loss of ability to deploy symbolic
capital. People who lived on the kabaka’s land and carved mweso boards and furniture
were less, in a subtle way, than what they had been before—the people of the Ekitongole
of Mweso.
“I am reading against the tendency of 1924 witnesses and later commentators to
describe Ekitongole as compensation for work performed; I think that interpretation
imposes a logic of commodified exchange that did not exist in Buganda in the nineteenth
century when ekitongole became prevalent.
67 Commission 521, Kaggwa.
68 Commission 505, Mugwanya.

127
The use of land for remembering was also undermined by the allocation of mailo.
People were not obliged to consider the ways that a particular land was used to remember
past social relationships when they chose their miles. The regents tried to choose
appropriate owners for land that held historical meaning for the whole nation; some of the
land that was meaningful to clans remained under their control, but obwesengeze land,
which had been given to commemorate a connection between the Kabaka and a particular
individual, was almost entirely eliminated by mailo. An example of this was the estate Sai,
which Kabaka Mutesa gave to Nsukusa, the man who cleaned his courtyard, whose
descendants were known as Mulimyambuga "He who cleans the courtyard." The family
had struggled to maintain the obwesengeze land over several decades—they lost it to the
Katikiro but Kabaka Mwanga returned it, and its status during the Protestant/Catholic
land divide was also disputed. Zakayo Nkuwe, the grandson of the original cleaner of the
courtyard, continued to carry out that work, and tried to obtain the land as mailo. His
claim was the kind that had little validity when the miles came, because it was based on
marking a relationship to the kabaka. While service to the kabaka had meaning as a claim
to land before miles, the role of cleaning the mbuga was not a chiefship, and the estate was
taken by the Katikiro.69 The security of widows deteriorated as remembering the past
became a less important use for land: one of the main duties of widows was to maintain
69 Commission 388-92, Nkuwe.

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the graves of their husbands and remember them. In later years, judges noted with disgust
the willingness of families to drive widows off the land.70
Challenges to the Social Logic of Kusenga
The allocations of land by the Lukiko ended the use of land for sustaining people
who remembered important things, and the use of land for claiming the importance of
specific activities, and for supporting diffuse forms of authority. Yet in the narrowed
forms of the emerging colonial order, land continued to be a means of defining who was
powerful, and a means of binding followers to leaders. Logically, kusenga tied tenants to
landowners in the same way that it had tied men and women to their chiefs—the existence
of land title did not affect the relationship. However, the implementation of other parts of
the 1900 Agreement undermined the kusenga dynamic in ways that were not immediately
apparent. The authority which the British assumed for themselves eventually undercut the
power of people who controlled land. When chiefs collected taxes and called out the labor
required by the British at Entebbe, they behaved in ways that were unchiefly, and their
followers abandoned them in droves. As the social bonds of chiefs to their followers
deteriorated under the stress of being required to do too much, alternatives emerged in the
form of cash wages and commodities purchased with cash. The essence of relationships
anchored on the land were that chiefs provided protection, followers provided status, and
70 Kingdom of Buganda Customary Law Reports 1940-1955: Being a Digest of
Decisions on Customary Law made by the Principal Court of His Highness the Kabaka of
Buganda during the years 1940-1955. Compiled by E.S. Haydon, B.A. and I.S. Lule,
Senior Judge, Nairobi: E. A. Printers, (Boyd) Ltd., Civil Case No 38/46, 41-44.

129
clanspeople sustained each other: money began to be a means of acquiring status,
protection, and sustenance. Tensions involving power, obligations, and money that
originated in the initial years of the implementation of the 1900 Agreement grew in
intensity in the following decade.
Claiming Authority
In 1900, the pinnacle of the Ganda hierarchy of power was, in theory, the child
Kabaka Daudi Chwa, who in his youth still held the respect of the Baganda but was not
exercising any authority. Real authority over other people flowed from the distant Balozi
(Governor) and also from the assertively present regents, especially Apolo Kaggwa.71 The
chiefs accepted that the Governor had the power to dismiss chiefs arbitrarily. Kaggwa
reported a meeting in 1905 in which Bwana (Tomkins, the District Commissioner) told
three saza chiefs "I have dismissed you." The second chief, the Mugerere, asked why he
was dismissed. Kaggwa reported, "Bwana said, "Don’t you know that you are a drunkard?
And don’t you know that you are lazy? Do you do anything? And you even do not carry
out the instructions of the Lukiiko and you simply sit in your house and drink beer."72 The
Lukiko went on to discuss Tomkin’s complaints, and listen to the responses of chiefs who
had been criticized, but did not challenge the dismissals themselves: abrupt dismissal of
chiefs had been part of the kabaka’s power, and it apparently made sense that the
71 A substantial, somewhat dated literature describes the Ganda as collaborators
Kiwanuka, 239; (Low points out that the Ganda alliance with the British gave them
"unprecedented political supremacy" within their kingdom, Modem History. 87-8. This
perception underestimates the degree to which Ganda shaped the colonial interaction with
their own goals and expectations.
72 Lukiko 6-7, 29 April 1905.

130
Governor assumed it also. The chiefs also made the public displays of respect to British
authorities which were an important part of political power in Buganda. When the
Governor came to visit, he was received by Daudi Chwa. "Balozi was coming to see the
Kabaka at 10:00 am. The regents went to wait for him at the Kabaka’s house. When
Balozi came they greeted him. Afterwards he saw the Kabaka and then went away."73 In
September, 1905, the Lukiko apologized for not properly respecting a visit of the
Governor,"we, Lukiiko members, were very wrong for not sending chiefs in the county to
meet Mr. Balozi. We understand our guilt, next time we shall send them to greet Balozi."74
However, the governor did not have the kabaka’s authority over the life of every person
and could not act towards people as a kabaka had acted: partly because the Baganda did
not grant him that authority, and partly because Protectorate modes of expressing
authority were less direct. Ambiguity at the top was new for Buganda and the regents and
chiefs innovated in creating their relationship with the Protectorate.
In the first years of the twentieth century, Baganda interacted with the British
Protectorate officials on the basis of a calculation of equivalent ranks. The regents and the
most powerful chiefs met with, dined with, and sometimes prayed with the Protectorate
Officers for Buganda; saza chiefs were expected to take care of those officers when they
toured. Non-official Europeans did not get the same treatment. An engineer who
demanded food from a lower level chief was told that the chief "did not know what type of
73 Lukiko 21, 23 June 1905.
74 Lukiko 59, October 2, 1905.

131
European he was—in any case he was not a Balozi."75 Foreigners did not always have the
same understanding of their status in relation to Baganda; the Prime Minister Apolo
Kaggwa reported that a European had complained when Kaggwa did not greet him at the
Kampala fort, but, Kaggwa explained to the District Commissioner Leakey and to the
Lukiko, he had not greeted the man because he did not know him.76
Baganda slotted European strangers into Ganda notions of social hierarchy, and
most foreigners conformed to some degree to the expectations made upon them as
controllers of people and therefore pseudo-chiefs.77 Even British protectorate officials
initially interacted with Baganda chiefs in ways that emphasized their common position as
rulers over others, and de-emphasized differences based on nationality, which later became
paramount. A foot race from Entebbe to Kampala, held in 1908 to mark King Edward’s
birthday, hints at the contrast between power relations in those early years, and the forms
and fault-lines of colonial authority later. The racers were the subordinates of Ganda chiefs
and British officials—the list of winners gives their names, "their lords," and their sazas
(unfortunately, the names and statuses of the foreign competitors were not listed because
they were all losers). These runners "arrived here when it was still daylight before the
celebrations were over. They beat all the foreigners none of whom dared come near us."78
In 1908, foreigners could compete in races with Baganda in which it was certain they
75 Lukiko 13, 12 June 1905.
76 Lukiko 85, 17 August 1907.
77 Rowe, Lugard at Kampala.
78Lukiko 106, November 9, 1908.

132
would lose. The military and political indebtedness of the British to the Baganda to some
degree accounts for British officials’ respect of Baganda authority, but Ganda
understandings of their own power also shaped the relationship.79
In the years immediately after the signing of the Buganda Agreement, Baganda
chiefs expected the British to comply with Ganda standards of social relations, and
intervened when they felt British officials were not treating Baganda in an acceptable way.
In 1902, the regents complained to George Wilson, the Deputy Commissioner for
Buganda, about the treatment of laborers in Entebbe. They told him that workers could
not get food, that they were beaten, and that they had to work for too many hours,
especially because they were not given a break in the middle of the day. Those who were
left in the camp because they were too ill to work had no one to care for them and were
not even given water. The regents believed that people had died on returning to their
homes because of the bad treatment they received while laboring in Entebbe.80 Their
complaints led to an investigation and some apparently ineffective attempts at reform. In
1908 the Lukiko sent to a British official in Buganda two men who had been tied to a
telegraph post and lashed by a "European engineer" when they stopped his labourers from
taking food without permission. The Lukiko wrote "We too have seen the marks left on
the two men’s bodies as a result of the lashes. Some of the marks have of course
79 Wright on military, Low, Modern History. 88-9.
80 Entebbe Secretariat Archives, A8/2, George Wilson to Commissioner, Entebbe, 22
August 1902, quoted in J. A. Atanda, "The Bakopi in the Kingdom of Buganda, 1900-
1927: An Analysis of the Condition of the Peasant Class in Early Colonial Period,"
cyclostyled paper labeled "History Department, MSP/16, Northwestern University
Africana Collection, 7.

133
disappeared, but the bruises can be clearly seen."81 They expected the Commissioner for
Buganda to see the bruises and punish the European who had obviously acted
inappropriately.
The Lukiko initially maintained a clear sense of its obligations in relation to
Europeans, and of the British Protectorate’s responsibilities to the chiefs. In 1905, the
Lukiko refused to pay workmen who had carried bricks to build the house of a European
called Sitalaka. "The Lukiko told Luzinda to take the four men to Borup and tell Borup
that the Lukiiko was not prepared to pay the men. The instructions to move the bricks had
originated with Borup not with the Lukiiko and he was therefore responsible to see that
the men were paid."82 When Stanley Tomkins, the Provincial Commissioner, disbanded the
saza police, the Lukiko replied "We shall write now letters to saza chiefs to bring all
policemen here quickly when they will be discharged, and that they should come quickly
here to our office. Allow us by your kindness to do so."83 However, a short time later they
asked Tomkins to transfer the salaries of the police to the saza chiefs, who were then
doing the work that the police had done previously.84 A careful examination of the Ganda
chiefs’ interaction with British Protectorate officials shows much more than compliance
and collaboration. The chiefs made public displays of respect and submitted to overt
8‘Lukiko 24.2.1909, 99.
82Lukiko, July 10, 1905, 27.
83Lukiko 63.
84Lukiko 79, 17 April 1907.

134
assertions of authority, but they also asked British officials to conform to Ganda notions
of rank and to abide by Ganda notions of social obligation.
Cash and the Calculus of Kusenga
The real loss in Ganda power did not come from the existence of District and
Provincial Officers, to whom the Lukiko spoke with a voice of courteous authority.
Instead, cash wages, taxes in rupees and labour calls slowly began to undermine the
economic and social logic of chiefly authority. Rupees were fundamentally strange in
Buganda: a man named Sabakaki succeeded for a while in 1905 in selling small pieces of
marble to people who needed the new currency; he had made 600 cowries at least by the
time the market keeper arrested him.85 Rupees were different from cowries in what they
could do. Rupees linked the productive relationships of Baganda with British expectations
of colonial productivity, but this unfamiliar money also had consequences inside of Ganda
social forms. Cash became an alternative to loyal service in the calculus of power: with
wages people could acquire things that had previously only been obtainable through
kusenga. When the imposition of hut tax made rupees essential, everyone needed
something that chiefs could not supply. Cash and labor demands did to people’s
relationships’with chiefs what long distance trade had done to chiefs’relationships’with
the kabaka several decades earlier (see chapter 3): new possibilities challenged old
allegiances.
85Lukiko 24, 3 July 1905.

135
Rupees and the things that could be bought with them at first fit awkwardly in
Ganda patterns of exchange. The tendency of chiefs to mark their status with unusual
possessions continued as Baganda with money distinguished themselves with watches,
bicycles, and consumer items such as gramophones.86 However, it is clear that people
were adding new items into forms of exchange that continued to exist. At a celebration by
the Protestant community for the Gayaza girls school, in 1907, girls received prizes
including watches, Bibles, suit cases and "a beautiful box with a greenish tint." The chiefs
at the celebration all presented cows and goats to the Kabaka, and goats to the Namasole;
and Yosefu Kago, the host of the event, also gave a cow to the Katikiro and goats to the
other two regents. The Kago cooked three cows, one goat, and 481 miwumbo (basket¬
sized amounts) of food for the guests. His carefully compiled list included, among other
items, 28 bottles of soda, 130 gourds of juice, one tin of biscuits, one tin of sugar, and one
bottle of curry powder. In celebrating their girls’ school at Gayaza, and their strength as
leaders of the nation, the Protestant chiefs used the language of exchange of cattle and
food, and added into that familiar experience Bibles as awards for cleanliness and
character, and bottles of soda.87
The beginning of a cusp of the dilemma posed by cash is apparent in Jemusi Miti’s
correspondence with the Lukiko in the summer of 1900. Miti was a rising Ganda chief, a
servant, in theory, of the Kabaka. He had been instrumental in the British conquest of
86 Sir Frederick Treves, Bart. Uganda for a Holiday London: Smith, Elder & Co, 1910,
223; Kaggwa, Nsenene. 16.
87Lukiko 27, 25 March 1907.

136
Bunyoro, and was installed by George Wilson (Bwana Tayali, Mr. Ready) as the Prime
Minister of Bunyoro. Miti was acting in the best interests of Buganda, which he was
supposed to do as a chief, but he also needed to be maintained. The defeated Banyoro
were not providing food. In the new forms of expressing power, Miti needed a salary, not
the cattle and tribute of the conquered. Where would his salary come from? Wilson
suggested that the British Government might be motivated to annex Bunyoro to Buganda
if the Lukiko paid his salary. The Baganda wanted Miti in Bunyoro, and the Lukiko
members acknowledged the appropriateness of a salary, but they wanted him to kusenga.
to work for Buganda out of a sense of responsibility for the nation.
"Our friend, merely concentrate in doing that task which you were set for
our sake and for the sake of your mother country, without pay for these
four months... If any good fruits shall come out of your present work we
shall certainly remember your present sacrifices and you will be repaid in
full. You shall be remembered...We beg you very much to do your duty
with fortitude."88
That Miti stayed in Bunyoro, without the salary that ought to have indicated his status as a
chief, demonstrates that the sense of obligation to one’s superiors which the Lukiko
evoked was still very real.
Cash wages created an alternative motivation for working, and the developing
expectation that work ought to be compensated with wages deprived chiefs of an
important symbol of the allegiance of their people. In November, 1905, the Lukiko
discussed what work peasants were obliged to do for chiefs. Someone reported that the
saza chief Mugerere was not allowing people to cultivate for chiefs unless they were paid.
88 Lukiko 69, letter dated 1 August 1900.

137
The Buganda District Officer redefined kusenga as a form of compensation, suggesting
that peasants ought to weed the compounds of chiefs because that was were they went to
have their disputes settled.89 This functional reciprocity fell far short of the assertions of
mutual bonds that had characterized exchanges between followers and chiefs in the past.
The conflict is apparent in the saza chief Kiimba’s explanation of his disagreement with the
District Commissioner in 1905. Kiimba had chosen a man named Bikaye to accompany an
unnamed British official, but Bikaye refused to walk with him without wages. Kiimba told
him to go anyway, but Bikaye refused and instead went to the fort in Kampala, and
complained that he was being asked to work with no wages. Then the chief Kiimba was
called into the fort:
"Mr. Munala called me and reprimanded me for ordering somebody to go
when he had no wages. He told me to go and tell another person to go. I
asked him (Mr. Munala) whether the other person I may select shall not
refuse just as this one had done. I had chosen this person to go and I was
not going to select another. Then we quarrelled violently with Mr.
Munala."90
Kiimba returned home, and forced Bikaye to do the work he had been told to do. If his
people did not follow his orders, how could he be a chief? And if one person refused to
work without wages, why would the next one work? An indication that this threat to
chiefly power was not yet generally perceived is that the Lukiko criticized Kiimba for
failing to uphold Ganda standards of politeness towards the District Commissioner. It
concluded, "After listening to all this we found Kiimba guilty because he had caused this
89 Lukiko 62, 20 November, 1905.
lukiko 7-8, 29 May 1905.

138
quarrel by his insistence that a man, whom bwana’ said shall not go, should go on this
journey."91 In 1905, the chiefs in the Lukiko did not, as a group, doubt their capacity to
command obedience from their followers.
Cash wages destabilized the bonds of people to chiefs, not only by giving people
new expectations about the possible consequences of their labor, but also by providing a
new means to acquire status that had come from having followers. After working in
Entebbe, the saza chief Kiimba had a drum of praise, Kabalakoma, played along his route
as he returned home. The purpose of the drum was to inform people that the government
was pleased with his work; the Lukiko agreed because Kiimba had funds (presumably
from being paid in Entebbe) to pay the drummers.92
Men who had earned salaries as mission teachers, or as translators or clerks for the
Protectorate got mailo land in the original allocation: their wealth in rupees gave them
power that translated into chiefly status as land holders.93 These people were not buying
land with their wealth in money; they were being given land because they had wealth in
money. A notorious case of this was Bazade, a Munyoro servant of the chief Mugema,
who probably had arrived in Buganda as a slave. He became a treasurer for Mugema, the
saza chief of Busiro, the county where all the kabakas’ graves were located. Bazade was a
clerk and interpreter for the British in 1900, and he received a square miles of land in
Busirro, and later got two miles in Bunyoro. Twenty years later when the appalling story
91Ibid.
92Lukiko 17, 19 June 1905.
93Commission 459, Pasikale Bambaga.

139
of a Munyoro slave becoming the owner of a square mile was raised before the Butaka
Commission, Bazade justified himself saying he was "a naturalized Muganda" and "had
acquired all the native customs of the Baganda." He had gotten the mile in Busirro when it
was discovered that someone else’s estate was larger than the amount allotted to him.
When asked specifically if he had been a chief at the time of the allocation, he replied,
"I was a chief by virtue of being chief Mugema’s Treasurer; and I was also
Interpreter here at Kampala; and when Mr. Sturrock came to Buganda he
found me Interpreter here at Kampala."94
As holding an office for a saza chief did not signify chiefly status for others, Bazade’s
ability to convince the Lukiko to allocate him land must have been his status as interpreter.
Perhaps Bazade had gotten the land by subterfuge because he was a clerk, but that was
not the accusation made in the 1920s. Instead, witnesses were outraged that the Lukiko
had overlooked the man’s questionable foreign origins in assigning him land. In 1900,
before wage labor had become routine and even before chiefs began to receive salaries, the
anomaly of Bazade’s wealth that came from Europeans gave him status that had made him
the appropriate recipient of a mailo. Baganda mission teachers and wage earners obtained
mailo the same way; the objection to Bazade was not that wealth in money should not
have translated into control of land, but that Bazade was a foreigner.
Before 1910, rupees had become an essential part of the vocabulary of social
relationships in Buganda. This happened when salaries were added to control of land as
markers of chiefly status, and when rupees, rather than produce and labor, became a form
of tribute that followers were obligated to present to chiefs. Salaries paid to chiefs in
^Commission 483, Hezekiya Bazade.

140
rupees had the long-term effect of re-orienting those chiefs away from their followers and
toward the Protectorate. While this may have been the goal intended by the Protectorate
authorities, the salaries had different meanings for the Ganda and the British, especially at
the beginning. The British conceived of salaries as payment to chiefs for their work, and
withheld salaries when work was not accomplished, but the chiefs in the Lukiko seem to
have viewed salaries in rupees as a marker of status.95 In an argument about fines, Kaggwa
criticized his fellow Regent Stanislaus Mugwanya, "If poor people are fined Rs. 100 for
such offenses what will happen to regents who receive salaries?"96 The Lukiko asked for
salaries for people with high social status, whether or not they were doing work.
""Greetings. We are informing you that the Princes Glamanzane Ndaula and Yusufu
Kiwewa have no official salary. We beg the Government to consider their situation
sympathetically."97 Ndaula and Kiwewa had high status in terms of land, part of the thirty
two miles assigned to princes, but once the saza chiefs were receiving salaries, the
position implied by their control of land was no longer enough. Rupees became part of the
tribute that people on the land gave to those who had allocated it in 1908, when the
Lukiko recorded that it had decided "that for every produce from the land he (the
landowner) shall be entitled to a share of l/10th, that is Rs 1 from every Rs 10 proceeds
from the sale of whatever the produce from the land."98 This began the transition of tribute
95Lukiko 7, April 29, 1905.
%Lukiko 13, 12 June 1905.
^Lukiko 79, April 17, 1907.
98Lukiko 100, March 24 1908.

r
141
into rent, and rent into an economically valueless symbol of a social relationship, that
would characterize relationships on the land for the rest of the twentieth century.
Tax in Rupees and in Labor
While British assumptions regarding their power in Buganda posed a challenge
which was as yet unrecognized by the Baganda chiefs, and the insertion of money into
social relationships was beginning to have subtle effects on the relationship of chiefs and
followers, the imposition of tax in rupees had immediate, powerful, and dramatic
consequences. Taxation undermined chiefship, first, because chiefs could not protect
people as they were supposed to do, and secondly, because when people fled taxation
there was no one left over whom they could rule.
Ganda responded immediately to the imposition in 1900 of a 3 rupee hut tax,
which could also be paid as one month’s labor. Exactions by political authorities made
sense in Buganda, and people treated the tax as a form of tribute. The stations of
collectors overflowed with matoke flour, sesame, sisal, sheep, and cowries which were
accepted in lieu of rupees." The strong response caused the Government to change the
rules in 1901 to accept rupees only. (In 1901, the hundreds of thousands of cowries that
had been taken in 1900 were burnt.100) The Entebbe officials had difficulty finding enough
work for the labor that became available, and the poor organization of labor caused great
"Samwiri Mukasa, "The Record of My Service to the Kingdom of Buganda," quoted
in D. A. Low, ed„ The Mind of Buganda: Documents of the Modem History of an African
Kingdom. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1971, 59-60.
100Cyril Ehrlich, The Economy of Buganda, 1893-1903’, Uganda Journal. 20/1
(1956): 17-25, 20.

142
hardship. Payment of taxes became more difficult after the first year, as people had already
given the rupees that had been in circulation, and in kind payments were not accepted.101
At first, Ganda notions of who should not be obliged to work, because of age, illness, or
other incapacity, were upheld, even though the District Commissioner insisted on checking
the exemptions.102
Hut tax was different from tributes that had been collected in the past, however,
because people had to go outside of their productive activities to produce rupees, and the
wealth that was collected went further away. The secretary of the Lukiko articulated this
in 1900, "Ever since the European made the Buganda Government a well which he drains
at its spring—I mean the collection of taxes—what water do you expect to find in the
well?"103 The essence of the problem was that Hut Tax required rupees, which people did
not have. Some people pawned their children in order to pay tax, and others were said to
have committed suicide because they could not find the money.104 Hut tax drained the
spring of Ganda productivity by requiring cash that could only be obtained by offering
labor outside the realm of the Ganda productive activities. Not only did this movement to
work take people away from the hand manufacturing and activities that would otherwise
have occupied them, but people suffered great material hardship travelling to work in an
101Tomkins to Sadler, 16 April 1902, Entebbe Secretariat Archives, A8/2, quoted in
Low 1960, 101.
102Samwiri Mukasa, quoted in Low, Mind of Buganda, 60.
103 Lukiko 68, letter dated 30 July 1900.
104Mengo Notes. December 1900, quoted in Low, 1960, 100.

143
economy in which feeding was not commodified (see chapter five). People paid hut tax for
several years before the spread of cotton cultivation gave them a source of rupees close to
home, and the search for rupees in those years had enduring effects on Ganda social
relationships. A common response to the difficulty posed by taxes was the Ganda
response to a chief who made onerous demands—migration.
Leaving to avoid labor was ordinary and logical; in 1904, Lumondakuamatoke
explained his suspicious departure from the village soon after a fire had destroyed his
wife’s lover’s house was not incriminating, he had left because he "wanted to go and live
on another village where they do not work."105 By 1901, there was a colony of Baganda
across Lake Victoria in Kisumu, people who had left Buganda in order to avoid taxes.106
In 1902, touring British officials noted that people had left for German territory or for
Toro in order to avoid paying tax or doing labor. Describing Mawogota, Spire wrote, "In
passing through the county my course led me from one deserted village to another. The
place is fast becoming a wilderness."107 According to the reports of District Officers, 800
families left Buyaga in 1904, and 2000 men left Kakumiro.108 Even chiefs moved to avoid
taxation: Kaima, one of the saza chiefs, wrote to the Lukiko demanding that it send home
105Lukiko 4, 12 August 1904.
106Her Majesty’s Commissioner to Collector Kampala, 17 July 1901, Entebe Secretariat
Archives 19/1, quoted in Atanda, 4.
107Tomkins to Commissioner, 16 April 1902, ESA a8/l; Spire to Commissioner, 24
October, 1902 E.S.A. A8/2; quoted in Atanda 10-11.
‘“Enclosures in Tomkins to Commissioner^ march 1904 and 17 February 1904, in
ESA A8/4, quoted in Atanda 13.

144
his sub-chiefs who were hiding from tax by staying in the capital.109 British officials’
perception of population loss are confirmed by reports from the saza chiefs of famine and
marauding animals. Wild animals came into populated areas when the population
declined. Samwiri Mukasa, the saza chief of Bulemezi, wrote that wild pigs, bush bucks,
monkeys and buffaloes were eating food, and even intercepting people on the roads, and
there was famine in the area in 1907.110
Conflicts over labor created an impossible contradiction for people who saw
themselves as wielding authority within the logic of kusenga. Providing what one’s
superior asked for was essential to being a chief; taking care of followers was also
essential to being a chief. In the same years that the powerful chiefs of Buganda were
assigning to themselves huge mailo estates, they were attempting to satisfy their superiors
and hold onto the people below them. By the time cotton cultivation reversed the flow of
people out of Buganda, the character of chiefship had perceptibly shifted.
Chiefs in the Lukiko did not seem to question their ability to supply the labor
asked for by the Protectorate and that which was required for the "good of the kingdom."
When chiefs experienced difficulty meeting excessive labor demands, they blamed each
other for defective techniques in calling out labor. While the Ganda chiefs willingness to
provide labor has been seen as evidence of their eagerness to collaborate with British
overrule, their concern for meeting labor demands can also be understood as an assertion
109 Lukiko 64, 18 December 1905.
110Lukiko 85, August 12, 1907.

145
of their capacity as rulers of people. The Lukiko’s response to a request for 500 laborers in
September, 1905, is typical:
"We have seen it [your letter] very well. We shall immediately send
messages to the counties where drums shall be sounded. That is how men
shall be gathered quickly. As soon as they arrive we shall send them to you.
Goodbye our friend."111
They immediately wrote to the saza chiefs:
"Mr. S. Tomkins very much wants labourers to the number of 500 on this
very day. Go through the people and beat drums and send all those who
respond to the drum. Everybody shall find work, even those who have
already paid their poll tax should come and work for more rupees to make
them rich."112
The Lukiko’s cheerful request for 500 workers immediately indicates the chiefs’
perception, in 1905, that people would be available to work when they were asked to do
it. The demands made that year were listed by Stanley Tomkins following his tour to
investigate the massive out-migration of Ganda peasants: the people who spoke to him
said they had to work one month for their three shilling tax to the Protectorate
Government, one month for the chief, they had to cultivate Government land, and do
"Bulungi Bwa Nsi," the work of bridging swamps, building the houses and fences of
chiefs, and maintaining roads which Ganda men had always done. 113
“'Lukiko 56, 4 September 1907.
ll2Ibid.
113Stanley Tomkins, Report of a Tour Through Mawokota. Busuju. Gomba. Buddu.
Kabula. Singo, 12 November 1903, Enclosure in Tomkins to Commissioner, Entebe, 13
November 1903, E.S.A. A8/3, quoted in Atanda, 12.

146
Whatever the chiefs expected, Ganda commoners were not able to meet the
multiplying demands for their labor. Bickering about which chiefs were and were not
doing their share providing labor became common in the Lukiko. Tomkins suspected,
probably correctly, that the largest landowners were able to direct calls for labor away
from their own tenants and he threatened to stop chiefs "who are actually avoiding making
their people work, to induce crowds to settle on their lands.”114 When the saza chief
Kasuju complained that "now when we call them (people asked to come out to work] they
won't come," he was told to call people only for important business, not small
occasions.115 Mbogo, the uncle of the Kabaka, complained that Mamba clansmen should
have helped to rebuild the shrine of deceased Kabaka Suna, but "I am the only one
working on the building..., with the people on my estate. The Mamba clansmen should not
lie to you by saying that they work under their leader. Because Wapore could not find men
and he consequently returned here."116 Chiefs accused each other of forcing other people's
tenants to work, and leaving their own undisturbed. A landlord with one mailo and three
tenants, for example, might be asked to provide all three for a communal project, and
when his superior asked for more people and he had none to provide, the landowner
would be fined. Kaggwa lectured the chiefs in the Lukiko that this problem was "due to
you chiefs who tend to choose men other that your own tenants or if you do choose them
114Tomkins to Sadler, 18 November 1903 E.S.A. A8/4, quoted in Atanda 13.
115Lukiko 9, 29 May 1905.
116Lukiko 80, 22 April 1907.

147
then you do not know how to choose men."117 The expectation that people would leave
home to work "for rupees to make them rich" was coming directly into conflict with the
expectation that people producing on the land would make chiefs powerful.
Trying to determine why it had been unable to find 1,000 workers that had been
asked for early in 1907, the Lukiko investigated how many workers had been supplied by
each saza chief. It punished the chiefs who had not sent a large number of men with fines
of Rs. 5, 7, or 15, and those who had not sent any with fines of Rs. 50.118 This action led
to an angry discussion in which the chiefs accused each other of fining improperly. The
saza chief Kitunzi said that in order to find laborers,
"the Kabaka should empower us to fine any of the people we govern. That
is how they will grow to respect us and summon people quickly to respond
when we call."
But Lubebe responded,
"Is he saying so because he has never fined any of us since he became Saza
chief? When he always fines people, does he come to you first to ask
permission?"
Kitunzi, shamed, sat down without saying a word. This prompted the powerful saza chief
Kasuju to point out that the regents were constantly fining the saza chiefs, but "the
Kampala people" never imposed fines. The minutes of the Lukiko record "We saw that his
was a question that might incite others to disobey. So we told him that although we were
not fined by the Kampala powers we would continue fining others including himself."119
II7Lukiko 12, 17 April 1907.
118Lukiko 81, 10 June 1907.
119Lukiko 82, 10 June 1907.

148
The chiefs in the Lukiko were struggling with a problem of authority that arose from labor
requests by "the Kampala people," which were beyond the capacity of Buganda to meet.
But in order to demonstrate their capacity and effectiveness as chiefs, to themselves and to
Kampala, the Ganda chiefs struggled to make laborers available. The pressure that was
exerted, from regents to saza chiefs, from saza chiefs to lower chiefs, and from lower
chiefs to people, altered the expectations of the interactions of chiefs and followers.
When people responded to the intensifying tax and labor demands by migrating,
efforts to obtain tax and labor became more coercive. The Lukiko eliminated the
exemption for people living on Protestant and Catholic Missionary estates, because "we
have many tasks nowadays, what with being asked to provide labourers for Kampala we
are conferring very hard and that is why saza chiefs were called upon to get labourers
from estates belonging to the churches."120 In December, 1908, Kaggwa proposed a
draconian plan under which any person who had not worked at construction, bridge
building, or employment for Europeans would be fined 10 rupees: 3 for tax, 3 for not
working, and 4 as rent to their landlords. Kaggwa reported to the Lukiko a discussion he
had had with the Governor, which, whether he intended it or not, graphically described the
effects of cash on Ganda productive relationships,
"If we do not go into this matter, how shall all the people have to be
employed? Europeans have been able to make so much cotton cloth which
all the people now wear and this means no employment for our workers
who used to make barkcloth. We do not even have a smithy for the making
120Lukiko 79, 17 April 1907.

149
of iron sheets. There is only one occupation and that is to be employed on
manual jobs."121
In September, 1909, Kaggwa told the Lukiko that people would not be allowed to move
away from their bibanja (plots of allocated land) until they had paid their tax. Also, anyone
who had not paid their tax by the end of March would be fined an extra Rs. 2.122 The
conundrum of chiefs and Protectorate officials asking for more from people who had the
option of withdrawing their labor and moving away was resolved with the rapid spread of
cotton cultivation for cash. Cash income from cotton production eased some of the
tensions that taxation had introduces into Ganda social relationships, but at the same time
it exacerbated challenges to the social logic of kusenga and the social network of clans.
Conclusion
The allocations of private land made by the Lukiko demonstrated the continuing
validity of Ganda perceptions of land, but also the limitations of those meanings in a new
context. The ruling chiefs, who had absorbed much of the power of the kabaka, used
mailo to solidify their power through control of land. Clan heads lost control of substantial
amounts of land, expressing the reduced power of clans in the current political order; and
the authority of the Lukiko to allocate all land immediately came in conflict with the
authority of the dead over land. Ganda intentions with mailo were the goals of kusenga:
chiefs who were allocated land without people complained and tried to get different land;
121Lukiko 106, 14 December 1908.
122Lukiko 112, 27 September 1909.

150
and remembered histories emphasize the apparent worthlessness of land without people.
However, the logic of kusenga was profoundly challenged by implementation of the Hut
Tax component of the 1900 agreement. The draining of the spring of Ganda productivity
through taxes and labor demands created tensions in the relationships of superiors to then-
people at the same time that cash wages began to provide alternative sources of both
status and sustenance. The allocation of mailo land contributed to a narrowing of the
locations of power in Buganda, while cash wages, taxes and labor demands strained
Ganda social relationships.

CHAPTER FIVE
CHALLENGES TO GANDA SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS, 1906-1920
In the years immediately following the consolidation of power by elite Protestant
chiefs through the allocation of mailo, Ganda social institutions underwent subtle but
profound transformations. After the upheaval of the late nineteenth century, people had
attempted to resume familiar, effective habits of interaction that protected and sustained
them and maintained Buganda from generation to generation. With the abolition of
ebitongole chiefship and other forms of authority represented in control of land,
productive labor no longer defined particular groups of people in the way it had in the
past. However, work and gifts of the fruits of work still linked all the parts of the Ganda
polity. Mailo land owners, like chiefs, attached followers through kusenga: the assignment
of a plot of land implied an exchange of protection from the land giver, and loyalty and
service from the land receiver. In 1900, clan elders still maintained links between people
in gatherings at the burial sites of ancestors, and lineage networks and less formal groups
of neighbors continued to provide for each other assistance in house-building, loaned
food, and hospitality to strangers that enabled people to ensure their well-being. Half a
generation later, in about 1920, the institutions of chief, clan, and lineage network still
existed, but peoples' strategies for sustenance had changed. Networks of support and
expectations of reciprocity operated on a smaller scale.
151

152
Many explanations for the transformation of Ganda social relationships do not
actually hold up under close examination. British colonial authorities did not cause them:
whatever intentions they might have had for social change in the colony, Ganda men and
women made decisions about their own lives without European participation. Nor is it
accurate to assume that rupees, wages, cash crops and masses of goods for purchase had
automatic effects on the values, goals, and life strategies of Baganda. What happened in
Buganda in the early twentieth century does not confirm the perception of missionaries,
traders, and colonial officers—clearly resonant in the discourse of Marxist thinkers and
neo-liberal development planners in more recent times—that cash and consumer goods had
an intrinsic weight that would pull people towards individualistic motivations and displace
the logic of production for the purpose of maintaining social relationships. Actually,
people in Buganda used cash money, obtained through wage labor, sale of cotton, or
independent trade, to pursue the acquisition of wealth in people. Land-rich Ganda chiefs
and relatively poor Ganda tenants attracted followers, in the form of migrant laborers from
other parts of Buganda and the Belgian colonies. Ganda adherence to non-commodified
forms of social relationships gave the Baganda a consistent advantage over European
employers in attracting and keeping labor.
The intense, overwhelming demands on Ganda productive activity, more than any
other factor, exerted pressure on Ganda social institutions that reduced their range and
effectiveness. In a society which defined and perpetuated social institutions through
exchanges of labor and produced goods, extraordinary calls on people's labor made the
maintenance of institutions impossible. The relationship of chiefs and their people, and the

153
strength of links among clan members, were stretched beyond endurance by multiple
demands. These included labor for chiefs, the king, and the local community, and labor
for colonial building projects and maintenance. At the same time, trade, education, and
cotton cultivation offered Baganda new ways to invest their productive capacities. There
were simply not enough people in Buganda, particularly after the demographic decline
caused by war, plague, famine, sleeping sickness, to do the work to sustain all these
relationships.
The constant, enervating labor demands of the first decades of colonial rule had
permanent effects on Ganda society. The institution of chiefship split in two: appointed
chiefs remained but lost much of their credibility as protectors of people, while thousands
of people replicated chiefship on a tiny scale by becoming owners of relatively small
amounts of land and offering a reduced level of protection and patronage to followers.
The power of lineage networks and clans to take care of people was reduced by the
colonial control of the paths to political power. Lineage networks were also fundamentally
challenged by women's increasing ability to set up households independent of men, and the
possibility that heirs might choose to commodify the assets of a lineage for their own
personal benefit.
World War I and the boom in commodity prices after the war intensified demands
for labor. People to do all the work that was called for could not be found without
coercion; consequently, fines rather than gifts came to dominate the language of exchange.
By 1920, things people would have taken for granted only a few years earlier- that
courtesy would characterize interactions with the powerful, that food would be available if

154
they travelled, that women would remain dependent under husbands or brothers, that a
nearby chief would provide decent living conditions if their own chief did not—were no
longer necessarily true.
Ganda leaders who launched an articulate protest against the changes in Buganda
(described in Chapters Six and Seven) claimed that a cash economy and British overrule
were not incompatible with Ganda forms of organizing society. They stated that what had
ruined Buganda was chiefs who did not rule well, and they asked for the return of
authority figures, such as clan leaders, who would do a better job. In the context of the
enormous pressures exerted on Ganda social institutions after 1900, their diagnosis makes
sense. In this chapter I argue that incessant demands for labor by the colonial government
provoked the protest about Butaka land. Ganda chiefs and lineage networks could not
maintain their role of caring for people in the face of the overwhelming labor demands.
The first section outlines the layering of demands on people's productive activity from the
beginning of cotton production in 1904 to 1923, when kasanvu (forced labor) was
abolished. The second section considers the effect of those demands on kusenga. the
relationship that connected chiefs and their followers. The third section examines the
deterioration of clans and lineage networks' ability to take care of people. The final section
describes how Baganda responded to the demands that were being made on them: by
recreating chiefship as land ownership, by developing new strategies for clan support, and,
in 1919, by protesting to the Protectorate Government in Entebbe that its labor demands
were unbearable and things would have to change.

155
Too Much Work: New Labor. Old Tribute, and the Possibilities of Cash for Cotton
In Buganda before 1893, people's work expressed a relationship of allegiance with
a chief or other leader. Men built broad roads and bridges over swamps that led to the
capital from all directions. They made fences and houses in the chiefs compound, and
brought beer and bark cloth to their chief. People also responded when their own leader
was called to do work for the king. They built fences and houses in the capital, produced
goods that were the particular responsibility of that chiefship, and fulfilled the multiple
work requirements of the king. Men also responded to labor calls from leaders of their
clan to maintain the shrines of deceased kings.1 Devotees of a lubaale spirit built homes
and farmed in proximity to a medium. The importance of work in maintaining relationships
is evident in the missionary C.W. Hattersley's description of people assembling to rebuild
the tomb of Mutesa in 1907. Chiefs had been "stationed" on all the main roads, and at
3:30 in the morning the king's drums signalled it was time to assemble. When Hattersley
arrived some time after she, he found "the whole countryside" gathered and "quite two
thousand men" engaged in replacing the roof.
When the squad of men belonging to a given chief had finished their part of
the work they seized a reed and came before their chief, and before the
Katikiro, to announce the completion of their portion, and danced up and
down chanting peculiar refrains and behaving generally like madmen.2
‘Transcription of the Records of the Buganda Lukiko, English translation of the East
African Institute of Social Research, seen by courtesy of Dr. John Rowe, 80, 27 May
1907. Hereafter referenced as Lukiko Record, with page number and date; Africana
Collection of Makerere University, Papers of Apolo Kaggwa, Box XX CB 114, S. M.
Kangawo to Apolo Kaggwa, 14 August 1911.
2Hattersley, Baganda at Home. 20.

156
The Lukiko gave Sezi Senkezi 130 rupees to thank him for supervising the work which
Hattersley observed, but doing the work had been the obligation-and privilege-of
everyone able to participate.3
How to obtain labor was a problem for newcomers to Buganda who wielded no
authority over other people. Missionaries and travellers moved through the country only
when it suited the Kabaka; otherwise, porters and food were not available. From the
1880s onward, visitors to Buganda who needed labor of some kind made arrangements
with a chief, whose men then did the work. James Miti, who as a mid-level chief at this
time would have experienced the dilemma himself, explained:
Any man chosen to do such work was bound to obey and to go wherever
he was required without being paid for his labour. African labour was
cheap in those days and porters used to be obtained free of cost to
transport luggage belonging to a Government official or to any other
member of the European community in the country to places such as far-off
Nimule and others...it was almost as difficult a task for the chief to obtain
the necessary number of porters required from him from among his men as
it was for the latter themselves to leave their homes and families and put in
a spell of compulsory labour in a foreign country and for an indeterminate
period under the most trying conditions.4
The Catholic and Protestant missions received labor given to them by chiefs who had
converted, and also established the right to receive labor as "chiefs" of church-controlled
land.5 The authorities of the newly established Protectorate experimented with various
3Lukiko Records, 94, 16 December, 1907.
4James Miti, the History of Buganda, 784.
5 G.F. Scott Elliot, A Naturalist in Mid-Africa. London, Innes, 1896, 53, quoted in P.
G. Powesland, Economic Policy and Labour. Kampala: East African Institute of Social
Research, No. 10, 1957, 5; Hansen, Holger Bernt. Mission-
Church and State in a Colonial Setting: Uganda 1890-1925 (New York: St. Martin's

157
means of obtaining labor. British administrators who had respectful relationships with
Ganda chiefs were able to obtain laborers, but chiefs refused to supply labor to British
officers like W. J. Ansorge, known to the Ganda as "Njota Vuu" (a person who is so anti¬
social that no one will bring him firewood and therefore he stays in the dark).6 The
Protectorate also began to pay Shs. 6 per month to Baganda working in Port Alice in
1897. From that year missionaries were also able to find some people willing to work for
wages, while continuing to obtain labor through their relationships with chiefs.7
Work Obligations in the New Buganda
Taxation
Unable or unwilling to conform to cultivate good will in order to receive labor, the
Protectorate Government circumvented Ganda moral economy by imposing taxation. As
we have seen in Chapter Four, the imposition of hut tax in 1900 and poll tax in 1905 had
immediate and dramatic consequences: thousands of people left their homes to find
rupees, and the inadequate provisions made for people laboring in lieu of tax caused great
hardship and a significant number of deaths.8 Although the Protectorate Government had
been the first main beneficiary of people looking for ways to earn tax money, Ganda men
Press, 1984), 91.
6W.J. Ansorge, Under the African Sun. London: Heinemann, 1899, 92.
7Hansen, 92. P. G. Powesland, "History of the Migration in Uganda", in Economic
Development and Tribal Change. Audrey I. Richards, ed., Cambridge: W. Heffer & Sons
for the East African Institute of Social Research, 1954, 18.
8 Bachelors were required to pay a poll tax of Rs. 2 starting in 1905, and in 1909 hut
tax was abolished and replaced by a Rs. 5 poll tax on all adult males. Hansen, 178.

158
soon found other means. Some began to organize trading caravans to the Congo Free
State and to German East Africa, hiring their own porters.9 They worked as traders all
over the Protectorate "right away to Gondokoro." Others worked as interpreters, clerks,
builders, craftsmen, and servants.10 The Baganda engaged in wage labor showed a keen
awareness of appropriate remuneration: one collector lost his whole camp of 900 workers
after he sent 100 to another employer and one of them returned to tell his fellows that
more pay was being offered there.11
At the beginning of taxation, chiefs were fulfilling their protective role by finding
wage labor for their people. Chiefs also sought other means for their followers to obtain
tax money. The Lukiko Minutes record that in 1908 the Kangawo brought 721 "wicker
bags" which had been made in his saza at the request of the Provincial Commissioner, and
later the Mugema’s people provided 100 of a specific type of bed; it appears that these
goods were sold, and the profits returned to the people who had made them.12 Poll tax and
cash wages did not by themselves undermine the kusenga relationship, although, as we
have seen in Chapter Four, some followers were able to use cash wages to obtain some of
the things they had previously gotten from chiefs.
Cotton cultivation rapidly became the primary source of rupees for tax.
Missionaries, chiefs, and government officials all claimed credit for introducing the crop.
9Powesland, 7; quoting Hattersley in Mengo Notes, 1904, 85-6.
10Hattersley, 111, 113.
“Hattersley, 118-9.
12Lukiko Records, 100; 23 March 1908, 117.

159
The Protectorate authorities invested a considerable amount of energy and political capital
in cotton cultivation: the Agricultural Officer, Provincial Commissioner, and District
Officers travelled to promote it, and from at least 1909 onwards chiefs were evaluated
partly on the basis of the amount of cotton grown in their sazas.13 The British were so
eager to ensure Ganda cultivation of cotton that men who had "2 good sizeable cotton
shambas" were exempted from work for the Government in 1908.14 In addition to growing
cotton for sale, Baganda traders with bicycles bought people’s crops from them at their
homes, and others ginned cotton using hand looms.15 The work of growing cotton was at
first organized as group labor for the chief: the drum was beaten, and people came to
cultivate. After one or two seasons, cotton cultivation was integrated into Ganda patterns
of work as a form of household production, from which the musenze. or tenant, gave a
portion to the chief as tribute.16
Less than a decade after the imposition of poll tax, Protectorate authorities became
frustrated with the amount of labor the tax brought forward. As early as 1907, the Lukiko
members fought about their responsibility to find workers for the Protectorate. Finding
13 Lukiko Record, 90, 7 November, 1907; Entebbe Secretariat Archives, A46/421,
SMP 1138, Buganda: Annual Report for 1909-1910; A46/422 SMP 1138 A, Buganda
Annual Report, 1910-1911; A46/744 , Buganda Annual Report, 1919; A46/745 1920
Buganda Monthly Reports; A46/746, Buganda Quarterly Reports, 1920.
14Lukiko Records, 95, 6 January 1908.
l5Hattersley, 69, 114.The colonial interventions which eliminated the place of Ganda
entrepreneurs took place after the period under review.
16 Christopher C. Wrigley, Crops and Wealth in Uganda: A Short Agrarian History.
Kampala: East African Institute of Social Research, 1959, 16, 47; Lukiko Record, 100, 24
March, 1908.

160
people who were able to work and willing to work became difficult as soon as people
found alternatives to tax. The Lukiko announced in 1907 that all workers should be
inspected first by the Lukiko, "so that we can select the fit and unfit ones," and "we shall
pay them for the work if need be."17 Ganda enthusiasm for cotton was one reason people
could not be found to meet the labor calls of 500 or more at a time; another was the
continuing process of population decline.18 Early twentieth century observers estimated
that Buganda had lost one third of its population since the early nineteenth century: the
decline had been caused by enslavement, war, plague, and famine in the late nineteenth
century, followed by the devastating sleeping sickness epidemic between 1903 and 1908.
Sir Albert Cook, Medical Director of Mengo Hospital, estimated that the epidemic had
killed 200,000 of the 300,000 people living in the immediate vicinity of the Victoria
Nyanza. The Katikiro Apolo Kaggwa reported to the Buganda District Commissioner that
only 250 people remained alive out of 1,542 who had lived on Bussi Island.19 The lake
shore had been the richest and most densely populated area of Buganda, but it became
entirely desolate; no one fished or made canoes until repopulation began in 1918.20
Kasanvu forced labor
17Lukiko Record, 93, 11 November, 1907.
18 Wrigley, Crops and Wealth in Uganda. 44.
19Sir Hesketh Bell, Glimpses of a Governor’s Life: From Diaries, letters, and
Memoranda. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co., n.d., 112; Africana Collection of
Makerere University Library, Papers of Apollo Kaggwa, CA64, Apolo Kagwa to H. F.
Leakey, 11 November 1907.
20Hattersley, 131.

161
A diminishing population, the existence of cotton as a relatively benign alternative
to wage labor, and the uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous conditions of work for
the Protectorate combined to make volunteer workers hard to find. Chiefs who forced
people to work were in danger of losing their followers. The Protectorate Government
might have responded by improving the wages and accommodation of laborers, but
instead, Sir Hesketh Bell, Governor of Uganda from 1906 to 1909, chose to impose a
form of forced labor, kasanvu. in which chiefs were required to supply numbers of
workers (1,000 or more) each month, based on lists of poll tax payers. The workers
received wages of Rs. 3 per month, but they had no choice about having to work.
Exemptions were granted only to chiefs and people in permanent employment.21
Kasanvu was rationalized by Protectorate officials as "based on the traditional
bonds between the chiefs and their subordinates," and as a means of maintaining chiefs’
control over their people.22 Actually, it required chiefs to make their people go out to do
work that everyone knew might be dangerous and unhealthy. Finding people to do
kasanvu undermined chiefship, and some people’s ability to avoid the obligation and make
others liable for it transformed the character of relationships in clans and lineage networks.
Governors and missionaries were correct in explaining that Ganda people worked for
chiefs and for the Kabaka in order to demonstrate their respect and allegiance. What they
failed to acknowledge was that obligations to the Protectorate doubled the amount of
21Powesland, Economic Policy. 18; Hattersley, 118. Kasanvu means 7,000: the name
probably is derived from the number of workers required in one of the early labor calls.
22CO Minute 26 April 1911, C)536/40-13005/11, quoted Hansen, 80.

162
work which was required of each person. In 1909, people worked for their chief for one
month or Rs. 2, and they did luwalo. work for "Bulungi Bwa Nsi" (the good of the
country), for one month. Poll tax for the Protectorate required Rs. 5 or two months’ labor,
and kasanvu was an additional month’s work.23 In 1912, kasanvu was increased to two
months when labor needs required it.24 The hapless Baganda followers who had no means
of engineering exemptions for themselves were therefore obligated to demonstrate their
respect and appreciation for being ruled by laboring for five to six months out of every
year, or else to work for three to four months and pay their tax by selling cotton grown by
their wives or other subordinates.
In addition to the five to six months a man was expected to devote to labor for the
chief, the Kabaka, and the Governor, Christians were expected to provide labor to
maintain churches and church estates, and candidates for baptism had to perform personal
services, such as garden labor and carrying firewood, for their catechist. Chiefs, from the
saza chief in charge of a whole province to the lower ranks of Sabawali, Musale, and
numbered Mutubas, were also responsible for finding people for the army, the Belgian
Carrier Corps, work on the railroad, and various Protectorate schemes such as training of
policemen or apprenticeship in the public works department. In August of 1914, for
example, fifty army recruits brought by Kasuju to the Lukiko were told "to return to their
23Hansen, 199-9.
24Hansen, 180.

163
homes and keep a sharp ear for the drum calling them out, so that they can come quickly,
without delay."25
The objects of work in the new Buganda
People called up for kasanvu helped make colonial rule possible by facilitating the
tours of government officials. On his first trip to Kampala in 1906, Governor Bell took
sixty-six porters. On a longer journey, his caravan consisted of more than 200 porters to
carry tents, furniture, baggage and stores, twelve servants, and forty policemen.26
Provincial Commissioners, District Officers, and Agricultural and Veterinary Officers also
traveled with an entourage.
Most of Entebbe was built with poll tax or kasanvu labor. Governor Bell described
his surprise at the "evidences of comfort and refinement" he found when he first arrived in
1906. The grounds of the Deputy Commissioner’s house were almost "an old established
English garden" with closely mown lawns, and "masses of splendid roses and other
familiar flowers growing in profusion."27 Entebbe was maintained, another observer noted,
by a "perfect army of native water-carriers [who] keep up a constant stream between the
Lake and the town."28 Governor Bell considered Government House, not more than seven
or eight years old at the time, "as ugly and prosaic a building as one would not wish to
see," and sold it to South Africans to make a hotel. He built instead
25Lukiko Record, 116, 29 August, 1914.
26Bell, 119, 131.
27Bell, 111.
28Hattersley, 63.

164
"a really comfortable English house"..."the big "villa" type with very
spacious verandahs on the ground floor. The reception rooms are large and
lofty and nearly every bedroom has its own private little balcony
commanding views over the lake that will make early breakfast a pure
delight.29
The Governor explained in his diary that "a similar house could not be built in England for
double the money" [L7,000]. He attributed his success to the presence of excellent
building materials, the availability of skilled Indian artisans at low wages, and the fact that
"all the unskilled labour has been supplied by natives glad to work for threepence a day [to
pay their tax]."30
In Buganda, service to chiefs included some tasks which counted as contributions
to the one month luwalo obligation, and others which had to be performed whenever the
need arose. Building roads was a luwalo service. Excellently kept, broad roads had been a
sign of good government in Buganda, and road building had been an event that involved
everyone in an area. Hattersley observed that "thousands of people—indeed all living
within a few miles on either side of the road" came with "earth in a basket to heap up the
raised track."31 The kinds of work that had to be performed "for the good of the country"
increased in colonial Buganda. In 1907 and 1908, chiefs had to use the labor owed them
to remove everyone from the shore of the Nyanza Victoria in an effort to end the sleeping
sickness epidemic, build four huge hospital settlements for the thousands of infected
29Bell, 114, 183.
30BeU, 184.
3‘Hattersley, 150.

165
people, and provide food for all of them.32 In 1910 the Lukiko announced its decision that
all residents of each Gombolola (an administrative unit of the newly rationalized Buganda
administration, smaller than a province and larger than a parish) were required to
construct the Gombolola office and private latrine, clear a site for European or other
distinguished visitors to camp, and clear a site for porters; the printed announcement
admonished that "the place must be kept clean to prevent disease spreading among those
who come to the site to work."33
Any man unlucky enough to live in a saza where mailo land was being surveyed
might be required to cut boundary lines for the surveying team. Two thousand people
were involved in this work for the six months in 1910 and 1911 when the survey passed
through Busiro.34 One of the early surveyors described the departure of a surveying party
from Entebbe:
After much shouting by the headmen and with much harmless flourishing of
whips the procession would be got under way, led by a drummer with a
leopard-skin apron and befeathered cap, and flanked by three askaris
carrying ancient Snider rifles. For a mile or so a jog trot would be kept up,
the more exuberant of the porters dancing from the head to the tail of the
line and back. But soon the safari would settle down to a steady march,
spirits being kept up by a song from the vocalist of the party with a chorus
in which all joined....35
32Lukiko Record, 71,7 January 1907, 80.
33Kaggwa Papers, CB26.
34ESA, A46/421, SMP 1138 "Buganda Annual Reports, 1909-1910."
35H.B. Thomas and A. E. Spencer, A History of Uganda Land and Surveys and of the
Uganda Land and Survey Department (Entebbe: Government Press, Uganda, 1938), 75.

166
In 1914 the Lukiko discussed the problem of chiefs’ inability to find people willing to do
the heavy labor involved in the survey. They forbade recruitment of laborers in any area
where the surveyors were working, and discussed paying the workers. The Lukiko
members (who were the owners of the land being surveyed and who would have had to
find the money for wages) in the end decided that the difficult labor of boundary cutting
was part of the kusenga obligation. They stated, "It has been found impossible to pay
these men. Because they themselves are Baganda and use the land for the growing of
crops from which they derive cash. Further, they have been doing the job very well in the
past, without any trouble...." If there were not enough tenants on some estates to do the
work, those estates would have to be surveyed at a later time.36
Ganda chiefs had, in the past, been responsible for feeding people travelling
through their territory on the Kabaka’s business. Gifts of food were a token of allegiance,
and the exact components of gifts were carefully noted by the Lukiko: "Stanislaus
Mugwanya has presented the Kabaka with 800 bunches of matoke and seven goats"; and,
on another occasion, "14 cattle, 46 goats, 300 chicken, and 700 miwumbo of food" were
presented to the Saza chief and Mr. Leaky.37 Saza chiefs wrote to Entebbe to inform
Protectorate officers of the insult they had suffered when rival chiefs had presented gifts
that were too small. However, it was clearly impossible for chiefs to continue to feed
everyone who passed through their territory. Chiefs developed complex new rules
regarding who received food freely and who was obliged to pay. Disputes over feeding
36Lukiko Record, 113, 115, April 1914.
37Lukiko Record, 90, 82, 17 June, 1907.

167
travellers were heard in the Lukiko in 1905: a subsidiary chief who had refused to supply
food to Simon Bitalo, sent out by the Lukiko "to catch bugs and ticks," was summoned to
account for his failure. Another representative of the Lukiko told that he had been denied
food by the chief Nankere, who told him to look for it himself. But then he was stopped
by a European, who "told me to stop looking for food myself as people would say it was
the European himself getting the food by those methods."38 In 1907, "an up-country
postman" carried strings of cowrie shells around his neck for buying food.39 Lower-level
chiefs were responsible for organizing the food for a rest camp, but travellers were
expected to pay for the food that was provided.40 Women followers provided the food and
cooked it; it is difficult to determine whether women received payment for their work, or
whether requiring followers to supply food was another source of income for chiefs.
Finding, preparing, and carrying the food required by large numbers of travellers was a
significant new burden on Ganda chiefs and their followers, even when they received a
token cash remuneration for the food that was supplied to travellers who were not
officials.41
38Lukiko Records, 58, 60, 5 October 1905.
39Hattersley, 60.
40Lukiko Records, 10, 65, 23/1/1906.
4‘The vast amounts of food required along Hoima and Mubendi roads led eventually to
the establishment of special farms for supplying the food, but prices were kept low. At one
camp on Hoima Road, in Kisimbili, 1319 loads of food had been supplied in 1910, at a
rate of 1 cent (l/100th rupee) per average sized bundle of cooked food. All the food
required for feeding 1500 men would not have paid enough for one person’s poll tax.
Buganda Annual Report, 1910.

Within the calculus of kusenga. it was essential that Ganda chiefs show proper
hospitality to visiting Protectorate officials, and to this end their people made elaborate
168
preparations to accommodate visitors. A. R. Morgan, the first cotton inspector, described
the protocol: he was met at the border of each saza by the chief, taken to the rest camp
where he was given chickens, eggs and bananas, and, after his visit, escorted to the
boundary of the saza where he was met by the next chief. He remembered that "the
courtesy and kindness of the chiefs was at times almost embarrassing."42 On one occasion
when a lower-level chief felt he had not been assisted by others to provide hospitality to
the visiting Governor, the Lukiko responded:
Thanks for your letter in which you accuse the chiefs in your county. We
have already decided the case against them. They were very wrong. And
we, Lukiiko members, were very wrong for not sending chiefs in the
county to meet Mr. Balozi. We understand our guilt, next time we shall
send them to greet Balozi. Thank you for doing so many jobs and for
seeing the Balozi safely out of your county. Kibali told us how much work
you had to do.43
A properly greeted official was provided with quantities of food, and lodging suitable to
the prestige of the guest had to be built for the occasion. Governor Bell described his
camp on a safari in 1906:
The camp we are occupying tonight is very pretty and has been constructed
specially for me by the Chief of the locality. It is a very elaborate affair.
Although we are only to occupy it for a night, a very handsome kibanda
has been built for my own accommodation, and is substantial enough to last
for a couple of years. It is about 25 feet by 18 and made of logs and reeds.
The roof and walls are beautifully thatched and the floor of beaten clay is
42A.R. Morgan, Uganda Journal. Vol. 22, No. 2, September, 1958, "Uganda’s Cotton
Industry - Fifty Years Back", 107-112, p. 110.
43Lukiko Records, 59, 2 October, 1905.

169
strewn with a thick layer of sweet-scented lemon-grass. Smaller pavilions
have been provided for my staff and such a number of huts, for kitchens
and servants, that the place is quite a village. I am told that, all through my
journey, I shall find similar accommodation, wherever I stop, even if it be
only for a few hours’ rest.44
In Ganda terms of the meaning of work, the investment of a chiefs people’s labor in
building elaborate camps for "Bwana Balozi" ought to yield returns of gratitude and an
obligation to demonstrate reciprocal consideration on the part of the ruler. The Ganda
intention that work would maintain social connections did not translate well, however, and
Bell recorded in his diary that the chief who had provided the camp "would expect no
payment beyond a few words of thanks" and speculated that "these delightful conditions"
would last "only so long as labour costs practically nothing."45
Responding to Overwhelming Labor Demands
Buganda underwent tremendous transformations in the decades following the
consolidation of power by Protestant chiefs and their British allies. European residents
tended to explain these changes in terms of the presence of things familiar to them: brick
houses with tin roofs, everyone in church dressed in cloth, commerce in Kampala, and jam
for sale at a reasonable price.46 For Baganda, the most significant change in this time was
not cloth, or the substitution of rupees for cowries, but the vastly increased amounts of
work people had to do. Women had incorporated planting, weeding, harvesting, and
carrying cotton into their agricultural work calendar. Men had added months of
“Bell, 132.
45Ibid.
46Cook, Sir Albert. "Further Me '"ories of Uganda." Uganda Journal 2:97-115, 104.

170
productive work for the Protectorate to the months of productive work they had already
been doing for chiefs. Adding to the strain on Ganda productivity was a partial withdrawal
of the productive capacities of children: 35,000 were reported to be in school in 1909, and
80,000 in 1913.47
The increased work meant a deterioration in people’s standard of living.
Missionaries, more than other outsiders, noticed the changes in daily life for Baganda
created by these intensified work demands. One Mill Hill Father observed that conversion
decreased precipitously with taxation, because men no longer had time to attend religious
instruction.48 In 1910 the C.M.S. annual report to the Protectorate regarding religion and
education stated that the number of baptized Christians and of people offering to teach
had declined as a result of "the forced labour and numberless calls on the common
people."49 Ganda houses, which had been admired by foreigners in the 1870s for their
sturdy construction and neat appearance, now seemed to be poorly made. The production
47Hansen, 190; Powesland 1957, 9. Tantala seminar paper.
48 H. P. Gale, Uganda and the Mill Hill Fathers. London: Macmillan and Co., 1959,
214.
49Cooper, the Provincial Commissioner, enclosed the missionary’s letter in his annual
report but added his own comments: the statement could not be taken seriously, was
undoubtedly not the opinion of the Mission in general, and not worthy of the Church
Missionary Society. "What is required out here is practical religion such as is preached by
some of the finest men in the Church of England which teaches a man to work not only for
his own good but for the good of his country, the people out here are only just beginning
to learn that work is necessary and healthy for every man and that idleness is akin to
immorality." He added his hope that the Mission would support the Government’s
implementation of kasanvu labor so the country "would advance" and "the moral tone of
its people would be improved." ESA, A46 /421 SMP 1138, "Buganda Annual Report for
1909-1910."

171
and quality of domestic products, such as mats, baskets, pottery, and barkcloth, declined.50
Sources of protein and variety in the Ganda diet were reduced when women eliminated
one of two annual plantings of millet and simsim, and men stopped fishing in floodwater
during the rainy season in order to find time for cotton cultivation.51
Baganda found a number of different ways to circumvent excessive demands for
their labor that were making it impossible for them to maintain the quality of their lives. In
an unusual case in 1915, a young man refused the request of the assistant of the Saza
Chief Kago to carry loads of dried bananas for the Provincial Commissioner. He insisted
on being brought before the Lukiko, where he claimed he was a Musoga, Tenywa son of
Kikwaku, and therefore he should not have to carry the loads. But one member stood up
"to say how the boy was brought up at his home and is perfectly a Ganda and that the
names he has given are not his correct names." His uncle and mother testified against him,
he admitted he was lying, and the Lukiko then "imposed ten lashes to be beaten to the boy
for his resistance, bad behaviour towards his superior and hypocrisy."52 A more common
strategy was migration out of Buganda. Bishop Tucker, whose articulate and passionate
defense of African rights often discomfited his own missionary flock, claimed that in its
first year kasanvu had led to the depopulation of Buganda due to the migration of large
50ESA SMP 1138 G, A46/429, "Buganda: Annual Report for 1916-1917.
5‘Lucy P. Mair, An African People in the Twentieth Century. London: Routledge and
Kegan Paul, 1965 (first published 1934), 111.
52Lukiko Record, 173, 15/6/1915.

172
numbers of young men.53 This trend continued. In 1914 a District Officer reported, "The
natives find that so much is required of them, what with labour obligations to the chiefs
and the Government and increased taxation that life is scarcely worth living in their own
country. Many therefore go to East Africa [Kenya] and neighbouring Provinces where less
is required of them...."54 Moving onto church land was at first a means of mitigating the
kasanvu obligation, because the church controlled kasanvu labor of its tenants until 1917
and asked them to do work that was close to home. When church tenants had to perform
kasanvu as well as church labor, people considered living on church land to be a
disadvantage, and began to leave.55 People migrated to avoid kasanvu labor as long as the
law was in force; the year following the abolition of kasanvu. statistics collected on the
population of Buganda showed an increase for the first time.56
People also tried to obtain exemptions from kasanvu labor, which was the most
onerous labor obligation because it took people far away from their homes, disrupted their
ordinary life, and entailed staying in uncomfortable and often unsanitary conditions. Unlike
poll-tax, kasanvu obligations could not be bought off with a payment of income from
cotton. People therefore tried to turn themselves into "permanent employees," as three
consecutive months of employment was the one legal means of exemption. One strategy
53Hansen, 209.
54ESA SMP 1138 D, quoted in Powesland 1957, 23.
55Hansen, 193.
56 Raymond Leslie Buell, The Native Problem in Africa. London: Frank Cass & Co.,
1965 (first ed. 1928).

173
was to take employment at a sugar or rubber plantation: apparently many people
attempted to obtain documentation of such employment without actually working.57
Owning land automatically conferred the status of a chief, and obtaining an exemption
from kasanvu was probably the most compelling motivation for purchase of small plots of
land. Holding the position of a lower-level chief, steward of an important chief, or
"church katikiro" gave a man exemption from kasanvu. People volunteered to be
teachers, church wardens, and catechists because these were considered forms of
permanent employment. (When kasanvu was abolished in 1921, the churches experienced
serious difficulties filling these positions.) Artisans skilled in new trades and crafts were
considered self-employed, but specialists in Ganda crafts apparently did not obtain
exemptions. Thus, bricklayers, tailors, and carpenters did not have to perform kasanvu.
but barkcloth makers, smiths, and canoe makers were not exempt.
Immigrants and Independent Ganda Women
Immigrants from other parts of Uganda, and later from the Belgian Congo, became
a major part of the workforce in Buganda. In his detailed study documenting this process,
Powesland suggests that immigrants working for low wages and for food fit into the place
in Ganda households that had formerly been occupied by slaves captured from neighboring
peoples. Like slaves a generation earlier, immigrant workers were treated as extensions of
the family, and gave prestige to the person who employed them.58 In 1913, Powesland
57In 1914, the Lukiko decided that men who were absent from their permanent
employment for more than three days would be sent to work kasanvu. Lukiko Record,
112,4/1914.
58Powesland, 25.

174
estimates that 3,000 Banyoro were working for Baganda or for settlers in Buganda.
During World War I, Ganda employed Basoga, Banyoro, Batoro, Bagishu, and
Kavirondo, according to Hamu Mukasa. Banyarwanda began to emigrate from the Belgian
Congo following famine in 1923 and the imposition by Belgian authorities of a policy of
compulsory cultivation of particular crops in 1924. Immigrants came to Buganda from
every direction, passing up employment opportunities elsewhere in the Protectorate
because they preferred the conditions of employment with Baganda.59
The doubling of labor demands, along with the new possibilities created by cash
payment for cotton, caused another profound shift in the pattern of Ganda households:
women began to control land independently. Although Baganda already had a word,
nnakyevombekedde. for a woman who controlled land independently of men, this situation
appears to have become much more common in the first decades of the twentieth century.
At the time that cotton cultivation began, chiefs and landowners began to give ebibanja.
the plots of land to farm that indicated a relationship of kusenga. to women who were not
attached to men. Erinama Sebanditira explained that her mother had been widowed in
1909, and the brothers of her husband were hostile to her, so she found a chief who gave
her a kibanja in return for her commitment to grow cotton for him.60
Concern in Luganda newspapers over chiefs giving land to women suggests that
this became a common practice. In 1921, a writer to Ebifa complained that the number of
bannakyevombekedde (women who controlled land independently) had become the same
59Powesland 1957, 21, 42, 37, Powesland 1954, 21, 30.
“Sebanditira 1/7/1995.

175
as the number of men in the villages, and that all women wanted to leave their husbands
and be free to grow lots of cotton on their own behalf. He urged authorities to prevent
women from moving freely and growing cotton if they had no husband.61 Complaints in
Munno. the Catholic newspaper, in 1927 described the threat of bannakveyombekedde to
families: women who left husbands to grow cotton on their own would be reluctant to
return to their husbands, and their fathers and brothers would have no influence over
them. The writer blamed the problem on chiefs who gave land to women.62
Women may have chosen the option of becoming the tenant of a chief/landowner
over being the wife of someone who was a tenant as a result of tensions in the household
created by the new work of planting, weeding, harvesting, and carrying cotton. At first,
cotton cultivation was women's work because it was farming: in 1910 the Agricultural
Officer reported matter-of-factly that women grew the crop.63 Twenty years later,
however, agricultural officers recorded that women in Buganda were no longer growing
cotton for their husbands; Mair wrote that women grew cotton for themselves, but a wife
could leave a husband who expected her to cultivate cotton for him.64 This fundamental
transition in the assignment of domestic labor suggests a struggle between Ganda men and
women that might well have motivated women to choose to control land on their own
61Ebifa 12.25: 301-302; I am grateful to Mikael Karlstrom for this and the following
references from Munno.
62"How single women living alone spoil people's homes.” Munno 1.27:7-18; see also
Munno 9.31:144.
“Quoted in Powesland 1954, 20.
^Powesland, 38-9, Mair, 95.

176
account when the option became available. The renegotiation of the gendered division of
labor in which women succeeded in freeing themselves from the obligation of growing
cotton for their husbands must have been acrimonious: it drew comments from foreign
men, a group not usually attuned to conditions within the Ganda household. Writing in
1907, Hattersley drew a parallel between Ganda women and feminine agitators in his own
society:
The men have to do more, for women ’suffragettes’ have appeared. These
insist that, if they are not supplied with European clothing—that is, white
calico or coloured clothes—the banana supply for the family will stop; they
will no longer cultivate, but go off and get work as labourers, and earn
money with which to clothe themselves satisfactorily.65
Eighteen years later, the American Raymond Buell responded to the concern that "the
burden upon the native women has been increased as a result of the cotton industry" by
arguing that "preparing the ground for cotton planting, as well as cotton picking require
very little work of an exacting nature." He suggested that "In view of the growing indolent
’feminism’ of many Buganda women, which has been produced by sudden wealth, it would
seem that a little honest work [cultivating cotton for their husbands] would do them
good."66
Although there are no direct references to cotton in the slim documentation of
gender relations in Buganda before 1920, domestic tensions are very apparent. In 1905,
Bulazi Bulezi bit off his wife’s ear because she had fed her lover twice in his house, and
received 300 cowries from him; Balironda was speared to death when he attempted to set
65Hattersley, 109.
“Buell, 624.

177
fire to the home of a man he thought had taken his wife; Adamu Kiyonagu was fined by
the Lukiko for tying his wife up with ropes to get her to confess that she had had an
abortion.67 Zakaliya Maganga tried for months to get his wife to return to him, and never
succeeded, although he got the Lukiko to threaten to imprison the wives of the brother
with whom Zakaliya thought she was hiding if they failed to produce her.68 In 1909,
Lwabaka Nambi, the daughter of Kisingiri, one of the most powerful chiefs of the time,
left her husband and refused to return unless he stopped bringing beer and women into her
house and beating her, or until he gave her Rs. 500 compensation.69 A laconic notation in
the Lukiko Record in 1916 tells the story of a woman named Muwanika who got into a
quarrel with her husband in 1916. He asked her to bring him ten cents (ten one hundredths
of a rupee), but "because the wife was feeling unwell, she did not wish to give it to him in
a respectful manner (kneeling down on both knees.)" Instead, she threw it out the door
towards him, which "resulted in a quarrel between the parties for not respecting him." The
neighbors were compelled to separate them, but "a little while later" Muwanika picked up
a stick and hit her husband on the head, then ran into the house, hid behind the door, and
stabbed him in the chest with a knife when he entered. He died while the neighbors were
raising an alarm, and Muwanika set the house on fire.70 The Lukiko record noted in 1916
that "a lost woman has been found on Nakasero road," and they decided to return the
67Lukiko Record, 40, 10/7/1905; 41, 17/7/1905; 48, 24/7/1905.
68Lukiko Record, 56, 4/9/1905.
69Kaggwa papers, 9/10/1909, CB 14.
70Lukiko Records, 188-9, 8/1/1916.

178
woman to her father, where her husband could find her if he was still interested. The "lost"
woman had apparently been taking care of herself for the two years since she had
"disappeared from her husband," but her own intentions for the future were not considered
by the Lukiko.71
The woman who had disappeared from her husband two years earlier and the wife
Zakaliya Maganga was unable to recover might have been among the women who had
obtained ebibanja from chiefs and mailo owners. People who controlled land had many
good reasons to make women their followers. Giving land to women who wanted it
increased the income of the land allocator: at this time landlord/chiefs received one-tenth
(and sometimes more) of a tenant’s cotton crop.72 Competition to attract followers was
intense: men had left Buganda in order to avoid labor and taxes. Wage labor for the
colonial government and trade also removed men from rural life. Each muganda who
bought a piece of mailo land needed to populate his land with followers, so the
accelerating process of land sale also increased the need for followers. Women tenants
were in a way preferable to men, because women were not be called up for kasanvu or
obligated to pay poll-tax, so they were more available to do the chiefs work. Although
luwalo had traditionally been a men’s obligation in the Ganda gendered division of labor,
women were observed to be doing most of the road work in 1910.73
7’Lukiko Record, 206, 16/3/1916.
72Wrigley, 53.
73P. Macqueen, In Wildest Africa. 354-5, quoted in Powesland 1954, 18.

179
It is possible that chiefs were motivated to make women their tenants at this time
because there were more unattached adult women than there had been previously. The
sleeping sickness epidemic was said t) have killed seven times more men than women.74
Sexually transmitted diseases, which had become rampant in Buganda with the caravan
trade, probably caused women to be cast off by their husbands because they had not had
children. Men also avoided marriage and a settled home as a strategy in avoiding poll tax
and kasanvu obligations. Women may also have become independent controllers of a plot
of land after traditional divorce imposed as a requirement for their husband’s baptism.
Christian men had to divorce all but one wife in order to be baptized. The Regents claimed
that this would cause no hardship for the women who were to be divorced. Perhaps the
Regents made this claim because the "divorced" women did not actually leave their
husbands; perhaps they believed that women would be able to return to the care of their
brothers.75 A few renegade missionaries who objected to the policy on monogamy
claimed that women who were discarded ceased to be under the control of any men.76
In a social context in which women felt aggrieved by the new burdens of cotton
cultivation, men were absent to avoid labor or absent doing labor, and chiefs were
looking for followers, it makes sense that women began to attach themselves to chiefs on
their own.
74Hattersley, 113-4.
75Hansen, 272.
76Bell, 201.

180
In addition to becoming followers of chiefs, women were granted mailo or bought
mailo, giving them the chief-like status of other mailo land holders. The Lukiko recorded
sales of land to women, the granting of surpluses after survey to women who asked for
them, and transactions in which one woman land owner passed on her land to another
woman land owner.77 Petero Kyegulumiza, a lower level chief in Singo, sold land to a
woman, Azedi Nakaima, but then brought two cases against her in the Lukiko, claiming
"she went and took all my headquarters." The Lukiko resolved the case in her favor in
February, 1914: they had sent representative to look at the land and did not think Petero
had any cause for complaint.78
Royal women had always controlled land independently in Buganda, but those
women had not had children. Women’s ability to kusenga by themselves, and not as the
productive workers attached to husbands, posed challenges to Buganda society that were
not easily resolved. When women pulled away from husbands and brothers to become the
tenants of chiefs independently, who was responsible to take care of those women in hard
times? If women who had attached to chiefs by themselves had children, to which lineage
units did the children belong? The partial unbinding of the household was one of the most
profound consequences of the intensification of labor demands in colonial Buganda.
77 Lukiko Record, 52, 14/2/1905; 100, 23/3/1908; 122, 14/9/1914; 130, 9/10/1914;
130, 9/10/1914, 148, 12/1/1915, among others.
78Lukiko Record, 126, 2/10/1914.

181
The Missed Meanings of Labor Exchange
Ganda chiefs trusted Hesketh Bell, the Governor who initiated kasanvu. James
Miti, the Katikiro of Bunyoro, remembered that "he was very much liked by the people on
account of his consideration and attention to their needs. He would on all occasions
consult the interests of the people of the Protectorate. His laws and other official
pronouncements were a true reflection of the sympathetic interest that he took in the
people of Uganda."79 Chiefs showed their positive feelings for Bell through offering him
huge numbers of well-mustered workers. Bell, on his part, had the sensitivity to notice
what was being done for him: he searched out the back of his camp, where "quite a small
mountain" of food was being prepared, and he appreciated the beauty of the
accommodations made for him and the quality of the roads that were built. The labor
made available by the Ganda chiefs was one half of a pledge of mutual assistance; but what
Bell perceived, and wrote about in his journal, was cheap labor, wonderful productive
work that cost practically nothing. Yet the costs for Buganda of kasanvu—Bell’s
formalization of the labor that had been offered to him by chiefs—were extremely, almost
incalculably high.
On May 1, 1909, Bell left Uganda after a Baraza in Kampala. The Ganda Regents
and chiefs had arranged a special farewell surprise: as he stepped out of the Sub¬
commissioner’s house, "a big drum was beaten on one of the Kampala hills, and in an
instant thousands of torches broke into a blaze." For the entire six-mile journey to the
Kampala port, his car passed under an arch made by thousands of Ganda men holding up
79Miti, 990.

182
torches of flaming reeds and shouting "Webale" (thank you).80 Torch light had represented
the power of rulers in Buganda (Chapter 2): the chiefs had made use of the allegiance they
had cultivated in their followers and their organizational skills to create a stunning
statement of the importance of the Governor and the place of the Baganda as his loyal
followers. Neither Bell nor the Government he represented recognized the social contract
inherent in the action of the Baganda, and the implementation of kasanvu over the
following years entirely undermined the patterns of assistance and obligation that had
made that event possible.
The Deterioration of Kusenga
When chiefs began to implement poll tax and kasanvu. they did so following the
expectations of kusenga: a chief had to treat his followers reasonably well in order to
prevent them from seeking better conditions under a different chief. Abundance of land
had increased because of population decline, so that even though the creation of mailo had
turned chiefs’ followers into tenants, land scarcity was not a factor in Buganda until much
later in the century.81 Chiefs therefore had to offer protection in order to retain followers.
In the 1890s, chiefs had protected followers by refusing to provide labor to Europeans
80Bell, 206.
81 Henry W. West, Land Policy in Buganda. Cambridge: University Press, 1972, 5;
Wrigley "Changing Economic Structure," 32-3. Scholars who suggest that mailo gave
chiefs a "double hold" over people who were both followers and tenants inaccurately
assume that there must have been land scarcity. Actually, the competition for followers
became a competition for tenants. See, for example, Michael Twaddle. "The Bakungu
chiefs of Buganda under British Colonial Rule, 1900-1930," Journal of African History.
10(1969):309-22, 313.

183
who had reputations for being excessively harsh.82 During the negotiation of the Buganda
agreement, one of the Regents’first queries had concerned exemptions for sick, old, and
disabled people. In 1904 Samwiri Mukasa exempted 3,000 people for age, disease, or
physical deformity. The District Commissioner found this number unacceptably high and
insisted that all the exempted people report to Kampala to prove their disability; but then
when the people came to him, in groups of several hundred, he relented and upheld
Mukasa’s exemptions.83
Attaching followers by treating them well was impossible for chiefs in the new
Buganda. Protectorate authorities countered the chiefs’ tendency to grant large numbers of
tax exemptions by making chiefs’ salaries a proportion of the taxes they collected. Chiefs
had actually wanted this change, because it conformed with their notion of chiefship.
However, calls for incidental labor, poll tax, and especially kasanvu led to such massive
migration that many chiefs lacked people to tax. In 1910, Lukiko members made
accusations that others had allegedly collected tax from old people and "made sick men
go to Kampala."84 If their complaints about each other are correct, older and less healthy
people began to be taxed.
Meeting the incidental labor requirements of the Protectorate, especially as
demands intensified during World War I, also undermined the protecting role of chiefs. In
1914 the Saza chief Kasuju wrote to ask the Lukiko whether he should give food to the
82W. J. Ansorge, Under the African Sun. London: Heinemann, 1899, 92.
83Samwiri Mukasa, in Twaddle, Mind of Buganda. 59-60.
84Kaggwa Papers, CB/59.

184
contingent of soldiers in his district, or to the land surveyors. In some gombololas of his
province, people were eating banana roots, and "this reason is why I want the Lukiko to
decide."85 The same chief wrote reporting that he had only obtained four of the eight men
he had been ordered to find for police duties, because "they fear being beaten while under
training." He suggested that it would be better for the Kabaka to find someone to train the
police there in his Saza. The Lukiko wrote "we have not been pleased about that excuse,"
and decided to reprimand him.86 In February 1916, the Saza chief Kitunzi got in trouble
for "selecting" men for recruitment into the Army but then failing to provide food for them
while they were waiting for transportation which did not arrive.87 The Saza chief Kago got
into a conflict with nine men whom he had "selected for enlistment in the forces." The
Medical Officer had disqualified them as unfit, so Kago sent them to the District
Commissioner to carry his loads. The men complained that if they were disqualified from
the army they were unfit to do any hard work, but the Lukiko agreed with their chief, and
told the men to report back to the Kago and then go to carry the D.C.’s loads.88 In these
circumstances, Ganda men experienced few incentives to remain the followers of their
chiefs.
A further disruption of the logic of kusenga occurred through a series of actions by
Protectorate authorities which had the effect of removing followers from chiefs by
85Lukiko Record, 128, 8/10/1914.
86Lukiko Record, 131, 8/10/1914.
87Lukiko Record, 189, 10/2/1916.
88Lukiko Record, 197, 24/2/1916.

185
administrative fiat. Chiefship became entirely territorial, rather than a system of
overlapping allegiances that was only partially related to where people lived. In Ganda
political units of the past, tribute and taxes had flowed through chains of allegiance from
tax and tribute payers to their particular superiors, who were not always the tax or tribute
superiors of their neighbors. In 1909, however, Protectorate authorities rationalized the
varied, complex hierarchies of lower-level chiefs into a uniform system of sazas
(provinces), gombololas (districts), and mirukas (parishes).89 Ganda logic about taxation
endured for a few more years: purchasers of land continued to be able to choose which
chief they would be under for administrative purposes. Thus in 1912, D.W. Cooper
complained, "shambas situated in the center of one division are not ruled by the chief of
the division in which they are situated, but arbitrarily placed under the administration of
the chief chosen by the owner of the land."90 Many people also managed to hold chiefships
in more than one saza where they owned mailo land until 1917, when the British
authorities insisted that people resign all but one official position.91
After the District Commissioner pushed territorially-based chiefship through the
Lukiko, a procession of chiefs who had lost their followers pleaded for their return.
Nsege, the Mumyuka (second most important chief) of Bulemezi, brought a case against
his superior, the Kangawo, saying "in the beginning I had many people but when
89R. Cranford Pratt, Buganda and British Overrule. 1900-1955. London: Oxford
University Press for the East African Institute of Social Research, 1960, 199.
’‘’D.W. Cooper to Provincial Commissioner 2 January 1912, ESA SMP 2349, quoted
by Atanda, 16.
91Lukiko Record, 270, 18/7/1917.

186
Gombolola Mutuba IV was deducted off my saza I remained with only 1,847 Poll Tax
payers also 40 people of mine were transferred to Mukuma." The Kangawo argued that
Nsege had accepted the changes when they were made in front of the Lukiko and the
District Commissioner, so "now I don’t see any reason to alter this arrangement and I don’t
accept this alteration." The Lukiko sided with the chief who felt he was wronged,
however, and transferred back to him the forty people who had been given to another
chief, and 353 from Kikabi "because of his old age," giving Nsege 2,200.92 People who
were third, fourth, or lower in the chiefly hierarchy of a province pleaded to have their
inferior chiefs, and the people underneath those chiefs, restored to them.93 The Lukiko
counted, hoarded, and assigned tax-paying followers carefully: when one parish ceased to
have enough people to merit a chief, they tried to reassign that chief to another parish.94
Some of the cases concerned disputes involving people whose authority in the old
Buganda had come from a remembered relationship with the Kabaka. Balazi, of Kasebuti
village, complained that the Pokino, Saza chief of Buddu, should have made him a Mutuba
II chief, because "he was a long time servant of the Kabaka." The Pokino’s representative
protested that Balazi did not have any people in his area, and "it could not have been fair
92Lukiko Record, 132, 10 November 1914.
93See, for example, Lukiko Records 135, 2/11/1914; 170, 11/5/1915; 117, 1/9/1914,
118-9, 3/9/1914; 249, 24/3/1917; 258-9, 23/6/1917.
^Lukiko Record, 240, 15/2/1917.

187
to appoint him a chief when Kasiyaine who had already 10 people in his area was also a
chief."95
Getting people to do all the work demanded by the Protectorate made chiefs
unpopular and motivated people to leave the district, but not getting them to do it incurred
the displeasure of British officials. The Saza chiefs were caught in the middle, as
Stanislaus Mugwanya complained, "treated like a pad (the coil of banana fiber which
people placed on their heads to carry loads) which is pressed on both sides."96 For
example, Joswa Kate Mugema, one of the most popular chiefs, was reprimanded, along
with his subordinates, for "slackness in the collection of Poll Tax and carriers for the
Belgian Carrier Corps."97 There is some suggestion in the records of the Lukiko and in the
Buganda Annual Reports that the Lukiko chiefs solved their dilemma by blaming lower
level chiefs, but leaving them in power.98 As long as the Lukiko was able to control
appointment of chiefs, they seem to have appointed men who had been working their way
up the chiefly hierarchy before the arrival of the British. They were, in the words of the
95Lukiko Records 247, 24/3/1917.
%Mugwanya, the Chief Justice, said this to the Lukiko when it had criticized him for
making a heavy fine on a man who had made a European very angry. Lukiko Record, 23,
26/6/1905.
97ESA, SMP 1138 F, A46/425, "Buganda: Annual Report for 1915-1916".
98In only one case in the Lukiko Record is the dismissal of a chief upheld. Disrespect
for the Lukiko, not failure to call forth labor, was the chiefs error. Simioni Sebuta, who
had been the Mumyuka in Burulu asked to be reinstated. According to Kaggwa, he had
been rude to strangers, and he had once threatened to spear a Lukiko representative.
Defending himself, Sebuta said that the people had insulted him and he had already been
fined Rs. 100 for the offenses. He asked the Kabaka for mercy, and the Kabaka promised
to consider it. Lukiko Record, 260, 11/6/1917.

188
Provincial Commissioner in 1916, "elderly and incompetent and many totally or nearly
illiterate, and seem to have been chosen not for any ability but solely as being landowners
in the Gombolola district or through having friends at Court."99
Lower-level chiefs were required to implement demands for work to be done or
labor to be supplied. When they failed, they were reprimanded and fined. Chiefs reported
on the inadequacies of their inferiors to their fellow Lukiko members, "Mumyuka (second
level subordinate) is lazy in his official duties, does not obey the orders, and when ordered
to pay fines does not pay same. When instructed to provide kasanvu he does not move
very quickly."100 The Saza chief of Kyagwe reported that his Sabagabo (third level
subordinate) "who is supposed to select men of kasanvu from his area has not cared to do
so for at least three years."101 The Saza chief Mukwenda reported to the Lukiko that all his
Gombolola (sub-district) chiefs were doing well except the Sabagabo, who "when ordered
to present kasanvu ... only presented 5 compulsory porters and 2 askaris;" the same sub¬
chief was deficient in his obligations because "all bulungi bwansi’ [customary communal
labor] roads in the area are fully covered with grass."102
While higher level chiefs readily criticized their subordinates for failures in
supplying labor, it is revealing to note that they were more hesitant to impose fines.
Almost all harsh fines seem to have been imposed at the specific request of Europeans, or
"ESA, SMP 1138 F, A46/425, "Buganda: Annual Report for 1915-1916".
100Lukiko Record, 141, 1/12/1914.
101Lukiko Record, 190, 1/2/1916.
102Lukiko Record, 247, 24/3/1917.

189
in response to a failure at work that was immediately apparent to Europeans. Gombolola
and Miruka chiefs got fined for not supplying food to surveyors, for not weeding around
government rubber trees (Rs. 5 in 1908), for arresting "permanent people" because they
had not done kasanvu (a Rs. 20 fine that was specifically requested by the "very annoyed"
D.C. in 1914), for not placing surveyors’beacons (Rs. 20 in 1915), for not being present
at the auditing of the Gombolola’s books because of attending a funeral (Rs. 15 in 1915),
and for taking too long to find people to carry the luggage of three Europeans staying at a
rest house (Rs. 25, commuted to Rs. 10 by the Lukiko, in 1916).103 In contrast, the fine on
a chief whose men got into a fight over an insulting comment that should have been taken
as a joke was Rs. 5 in 1915.104 Conflicts arose in the Lukiko over who should pay
particular fines: the chief responsible for having the work done, or the deputy who was to
execute his orders? Saza chiefs were fined by the Provincial Commissioner, or part of their
portion of poll tax was withheld, if their performance was considered "unsatisfactory.”105
Competition among chiefs for followers in the context of constant Protectorate
demands eventually undermined the fundamental premise of the kusenga relationship: that
people could leave a chief who made onerous demands. People's freedom of movement
was progressively restricted, so that it became quite difficult for people to leave a chief,
however badly he treated his followers. An early step in this process was that no one could
move out of their kibanja until they had paid their poll tax and busuulu. as Apolo Kaggwa
103Lukiko Record, 131, 102, 142-3, 160, 169, 252.
I04Lukiko Record, 159, 27/2/1915.
105ESA, SMP 1148, Buganda: Annual Reports.

190
explained to Lukiko members, "because the government is very fond of taxes." At that
time, in 1909, a fine of Rs. 2 was added to the Rs. 5 tax if people had not paid on time.106
In 1914, the Lukiko decided to require people to carry tax receipts with them at all times
from November 31 to March 31; anyone who did not have a tax receipt would be arrested.
The upheaval of World War I apparently created alarming possibilities: the Lukiko
Minutes record a warning to the Saza chiefs "to take special precautions to see that tax
money should not decrease because of'soldiers.’” The Kangawo, head of the Buganda
military volunteer corp, was told to find out "whether in the army of soldiers there are
some who have not yet paid their taxes. These should be made to pay quickly before going
out to fight."107 Since people could leave districts where the Lukiko's rules were applied
strictly in favor of districts whose chiefs were more lenient, a further layer of coercive
measures was implemented specifically to restrict people's movement. In February 1916,
the Saza chief of Buyaga got permission to follow men to their new homes in Kyagwe to
collect the poll tax they had failed to pay before they migrated from his saza.108 Kezekiya
Gamyuka left Busuju when he was selected for kasanvu in 1917, and went to Butambala.
However, his former chief found him there and arrested him: the Lukiko gave the former
chief, the Kitunzi, permission to try him for moving away.109 In 1918, the Lukiko passed a
1 “Lukiko Record, 112, 27/9/1909.
107Lukiko Record, 124, 29/9/1914.
108Lukiko Record, 197, 24/2/1916.
109Lukiko Record, 270, 21/7/1917.

191
resolution providing that any person leaving Buganda (or leaving his home?) had to have a
permit from his gombolola chief.110
One cost of colonial labor was that Ganda chiefship deteriorated into something
that had the same set of names, but meant something entirely different than it had meant in
the past. The premise of kusenga was gone once people were legally constrained from
moving. There was no possibility of attaching oneself to a chief, if there was no possibility
of leaving that chief. At the same time, the chiefly role of balancing work demanded
against the ability of followers to do it had been replaced by a new chiefly role, described
by the Provincial Commissioner as "using to the full the powers given them to enforce
obedience and respect to the authorities."111 The new chief was part of a vertical flow of
power from the Protectorate down to the people, enforced by fines, imprisonment, and
lashes. The orientation of older chiefs towards each other, seeking alliances and assessing
the relative strength and attractiveness to followers of their peers, had been entirely
effaced. The records of the Lukiko from the first years of colonial rule reveal the
independent thought and action which had characterized an earlier generation of Ganda
rulers. At that time, the superiors of chiefs begged for their cooperation, they did not
assume it. The Lukiko wrote to a chief who had disappointed them, "You should come as
soon as you have read this letter with the numbers of people you have evicted from the
lake, the numbers are wanted. Because you have been called to come so many times but
110Buell, 581.
1UESASMP 1138, "Buganda: Annual Reports, 1916-1917."

192
you never came, you must come as soon as you can this time."112 Stanislaus Mugwanya
made a show of his disagreement with the Lukiko in 1908, when, during a quarrel, he
refused to attend or even to send a message. His explanation, when he was asked for one,
was "he had no pencil at the time to reply."113 As the colonial order of things became
entrenched, the Lukiko did not make requests so politely, and chiefs did not dare to show
any reluctance to obey.
Land was the one arena of authority which the Lukiko kept firmly in its grasp
throughout the first decades of the new century. During the years in which Ganda chiefs
attempted to accommodate themselves to a workable relationship with the Protectorate,
the Lukiko was vigilant in its control over land. In 1908 the Governor attempted to make
productive land available to foreigners by requisitioning any piece of claims that did not fit
into square miles when mailo land was surveyed. The Lukiko responded to this threat by
pre-arranging Ganda owners for any land that might be declared surplus in the areas where
survey was happening. They also engaged a lawyer who helped them win their case
against the Governor’s interpretation in front of the Secretary of State. They continued to
assign leftover pieces of mailo until the mid 1920s, adjudicated between rival claimants,
decided who could or could not sell their mailo, and divided out all the small pieces that
became available as the land survey passed through each saza. As colonial involvement in
taxation and in the government of Buganda diminished the power of chiefs in some areas,
112Lukiko Record, 76, 11/2/1907.
113Lukiko Record, 102, 28/1/1908.

193
the members of the Lukiko continued to demonstrate their authority through their total
control over the allocation of land.114
Despite their control over the allocation of land, chiefs lost the esteem of their
people when they took actions that seemed uncaring and unjust. Stuck between British
and Ganda criteria of chiefly behavior, Ganda chiefs tried various strategies to hold onto
their status. Joswa Kate Mugema—chief of an extremely populous saza, who also had
considerable traditional authority—was one of a handful who maintained their prestige by
treating followers well, and refusing to follow directives which he thought were wrong.
Apolo Kaggwa attempted to create a Ganda equivalent of the House of Lords, that would
enshrine the special status of the largest land owners. A more common strategy was for
chiefs to demonstrate their high position with objects: they rode bicycles (a few followers
ran behind to push them up hills), and later motorcycles; they built brick houses with tin
roofs, they had clocks and crockery.115 The Governor’s uniform had "a good deal of gold
lace on the chest and coat tails," and the dark silk kanzus of the Lukiko members were
"trimmed with gold braid."116 The attempts by chiefs to assert in symbols the position of
honor that they had lost in reality were not successful. Displays of wealth might
demonstrate a chiefs authority, but they could not create authority when chiefs were not
behaving properly.
114 Twaddle, "Bakungu chiefs," 314.
115Hattersley, 149, 95; Buell, 635.
U6Bell, 99, 114.

194
Chiefs were scandalized in 1917 when Y. Muwamirembe, a Miruka (parish) chiefs
assistant, refused to represent his senior in the Saza Lukiko "unless he was paid Rs. 25 per
month, also a coat and shoes and a chair." The case had been sent up to Mengo from
Bulemezi because "it was too much for that court." The Lukiko decided that the man
making the request was unequivocally guilty: "There is no Muluka chief, appointed by his
senior who should refuse this order, and never has there been a Muluka chief who
demanded salary when appointed by his senior, to represent him." He was fined Rs. 30 and
warned that if he ever tried such an act again he would be dismissed from chiefship.117 In a
way Muwamirembe was correct. In 1917 a lower-level chief did need European clothes
and furniture to underline his right to call up labor, collect tax, and pass down directives
from above. The Lukiko refused to accept these new circumstances of chiefly office,
however. They insisted that a lower level chief would serve his superior for the rewards
inherent in kusenga.
The Decline of Lineage Networks and the Threat of "Bad Heirs"
The overwhelming demand for labor that transformed the character of relations
between chiefs and followers also had profound effects on the extensive, horizontal
networks of protection and sustenance of Ganda clans, lineage networks, and local
communities. These networks contracted when people had too much work to be able to
maintain them, and people’s differential success in obtaining exemptions from obligatory
labor created a wedge between privileged people and others that had not existed before.
Furthermore, the legal and ideological primacy given to individuals over corporate groups
1I7Lukiko Record, 218-9,27/4/1916.

195
by colonial authorities and missionaries deeply threatened the ability of clans and lineage
networks to take care of their people.
At the turn of the century, Baganda had conceptualized people as parts of groups
and not as individuals. A family, lineage, or community was responsible for the actions of
its members: when a woman was stripped of her garments on a road and no one from the
area came to her aid, a collective fine was imposed on the neighbors.118 Access to
resources to the means of maintaining life, such as land and building materials, had to be
available to all who needed them: the Lukiko found it difficult, and then impossible, to
decide whether people could be allowed to sell stone and sand which other people needed
from land that they owned.119 Membership in a group provided protection from death or
enslavement—students of Christianity wanted to know how Christ could have been put to
death as a sacrifice when his parents were known?120 When Magazi Omwanga was fined
Rs. 100 for not providing food to a European as quickly as he had wanted, he failed to
pay—which was not surprising because everyone in the Lukiko agreed that the fine was
excessively heavy. However, Mugwanya had already paid in his stead, so Magazi "was
handed to S. Senkezi in the name of Walusimbi and charged with the duty of finding the
Rs. 100 from among the members of the clan.1'121
ll8Lukiko Record, 28/39 (two page numbers in text), 10/7/1905.
119Lukiko Record, 114, 4/1914.
120Hattersley, 18.
121Lukiko Record, 13, 5/6/1905.

196
An early, powerful failure of clan and lineage networks had to do with food. The
fundamental responsibility of clan members to provide hospitality to travellers who shared
their clan names became impossible with the massive movement of people to work for tax
money or in kasanvu. In nineteenth century Buganda, daily food, in the form of matoke
bananas, could not be purchased. No establishment where people lived was without a
banana garden. Chiefs sent representatives to maintain banana gardens near the lake (so
their people would have food when they went to fish), or on main roads where the chief
would break a journey to the capital.122 Travellers who were not making a journey on
behalf of the Kabaka found food and shelter with someone in a local community who
shared their clan name; according to a Ganda saying, “kinship is eating.”123 This system
broke down in the 1890s when hundreds, then thousands of workers descended on
Entebbe: their clan relatives did not have enough food.
People who went to work in Entebbe suffered terribly from hunger: it was said that
some died on returning home.124 The Protectorate Government offered to feed workers
maize flour, but people did not want to eat it and did not want to work longer in order to
pay for food. In 1907 the Lukiko designated seven villages "that will sell foods and
122Sir Frederick Treves, Uganda for a Holiday. London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1910,
p. 213, Commission, 401.
123Christine Obbo., "Food Sharing During Food Crisis: Case Studies from Uganda and
Ciskei," Food Systems in Central and Southern Africa. Johan Pottier, ed., London: School
of Oriental and African Studies, 1985, 265-279, 265. A. Ndawula interview, 24/4/1995.
Mair says that people working for the Kabaka in the capital "begged" for food, unless
relatives sent it to them; Mair, 197.
124Atanda, 7. See also Hattersley, 115-6.

197
matoke to Entebbe," but having the correct food for sale did not cause people to shift their
perception that eating matoke ought not to involve money.125 As long as Baganda people
had to leave their homes to work on government projects, they suffered for lack of food.
Although specific reference to clan obligations regarding feeding is absent from archival
records, clan members did have the obligation to feed their relatives, the number of people
needing food at colonial work sites would have surpassed the capacity of those living
nearby to supply hospitality, and the hunger of workers is well documented. The
experience of being a laborer away from home, needing food, and not being able to find it
with clan relatives must have been a constant disappointments that undermined people’s
confidence in clans and lineages.
The onerous burden of kasanvu labor led to a more permanent rupture in clan and
community networks. Exemptions from performing kasanvu were seen as valid for luwalo
also. Therefore, all the people who had found ways to escape from kasanvu no longer had
to participate in luwalo. communal work for "the good of the country." Chiefs complained
in 1910 that they were losing control of labor because of the exemptions obtained by
"servants and employees."126 While Hattersley had described thousands of people working
together in 1907, by 1919 chiefs with a tax-paying population of 1000 might be able to
find no more than two or three volunteers for luwalo work.127 The large number of
exemptions granted by chiefs meant that the same people—those with the least influence,
125Lukiko Record, 88, 16/9/1907.
126ESA, A46/421, SMP 1138 "Buganda Annual Reports, 1909-1910."
127ESA SMP 1148, "Buganda: Annual Report 1919-1920."

198
the least income, and the fewest resources—were called up for communal labor over and
over again, beyond the limit of one month per year.128 This caused an ever-widening gap
between Ganda with and without access to resources, as those required to do more than
their share of forced labor fell further behind their relatives and neighbors.
People who already had privileged access to education were the ones who were
able to get exemptions from kasanvu and luwalo. In theory, exemptions were granted to
people in "permanent employment," including self-employed people practicing essential
trades. In practice, however, exemptions went to people employed by Europeans, or
people who had skills learned in mission schools: clerks, carpenters, tailors and printers.129
People skilled in Ganda forms of manufacture were not exempted in labor drafts. Yakobo
Tabula, a bed-maker, and ten men who were the Kabaka’s blacksmiths challenged their
selection for the military, because they felt their work entitled them to exemptions. The
blacksmiths were excused, with the admonition that "they will work even harder," but the
bed-maker was enlisted.130 The insidious, community-dividing aspect of poll tax labor and
kasanvu (and luwalo after it lost its character of a whole group effort) was that the work
would only get done if some people remained too poor to be able to pay tax instead. The
l28Hansen, 182-3.
l29Powesland 1957, 27.
130Lukiko Record, 161, 9/3/1915; 188, 8/1/1916.

199
District Commissioner for Kampala in 1910 put this bluntly: "without this control [by
chiefs over labor] many Bakopi wouid be too rich from other sources to need to work."131
The creation of a group of people obliged to do more than their share of forced
labor led to the class differences which became so obvious and which concerned observers
in the 1920s and 1930s. The wide gap that emerged between rich and poor Baganda was
not primarily a consequence of land owners extracting high tithes in the form of cotton
from their tenants. On the contrary, Baganda of all levels of resources used the
possibilities of growing cotton to their own advantage. The people who had to do
everyone’s forced labor suffered all the loss of health and opportunities to grow their own
cash crops that kasanvu involved; the people who obtained exemptions benefitted doubly
from the advantages that gave them the exemptions in the first place.
The multiplication of demands on people’s productive capacities had another subtle
but corrosive effect on clan and lineage networks: the more new labor people had to do,
the less time and energy they had to invest in maintaining clan and lineage networks. When
people gathered together for feasts and ceremonies to observe birth, birth of twins,
naming, children’s growth, marriage, death, and succession, they were solidifying the
connections among people in concrete as well as spiritual ways. The people who one met
at ceremonies were the people one could rely on in difficulties. Mair observed that only
funeral and succession ceremonies continued to be fully observed in 1931: some
ceremonies had been replaced by Christian rituals for baptism and marriage, while others
131ESA, SMP 1148, A46/422, Annual Report for Kampala District, 1910-1911".

200
had fallen into disuse because people did not have the time or financial resources to
observe them.132 One of the lapsed ceremonies, performed three days after the birth of a
child, was called "to protect all the people of the clan."133 When lineage networks stopped
meeting together, and communities stopped celebrating life events, networks of mutual
assistance got weaker. One evidence of this is the difficulty people experienced in re¬
building their homes: instead of being rebuilt in a day by a work party, by 1930 a building
often stood half finished for months, as people tried to finish it without any outside
assistance.134 Foreigners in Buganda actively discouraged clan and lineage ceremonies.
They saw clan ritual as indulgence in drinking, eating, and dancing: "the indolent life led
by all Africans" was one reason given by the Uganda Chamber of Commerce for labor
shortages.135 What foreigners could not see were the bonds of social security being forged
in those events.
At the same time that new amounts and forms of work destabilized Ganda ways of
maintaining connections, Christianity and Islam offered alternative explanations of
morality that justified a neglect of clan and family obligations. Partly, this was directly the
effect of tum-of-the-century European Protestant thinking regarding spiritual success.
Lucy Mair regretted, in 1934, that mission education emphasized too much "the
advantages to the individual of commercializing his possessions," and did not encourage
132Mair, 44, 50, 56, 57, 59, 65. Tantala.
133Mair, 43.
134Mair, 126.
135A.E. Bertie-Smith, Hattersley, 115.

201
"the growth of a spirit of corporate loyalty" to the village.136 A more fundamental
challenge was that people’s strong allegiances to new religions came into direct conflict
with their allegiances to clan and lineage. After their relatives had failed to protect them
during some of the most devastating battles of the late nineteenth century, Moslems sang
"those who expect clan protection are the ones whose skulls are on the road."137
Competition between Catholics and Protestants led to divisions between family members.
A Catholic father wrote to his son who had become Protestant while attending Mengo
High School, "let me congratulate you, my son, thanking you for leaving me in the fire. I
am your father, and you my son ran away...it had been better that both of us should enter
into the fire together...I beseech you come not at all to my burial, I am not your father."138
Legal challenges added to the assault on clan and lineage networks in the early
twentieth century. Poll tax had to be paid by individuals, and Protectorate law attempted
to make it impossible to extend fines or punishments from the accused person to his
relatives. Women’s rights to purchase and inherit land, promoted by missionaries, were
strongly contested by lineage networks. When women owned land, it was lost to the
lineage and clan, because women handed it on to their children, who belonged to the
lineages of their fathers. Clan elders faced the problem of what to do about women
owning land when men failed to have male children. In 1914 the Book of Inheritance
notes indecision about a particular case:
l36Mair, 276.
137Kiwanuka, 233.
138Hattersley, 185-6.

202
And he had fathered two children, only girls. The clan leaders chose this
heir of their clan [a male relative]. About this issue, the members of the
Lukiiko saw that girl children ought to share the land of their father. This
matter caused a disagreement among the members of the Lukiiko, that is
why it is ordered to put it with what will be discussed in April 1915.
Whether it is appropriate for girls to share in things of inheritance.139
Clan elders in a lineages sometimes fought the possibility of a female heir by proposing
male heirs who they claimed were the secret, hitherto unknown children of the
deceased.140
A greater threat to clan and lineage networks were "bad heirs." Since individuals
had legal protections under British law and lineage networks did not, an heir who received
a position and property as the custodian of the assets of lineage might choose instead to
see that property as his alone. Some of the generation of sons of chiefs proved to be ill-
equipped to assume the role of heirs to their fathers. They had grown up in a time of
cotton wealth, they had received the anti-clan bias of mission education, and the "new"
Buganda did not offer them the avenues of developing leadership that had been available
to their fathers. Older Baganda worried that men who had become adults in the 1920s did
not know how to behave. In a meeting of the Board of Governors of Budo College, Hamu
Mukasa claimed that it was young heirs, and not old people, who failed to pay their
contributions.141 Jemusi Miti concluded his history of Buganda with the observation that
139Ekitabo kya Obusika, Volume II.
140Lukiko Record, 180-2, 9/9/1915; 207, 10/3/1916.
141Africana Collection, Makerere University Library, Kabali Papers Box x, Minutes of
Meeting of Budo Board of Governors, 9/3/1929.

203
"under the new law the old Kiganda filial reverence seemed to lose somewhat of its former
griP-
0142
Conflicts between the generation that had survived the crisis of the late 19th
century and forged the new Buganda and their children began before the moment of
succession. Samwiri Mukasa the Kangawo wrote to his sons:
One of you has deserted his job of being a Muluka chief and serving his
Kabaka and country and has joined the company of people who feed him
on fattened animals and stand intoxicating drinks for him. It is lucky of
your generation that when brothers see such a thing of one of them, they
never try to talk it over with him so that he improves, but flatter him and he
is pleased with them. It is like a calabash with holes in the bottom, nobody
can put their beer in it; nobody trusts him any longer."143
The desperation Mukasa and his generation felt is apparent in his conclusion, "you people
have every now and then shown your disobedience to men and have actually told me that
you are your own fathers and are not obliged to obey anybody. True, the way you have
treated me is not as from a son to a father." Joswa Kate Mugema’s son attempted to lease
butaka land, with graves on it, to a European.144 Apolo Kaggwa’s son Sepereya
Kadamamukasa, who had been sent to England to school, got a Gayaza Girl’s student
pregnant and ran up huge bills for liquor. Kaggwa made provisions in his will reflecting his
fears regarding succession, which specified what should happen "if the head of the butaka
142Miti, 1889. Audrey Richards observes that the possibility of inheriting mailo land,
and the increased value of land because of cash crops, strengthened the relationship of
fathers and children at the expense of clan connections, The Changing Structure of a
Ganda Village. Nairobi: East African Publishing House, 1966, 24-5.
143 Africana Collection, Makerere University Library, Ezeri Kabali Papers, AR KA 2/2,
File F (Samwiri Mukasa), Box 2.
144 SMP 6902, Mugema to Chief Secretary, 22/8/1924.

204
begins to go mad, making debts causing the sale of the butaka, and "if the head of the
Butaka has sold the land in secret and has already eaten the money." In that case,
according to Kaggwa, whoever had bought the land would be forced to return it and
would lose his money, "because he had bought land which was not supposed to be sold,"
and the Lukiko would appoint a new heir.145 Kaggwa’s worst fears were realized when his
heirs sold his massive estates, and ate up his wealth in legal suits against each other. The
searing and bitter conflicts over inheritance that began to arise in the 1920s and 1930s, in
which the prerogatives of lineage networks were pitted against the legal rights of "bad
heirs" who acted as though their inheritance was their own individual property, were the
inevitable consequence of the direct and indirect attacks on the social institutions of clan
and lineage networks.
Innovations to Meet the Responsibilities of Chiefs and Lineage Networks
In the half a generation that followed the introduction of poll tax, forced labor, and
cultivation of cotton for cash, the institution of chiefship was transformed and clan and
lineage networks were severely strained. Ganda ways of perceiving the world and
organizing productive activity, however, demonstrated remarkable resilience. One of the
first economic interventions of the colonial government had been to try to replace cowrie
currency with rupees and pice. "Several million" cowrie shells were burnt, and the lime
was used in the building of the District Commissioner’s house in Kampala, which became
145Kaggwa papers, AR KA 43/52, "The Will Which Concerns Butaka Mailo, How it
Should Remain," 16/12/1920.

205
known as "enyumba y’ensimbi"~the house of money.146 People continued to use cowries,
however; Hattersley described being unable to make purchases when he offered pice
instead of cowries in 1907. Thirty years after the initial attempt to eliminate it, cowrie
currency was still in use.147
Baganda also recreated the logic of kusenga on a smaller scale, by turning
ownership of land into a form of chiefship. The Lukiko granted land owners a tribute of
Rs. 2 or one month’s labor, indicating in the language of exchange that tenants were the
followers of land owners.148 More importantly, the Lukiko determined that mailo owners
could not give produce or money to the chief of the area in which their land was located.
This meant, in symbolic terms, that the mailo owner had no superior.149 Mailo owners
were not obliged to perform kasanvu or luwalo. nor could they be compelled by chiefs
answerable to Kampala to "volunteer" for any other work. Thousands of Baganda used
profits from wage labor or cotton to buy plots of "10, 20, or 30" acres, in order to escape
excessive labor demands.150 Land purchase, according to the contemporary social critic
Daudi Basudde, enabled people "to free themselves from the chiefs’ pernicious outside
146Cook, 111.
147 Hattersley, 42; Mair, 144.
148Chapter4, Hansen, 184.
149Land Law of 1908, Hansen, 186.
150Annual Report of the Department of Land and Survey, para s 71-73, quoted in
Powesland 1954, 35. The notoriously conservative Land and Survey Department
considered that the goal was "freedom from a landlord’s exactions", but, as we have seen,
1/5 or 1/6 of the obligations of a tenant was to his landlord.

206
influences they adopted and brought to bear on the men who are living on their land."151
On their land, mailo owners became chiefs by allocating plots to tenants, and hiring
immigrant laborers to grow cotton for them, in return for food and a place to live. For
decades, Ganda cotton growers were able to attract more labor than plantations, ginneries,
and Government Departments because the Baganda offered terms that were a variation on
kusenga. Immigrants attached to Ganda households followed a work rhythm that was
familiar, ate the same kind of food as their employer, and might sit in his or her doorway,
participating in conversation with visitors.152 Baganda land owners were so successful in
maintaining non-commodified relationships with immigrant workers that the Protectorate
Government was forced to admonish European employers "to demonstrate a keen human
interest in the welfare of their employees."153
Even though the enactment of community that had come from hundreds of people
assembling to work together on community projects was irreparably undermined by
kasanvu. Ganda networks of community continued to be valuable for people. Despite the
real threat that "bad heirs" might ruin the inheritance of a lineage, clan members found
new ways to use the broad range of resources that clans and lineage networks made
mDaudi Basudde, Uganda Herald, 17, vi, 21, quoted in Wrigley, 52.
l52Powesland, Economic Policy. 11, 38-9; Audrey I. Richards, "Methods of Settlement
in Buganda", in Economic Development and Tribal Change. Audrey I. Richards, ed.,
Cambridge: W. Heffer and Sons for the East African Institute of Social Research, 1954,
121.
l53Powesland, 43, 44, 46. If Uganda had not had several Governors who strongly
advocated peasant production and an Agricultural Officer who had strong radical leanings,
the outcome might have been very different. Wrigley, 31.

207
available to people. Clan members who had means paid for the education of promising
young relatives, and people placed their children in the homes of relatives where they
would have access to better education.154 Having clan relatives in positions in the chiefly
hierarchy was also useful, and clan members could be expected to contribute: when Musa
Serwajokwota was appointed to a chiefship, for example, he was not allowed to take it up
because he owed a debt of Rs. 70. The Lukiko announced "if these rupees find someone
to pay them, he will be allowed to receive the office."155 Identifying strangers as clan
relatives through recognition of their names ceased to be a means of finding hospitality,
but a new strategy of mutual assistance arose when rural members of lineage networks
began to supply food to urban members, especially in difficult times.156
In 1898, some of the men who had fled Mengo to fight alongside Kabaka Mwanga
against the British warned Apolo Kaggwa that his new allies would ask of him more than
he might want to give. Comparing the European to the Ganda war god Nende, they wrote,
"the Kampala European dedicates sacrifices as well as god Nende does."157 Kaggwa and
the other Protestant and Catholic chiefs who had aligned with the Europeans were inclined
to disagree. As colonial interference intensified, however, Baganda who did not fight
might have begun to see wisdom in that assessment. There were limits to the sacrifices
154Hattersley, 167. Mair, 63-4.
155Lukiko Record, 124, 29/9/1914.
I56Obbo, 270, 277.
157Kaggwa, Basekabaka bya Buganda, Typescript in Africana Collection, Makerere
University Library, 287.

208
Baganda were willing to make to the Kampala European. In 1908, the Lukiko had found
men to be carpentry and brick-making apprentices in Entebbe at the request of the Sub-
Commissioner, but in 1914, the Lukiko objected to a similar request, explaining "this is a
very difficult matter under the stated agreement between the employer and the
employees."158 In 1916, specific chiefs began to object to calls for labor, and to request
that "the Lukiko consider the matter over again."159 After World War I, the colonial
administration attempted to raise poll tax to Rs. 7.50, but the Lukiko succeeded in
convincing the Colonial Office that it had the power to veto the increase.160
In 1919, eleven chiefs and one of the three ministers wrote to the Governor about
the problems caused by kasanvu. They claimed that it was leading to continual discontent
and causing migration. They said "weak people and those...nearing old age" were forced
to do most of the labor, and people who performed kasanvu were despised. Kasanvu
meant, they said, that freedom was only for chiefs. The only resolution was to abolish the
system.161 In 1921, all the chiefs in the Lukiko determined that their role in calling out
labor for the colonial power was untenable and informed Entebbe that the Lukiko was
abolishing labor for the Protectorate. They stated, "After the most careful consideration,
the Lukiko have decided unanimously that they do not desire kasanvu of any kind...to
exist in Buganda...we pray you inform the Secretary of State for the Colonies that the Full
158Lukiko Record, 102, 8/4/1908; 134, 24/10/1914.
159Lukiko Record, 204, 11/3/1916.
160Hansen, 178.
161ESA SMP 1371 (O.S.)\l 14, quoted in Powesland, Economic Policy. 27.

209
Lukiko has finally decided to do away with kasanvu as from 31st December, 1921, as it is
no longer fitting that it should be enforced."162 Kasanvu was abolished in January, 1922,
but its consequnces endured. The intense labor demands of the first twenty years of
colonial rule permanently altered the relationship of chiefs and followers, and of clan,
lineage and community members with each other.
Conclusion
Buganda changed in powerfully visible ways between 1900 and 1920, but neither
the fact of a colonial presence nor the establishment of a cash economy can explain these
changes, because wage opportunities, money, consumer goods, and private property in
land gave Ganda men and women new ways of obtaining the prestige and power inherent
in control over other people that had been a goal of work in the past. Baganda and other
observers have explained the changes in Buganda as "a loosening of bonds" or the
emergence of "greedy chiefs" and "kulak farmers." These descriptions are not adequate
because they do not begin on the inside of Ganda social institutions that were changing. I
have argued in this chapter that excessive demands on people’s labor wore down the social
fabric in Buganda because chiefs and clans could not do for people what they had always
done. Chiefs were supposed to protect their followers, but in the new Buganda in which
ultimate decisions were made outside the Ganda hierarchy of power, chiefs were forced to
call their people to work even when it undermined people’s ability to take care of
162ESA SMP 5116 (O.S.)/100a, quoted, Powesland 1957, 32. Through a despatch
issued by the Colonial Secretary, compulsory labor in the colonies was ended on 1
January, 1922.

210
themselves at home. One of the fundamental functions of extended clan networks was
providing for clan members when they traveled, but it was impossible for members of a
clan to feed thousands of their fellow clansmen when they arrived to work in Entebbe,
passed along a main road, or gathered at the site of some other colonial work project.
Exemptions from the labor demands, granted to some people but not to others, created a
divide in Ganda society that had not existed previously. The new demands for labor meant
people no longer had time to put labor into maintaining connections with lineage networks
and local communities. When people started to do kasanvu. in addition to the month of
work required for tax, on top of work for the chief and for the king, communal building
parties and lineage gatherings decreased. The institutions of chiefship and clan changed in
subtle but important ways. The multiple connections that had been cultivated by people-
horizontal ones between lineage and clan relatives and between various authority figures
with different kinds of power, and vertical ones between people and the leaders to whom
they paid tribute in labor and goods—had been replaced by coercive, uniform links in a
vertical hierarchy of power.

CHAPTER SIX
THE ORDER OF MILES ON TRIAL
Twenty years after Ganda chiefs laid out a new order of power in Buganda in the
shape of individually owned land, another group of Ganda leaders put the mailo order of
things on trial, charging that miles had ruined the good customs of Buganda. As cash, tax,
forced labor and fines eroded the protective and sustaining capacities of chiefs and lineage
networks, these Ganda leaders demanded a reallocation of land and power, a reform of
relations between rulers and followers, and an integration of Ganda forms of authority
with the forms of "these Europeanized times." Argued from 1921 to 1926 in front of the
Kabaka, the Lukiko, and British officials in Uganda and England, the case against mailo
offers an unusually well-documented look at the ideas of Africans who experienced the
coming of colonial rule as adults, and insisted that things ought to have been done
differently.
The Baganda who made the case against mailo have been misunderstood from the
beginning: the only part of their comprehensive critique which got a direct response was
their request for the return of butaka (clan lands). The complainants were not only bataka
(clan elders), but also royal women and royal men, spirit mediums, and people who had
had institutionalized remembered relationships with the Kabaka; in other words, all the
kinds of people who had had authority in pre-colonial Buganda. They called for a
211

212
restoration of their status and of Ganda forms of exercising power; they were able to do
this before a colonial Commission of Enquiry only because their way of speaking about
power was entirely incomprehensible to their British colonial listeners. In order to unfold
the full implications of the 1920s case against mailo from "the butaka controversy" as it
has been remembered, it is necessary to pay attention to the choices Ganda thinkers made
in communicating their ideas to British audiences, and the consequences of those choices.
As the case moved from the Kabaka’s court to colonial venues, the complainants
began to exclude other issues and speak only about lost burial grounds. While this strategy
gained the sympathy of their hearers, it required a simplification of their arguments and a
misrepresentation of the social positions that had been occupied by the people making the
complaint. A complex conflict over power with diverse participants became, in terms that
made sense to colonial observers, a fight between clan elders who had lost land and
appointed chiefs who had taken land. At the time, Baganda who testified in the case might
have seen the gap between who they were and who they said they were (for example, a
spirit medium describing himself as a clan elder) as an obvious but useful distortion. Later
generations and historians, however, have perceived the strategic, over-simplified
positions of bataka versus bakungu as an accurate representation of social groups and
conflicts in the Buganda past. It is poignant and ironic that in their effort to restore the
"good customs of Buganda" the people who brought the case against mailo took a stance
which helped to efface even the memory of the multiple forms of power they sought to
defend.

213
This chapter and the following one seek to explicate the case against mailo and to
explore the difficulties faced by participants in attempting to negotiate two fundamentally
different discourses of power. Chapter Six describes the leading participants, and explains
the logic of the case in Ganda terms. By asking for a re-allocation of land, supporters of
the Kabaka gave the young king an opportunity to wrest back power that had been taken
by the Katikirro. Daudi Chwa’s inability to exercise a Kabaka’s prerogative to redistribute
land led to a second stage of the trial, when Baganda asked the British Protectorate to
help them restore the power of the Kabaka and other Ganda authorities. The chapter then
documents the different meanings of "butaka" perceived by Ganda and British participants
in the case, and considers how a complaint against new forms of power could be perceived
as unthreatening by British colonial authorities. Chapter Seven presents the arguments
made in the case, and shows how the polarized arguments made about mailo in the 1920s
have influenced the perceptions of historians of Buganda since that time.
The Complainants and the Logic of their Case
The case against mailo coalesced the forces in Ganda society usually involved in a
dynastic struggle, at the appropriate moment for confirming the authority of Kabaka
Daudi Chwa, who had reached his majority in 1914. In earlier generations the struggle
over power at the beginning of a reign had taken the form of fighting between rival princes
and the coalitions of royal women, chiefs, and clan allies who supported each of them. A
generation after the thorough collapse of authority in the late nineteenth century, the
political conflict inherent in the beginning of a new reign took the shape of a case

214
(omusango) brought by supporters of royal power against the chiefs who had taken over
the role of the Kabaka in the years that they were his Regents.
The people who assembled to make the case against mailo were
men and women, royals and peasants, elder statesmen from pre-colonial Buganda and
their school-educated sons. Two had been saza chiefs for more than twenty years each.
Some held the highest possible positions for Africans in the Protectorate hierarchy, others
had had little contact with foreigner^ Some had been granted large estates of mailo, some
had lost their land and been reduced to doing menial labor service for new chiefs. They
were Protestants, Catholics, and Malakites, and a few had been important spirit mediums.1
Recognizing the broad range of interests they represented and their varied experiences of
British influence in Buganda, it is necessary to revise the perception that fhe Bataka
Federation’ were sentimental clan elders who had not adapted to new realities, joined by a
haphazard assortment of disgruntled young people.2
James Miti was the highest ranking employee of the Protectorate to participate in
the case against mailo, and he served as its public representative whenever he was able to
‘My evidence for this assertion, explored below, comes primarily from a careful
reading of testimony before the Bataka Land Commission, and also correspondence in
ESA SMP 6902. Guggu, the principal medium of the Lubaale Mukasa spoke before the
Commission of Enquiry, and the medium Guludene wrote to the Governor asking for the
return of his land.
2Low, Twaddle, Rowe, et al. In East African Rebels: A Study of Some Independent
Churches. F. B. Welboum has pointed out the personal links between participants in the
Bataka Federation and later political movements in Buganda; my argument is that the
Baganda who brought the case against mailo proposed alternatives to Buganda
government in the 1920s that incorporated Ganda notions but were not reactionary.
Welboum, East African Rebels (London, SCM Press, 1961), 28.

215
be present in Buganda. He was head of the Kasimba clan and had been a rising Protestant
chief when he was chosen to consolidate British/Ganda control over Bunyoro with George
Wilson in 1901. He had tried to return to Buganda to take up the Saza chiefship for which
he was the logical choice, but was forced to remain at his post as Katikiro to the
Omukama of Bunyoro. Miti, along with Wilson, designed and implemented the policy of
using Ganda chiefly titles in the administration of other native kingdoms. Miti represented
the quintessential success of the Ganda/British partnership: he governed effectively,
devoted himself to the Church of Uganda, and entertained the members of European
royalty who travelled to western Uganda on hunting safaris. He used his knowledge of
British colonial culture and his status within it to position the mailo complainants as loyal
Protectorate citizens: asking the Bishop of Uganda to attend a "mother service" for the
Bataka case, and asking for permission for the Bataka to congratulate the Governor on his
safe return.3 His visible participation may have been part of what motivated Protectorate
Officials to take the case against mailo seriously.4
Miti had lost his clan’s butaka land in a case that stunned people because of its
bizarre injustice. Miti left his clan land in 1893 at the time when Catholics moved into
Kyagwe, and Stanislaus Mugwanya, the Catholic Katikirro, assigned the land to one
Namawanja, who claimed to be a member of the proper siga of the Kasimba clan. But
Namawanja was not actually a person who had the right within the clan to hold the butaka
3Miti, 1075.
4 ESA, SMP 6902, Miti to Kabaka, 4/3/1922, suggests that Kaggwa may have tried to
delay hearings of the case so that Miti would not be able to be present to lend his prestige.

216
land, and Miti succeeded between 1894 and 1896 in obtaining the land back from Kabaka
Mwanga. The case was brought up in front of the Lukiko, and Miti won again, but
nothing was done to cause the decision in his favor to be reflected in documents at the
Land Registry Office. In 1909, the case was brought up for a third time, because
(according to Miti), the Catholic Regent Mugwanya was insulted at the treatment he was
receiving from Apolo Kaggwa, and wanted to take revenge on a Protestant.5 This time,
Namawanja said that because the certificates had been made out in his name, the land was
his. Miti argued that the Kabaka had decided in his favor, the Lukiko had decided in his
favor, and so had the High Court. Public opinion was with Miti: the land had been
assigned to be the clan butaka, Miti was the mutaka of the clan, and the land was morally
his. If the Lukiko invalidated the land certificates for Miti’s butaka, however, everyone’s
certificates might be called into question. In the end, after one whole month of
deliberation, the Lukiko came to the conclusion that the Kasimba clan land belonged to
the person whose name was written on the certificate, even though the Kabaka, the
Lukiko, and the clan agreed that the certificate was wrong. Miti explained to the
Commission of Enquiry that "on the strength of my own grievances and in conjunction
with the grievances of my fellow butaka we assembled together and decided to bring up
our case together."6
Daudi Basudde was one of the most articulate spokesmen for the case against
mailo: he used his newspapers Sekanvolva and Matalisi to promote it, and his letter to the
5Miti, 781,993.
Commission, Jemusi Miti, 500.

217
English language Uganda Herald attracted the attention of then Secretary of State for the
Colonies Winston Churchill.7 Protectorate officials described Basudde as someone whose
education and "modem thinking" made him frustrated with the Buganda old guard like
Apolo Kaggwa, but Basudde’s role as a social critic was much more complex. He was the
grand-nephew of Gabulieri Mujasi, who had amassed considerable personal power as an
ekitongole chief during Mwanga’s first short reign, had gained a reputation as bellicose
during the late nineteenth century upheavals, and led Mwanga’s revolt against the British
in 1897. Basudde’s father Antoni Muyimba had joined his uncle Gabulieri Mujasi fighting
on Mwanga’s side, and consequently lost twelve square miles of mailo. From exile,
Muyimba bought a large amount of land in Buddu through a third party, which probably
financed Basudde’s education and underwrote his publications. Muyimba was deported
from Bukoba and imprisoned during World War 1 for allegedly supplying information to
the Germans.8
Basudde was the cultural translator for the case against mailo. He did not claim to
be a mutaka or ask for the return of lost land, a circumstance which caused his opponents
to suggest he was participating for personal gain. The chiefs leading the bataka case were
incensed by this attack; Mugema called Basudde "my son" and the Kangao, Samwiri
Mukasa asked why "this young boy" was being questioned instead of the important men.9
7 ESA, SMP 6902, 20/4/24, Governor Archer to Secretary of State, page 9.
8Chapter 3, also Twaddle, 73, 82; and Welboum, 21-22, note 218.
Commission, 488-491. Basudde demonstrated his commitment to the case by
surrendering his own (small) amount of mailo to the Kabaka; he was considered to be
genuinely interested in reform by his contemporaries. Welboum, 21-22, note 218.

218
Basudde’s deft use of English and public relations skills struck Protectorate officers as
something quite new; but he was actually the third generation in his family to protest
against the forms of power that developed in Buganda with the coming of the British.
The leaders of the case against mailo included a range of people who defy
classification in neat dichotomies of traditional or modem, collaborators or resisters, old
or young. One was the Private Secretary to the Kabaka, Shem Spire Mukasa, the well-
educated son of the Kangao, the Saza chief of Bulemezi. When Shem Spire compared the
socially destructive selfishness of the Regents to "the Kaiser’s game" in Europe, his fellow
members of the Bataka Community stopped the proceedings of the Commission to ask for
translation into Luganda.10 His father, Samwiri Mukasa was one of the most prominent
Christian chiefs in Buganda. As Kangao and acting Katikiro, Samwiri Mukasa had actually
made some of the mailo allocation decisions while Kaggwa was out of Buganda in 1902,
but in the case against mailo his testimony benefitted the complainants rather than the
Regents." Serwano Kulubya, another school educated young man and one of the
secretaries of the Bataka association, became a Miruka chief in 1923 and a Gombolola
chief in 1924.12 He was the official translator for the Commission of Enquiry. Yoda Musa
10From this Chief down to the less important Chiefs all did the same. Just as Chief
Katikiro did so did his good friend Hamu Mukasa follow his footsteps. And just as Chief
Mugwanya did so did our brother Yakobo Musajalumbwa. So all the other Chiefs were
compelled to join in this game. It was a great game to them, but on the side of the Bataka
it was one which ruined our lives. It was a game of so great importance in our country just
like the game Emperor Kaiser played in Europe." Commission, 381-382.
"Commission, Samwiri Mukasa, 490-1.
12ESA, SMP 6902, 8/1/1925, Sturrock to Secretary of State for the Colonies.

219
Musoke, on the other hand, was a mituba clan leader who communicated with the
Provincial Commissioner and Governor in long eloquent letters in Luganda legalese that
overwhelmed the Protectorate’s translators. Malaki Musajakawa testified in the case and
also signed several important communications: he was a charismatic spiritual leader who
attracted so many followers to Mugema’s breakaway church (see below) that its popular
name became Bamalaki, the people of Malaki.13
The most important instigator of the case against mailo, whose prestige and
structural position in Buganda proved the great importance of the case, was Joswa Kate
Mugema. He was head of the Monkey clan, saza chief of Busiro, and the person who had
had the most independent authority in relation to the Kabaka. The Mugema was "Father of
the Kabaka," and "Katikirro" of all the Kabakas of the past, whose tombs and shrines were
in Busiro. His unique authority in relation to the Kabaka was marked in several ways. His
house in the Kibuga, like the Queen Mother’s, had to be on a separate hill from that of the
Kabaka, across a stream of flowing water. He greeted the Kabaka standing, and did not
eat anything cooked in the King’s enclosure.14 The Mugema had provided items essential
to the installation of kings, such as the drum Mujaguzo, the royal rug and stool, and he
performed essential aspects of the installation ritual, including administering an oath and
13Musajakawa had an intensity reminiscent of Ganda spirit mediums of earlier
generations. Imprisoned for refusing to pay a tax to fund local medical services in 1921, he
refused to eat prison food or wear prison clothes. He died of self-starvation nine days after
his deportation from Buganda in 1929, after a riot caused by Malakite refusal to be
vaccinated. Miti, 1842-7.
14Roscoe, 253.

220
introducing the Kabaka to Buganda.15 If a Mugema had been unwilling to bring out the
Mujaguzo, the installation of a new Kabaka would have been impossible. The power of
the Mugema in the old Buganda is suggested by the fact that two of his sub-chiefs "had
power and influence compared with that of the county (saza) chiefs."16
Joswa Kate exercised his responsibility as guardian of the power of Kabakas from
the beginning of British involvement in Buganda. He had the nickname "Semusota"
(snake) because he had put Kabaka Mwanga in an impossible position in 1897 when he
refused to accept the "East and Central Africa Medal" which Queen Victoria wanted to
bestow on a few high ranking Baganda.17 Mwanga could not force the Mugema to accept
the award from the Queen, thus maintaining the fiction that all the Baganda approved of
British overrule, because the Mugema was his ritual parent.18 Mugema had refused to sign
the Buganda Agreement in 1900; he was the only saza chief to take this stance. Mugema
rejected European medicine, claiming that to use it demonstrated lack of faith in God.
Although Mugema explained his assertive rejection of European medicine in Biblical
terms, it harmonized with his role of protecting the Kabakaship and, by extension, Ganda
forms of knowledge. Mugema was an effective chief, appreciated by both his people and
British administrators, with a reputation for generosity and selflessness.19 He made
15Roscoe, 197.
16Apolo Kaggwa, Ekitabo Kya Ebika, quoted in Welbourn, 18.
l7Semusota guli mu ntamu: bw’oguta tolye. bw’oguleka tolve. "The snake’s in the
cooking pot: kill it or leave it you’ll have nothing to eat." Welbourn 11
18Welboum 25, and note, 220.
1’Welbourn, 24.

221
principled decisions about the way he functioned in the Protectorate: for example, he
collected taxes, but objected to a tax that was to fund medical services.
Joswa Kate Mugema’s most significant actions came in response to the attempts by
Apolo Kaggwa and Protectorate officials to stage events focussed on Kabaka Daudi
Chwa. At a time when the lives of ordinary Baganda were challenged by overwhelming
burdens on their labor and a deteriorating standard of living, the colonial government
attempted to maintain people’s loyalty by new versions of the practice of "showing" the
king. Mugema fought bitterly with Kaggwa over the form for the ritual of the
"coronation" of Chwa in 1910. That year he broke with the Church of Uganda, and
established his own alternative, "Katonda Omu Ayinza Byona" (Those of God who can do
all things).20 His church emphasized belief in the power of God, disavowed the use of
medicine, and did not discriminate against the unlettered and poor. 91,000 Baganda had
enrolled by 1921.21 Joswa Kate, who had been chief of the saza of Busiro for more than 20
years, was forced to resign his saza chiefship in 1919 because of his stand against colonial
medical practice. He retained his position as Mugema, head of the Monkey clan and
"Father" of the Kabaka. (The colonial government was forced to break precedent and
appoint a saza chief for Busiro who was not head of the Monkey clan; they had to invent a
new title for the chief).22 Kate’s church offered people new religion without aspects he
20Welboum, 24, note 219.
21 Welboum, 34. Mugema’s church, was commonly known as the Malakite Church
after its most vigorous promoter, Malaki Musajakawa. It deserves more scholarly
attention.
22Welboum, 43, 217.

222
considered to be European impositions: his efforts catalyzing the case against mailo
offered the possibility of an integration of Ganda forms of authority in modem times.
Mailo and the Young Kabaka’s Power
Four years after the 1910 "coronation" which precipitated Mugema’s schism,
Kabaka Daudi Chwa came into his majority with another improvised ritual. The new order
of power in Buganda was dramatized as homage was paid to the king, in an event given a
colonial gloss by the presence of representatives of the missionary societies and
Protectorate government officials in dress uniforms. First came the Prime Minister, then
the Saza and Gombolola chiefs, then the male members of the royal family, and last, the
female members of the royal family.23 A generation or two earlier, royal men would have
had no place before the king (they were a threat and kept in prison), and some of the royal
women would have had more authority than any one else.24 Clan elders and spiritually
powerful individuals would have been present among the powerful, and chiefs would not
have been a group with identical responsibilities and status in distinct geographical units,
but a network of people with overlapping roles and statuses. Kabaka Daudi Chwa, as a
seventeen year old monarch, could accept the obeisance of the new equivalent of "all of
Buganda," but he could not function as the center of the web of connections that had been
23Miti, 1003.
24A few years later, when it appeared that Kabaka Daudi Chwa might side with the
Bataka, Kaggwa’s son and some friends published a statement claiming the Kabaka’s
immorality impeded the progress of the nation. Having discussed his illegitimate children,
they moved on to the topic of princes who were not imprisoned, "how then can we refer
to such sons as princes when we know not of the existence of such a place for their
confinement?" Miti, 1070.

223
his kingdom in the past. The flow of goods, actions, and prestige that defined relationships
in the nation had been disrupted by long distance trade and enslavement, and undermined
by cash wages, forced labor and taxation. The many figures of authority that supported
him had been replaced by newly defined hierarchies of saza, gombolola and miruka chiefs.
These administrators knelt to the Kabaka, but they collected taxes that went to the
Protectorate, and received salaries that came from Entebbe.
The years immediately following Chwa’s "coming of age" were characterized by
intense, convoluted struggles for power at the top of the Ganda hierarchy. Protectorate
officials tried to use the period of transition to replace older Ganda chiefs with more
pliable young men. Kaggwa, Mugwanya and Kisingiri became "the Three Ministers"
instead of "the Regents," and they maneuvered to maintain the power that they had held in
the name of the King. The young Kabaka tried to assert his authority over these ministers,
and against the Provincial Commissioner and the Governor. For several years, it appeared
that Apolo Kaggwa was winning and the Kabaka was losing in these struggles. Kaggwa
had even reprimanded the Kabaka in front of the Saza chiefs, and not been punished.25 The
Kabaka was also humiliated by the British. In 1920, the "three ministers" attempted to
undermine each other in a case that began when the new Treasurer, Musajalumbwa,
flogged a worker who then appealed to Mugwanya, the Chief Justice. The British used the
case as an excuse to alter the structure of Ganda government at the top. Kabaka Daudi
Chwa became angry, because he believed that changing the structure of the Ganda
25 Daudi Chwa to Entebbe, 22/4/1915, ESA C/255/10, cited in Twaddle, "Bakungu
Chiefs," 315.

224
hierarchy was his prerogative. When the Kabaka protested to the Governor, he was told to
accept the new arrangement. Mugwanya, who had held the highest office in Buganda after
Prime Minister Kaggwa, resigned in protest in December 1920.26
The furor over land of the early 1920s can only be understood in the context of
these struggles over power: the timing of the case against mailo was completely logical in
Ganda terms. The potential for conflict inherent in the early years of a reign had been
enshrined in the installation ritual, in which the Kabaka fought a mock battle while
ascending Budo hill. As Rowe has pointed out, young Kabakas often had to struggle to
free themselves from the influence of the Katikirros who had put them in power. Offering
or returning land to groups who had fallen out of favor at some earlier time was one
strategy available to Kabakas in consolidating their rule. Basudde explained to the
Commission of Enquiry that the re-allocation of land in 1900 did not alarm people at first
because "The old method (of Kabakas seizing butaka land) did not matter so much since
one could always have hope of being able to regain his butaka land by appealing to the
kabaka." He cited the proverb "Omutaka nyenje tefa muka" ("the mutaka is a cockroach
which does not die in the smoke") to indicate that clan elders whose land was taken by one
Kabaka would continue to agitate until that king or one of his successors returned the land
to the clan.27 In the context of Chwa’s obvious lack of power in relation to the Katikirro
and the Protectorate, the case against mailo offered the Kabaka an opportunity to assert
26Miti, 1039-41.
27Commission, Daudi Basudde, 352.

225
himself using an ultimately meaningful idiom of power over people in Buganda-the
allocation of land.
Joswa Kate Mugema acted in his capacity as father of the reigning Kabaka and
Prime Minister for the dead kabakas when he mobilized people to make the case against
mailo. In November 1921, he wrote to "all my friends, the Bataka who were robbed of
their clan estates in Buganda" calling them to a meeting in January to discuss the issue of
butaka, "as our king, whose coming of age we have hitherto been waiting for, has now
attained his majority."28 According to Miti, this meeting had to be postponed because of
poor attendance, but on the second attempt, on January 27, 1922, "a record number of
men and women" gathered to discuss the issue, make contributions, and choose
secretaries.29 Kaggwa tried to have Daudi Basudde arrested for collecting an illegal tax,
but the Provincial Commissioner ruled that voluntary contributions to the Bataka cause
were acceptable.
The Bataka Federation’s appeal to Kabaka Daudi Chwa, issued a few weeks after
the meeting, describes the injustice suffered by the bataka in the mailo allocation and asks
the Kabaka to take back all the land and assign it again.30
28Miti, 1052.
29Miti, 1053.
30An initial fifteen paragraph document appears in "The Baganda Land Holding
Question," dated February, in SMP 6902, dated 22 February, and in a slightly different
translation, in Miti, dated 6 February. Several paragraphs were excerpted by D. A. Low in
The Mind of Buganda. 62-3. A second letter, which begins with a numbered paragraph
numbered 16, was dated 1 March 1922, and signed by Miti, can be found in SMP 6902.

226
"What we want is that all mailos must be returned back and be put into
your hands, and that you yourself shall distribute the land to the clans, and
then afterwards your chiefs shall be given some. We also want our Native
Kibuga to be returned back to You: that is to say, the Kibuga to be
Kabaka’s property, as it used to be long ago."31
In this first statement to the Kabaka, and repeatedly during their testimony, the Bataka
community explained that mailo had been allocated unjustly because "you, our Kabaka,
the Supreme head of Bataka, who would have defended our interest was in your
minority." The kabaka had not been able to prevent the injustice because he was a child,
now that he was in control, he could change everything. (In a later letter to the Governor,
Yuda Musa Musoke asserted that the Kabaka "was quite astonished" when he found that
clans had lost their land during his minority).32
The appeal placed the controversy in the context of Ganda remembered history,
naming the Kabakas who had grown into adulthood and taken power back from
caretakers, and disputes over land that caused people to kill each other, and could only be
resolved by the Kabaka.33 The mailo allocation had "spoiled all the land settlement,
dispersed the whole country and led to the confiscation of all our Butaka lands, absolutely
destroying some clan communities"; the Bataka pointed out that "our Kabaka, who ruled
us, would never have done."34 The implications of the appeal were clear: things might
31"Further Resolution re Bataka Question," 1/3/1922, para. 16.
32 The Bataka Community, The Baganda Land Holding Question, pamphlet prepared
for private circulation, n.d., in possession of author; hereafter referred to as Land Holding
Question. 19; SMP 6902, 1/8/22 Masiga Bataka to Governor.
33Appeal, paragraphs 16, 7.
34Butaka Land Question, 19.

227
have gone badly when the Kabaka was a child, but the Mugema and other "Bataka
Federation" members would support him in asserting his power over the forces that had
impeded good government during his childhood.35
The Grammar of Omusango
The form of the appeal made by the Mugema, Miti, and the rest of "the Bataka
Federation" is a key to understanding its meaning. When they asked Kabaka Daudi Chwa
to address the land issue in 1922 they asked him to hear a case:
We, your Bataka...pray you most humbly to kindly consent to hear
mercifully to the following our complaints which we are representing
before you.36
When the same group took the case to the colonial authorities they spoke of "the points in
dispute" "which we would like His Britannic Majesty’s Government to decide."37 The
Regents who had made the mailo allocation clearly saw themselves as defendants in a case
against them. The Katikirro Apolo Kaggwa wrote to all the Saza Chiefs on March 4,
1922, that a " great event" had taken place in the Lukiko, "Chiefs Mugema and Jemusi
Miti in company with all the bataka had us tried on a charge of having distributed the
mailo land badly by giving large shares to our friends and to our children."38 When the
35Appeal, paragraph xx p. 19 juxtaposes the Kabaka’s power over land with that of His
Majesty’s Government; Miti, 1003 on bakopi expectations that butaka would be restored
when the Kabaka came of age; Welboum, 25, on Mugema’s offer of support to the
Kabaka.
36 Letter to Kabaka 2/1922; Land Holding Question. 17.
37Land Holding Question. 4.
38 Miti, 1066.

228
decision had been made to set up a Commission of Inquiry, Kaggwa wrote in great alarm
to the Provincial Commissioner of Buganda, that the Regents had done the work they had
been given of distributing villages. What had they done wrong to require a trial before the
Protectorate officers they had faithfully served? If the Regents were being put on trial,
why were they not given an opportunity to know the exact case against them?39
In Buganda, bringing and hearing cases involved most adult members of a
community at the local level, and the skills involved were highly prized. People sought
justice by presenting their complaint in the presence of the person being complained
against, before a chief or other authority who was superior to both litigants. In the
precolonial period, a decision of one chief against another sometimes had the consequence
that the loser lost his position; observers during the tumultuous late nineteenth century
reported that the loser’s possessions were often plundered. Cases could be appealed to a
higher level chief; the ultimate appeal was to the Kabaka.40 Everyone who was available
could listen and, at the local level, participate. Mackay noted in 1881 that "there is a
never-ending amount of musango (trial) going on."41 The pervasive place of cases in daily
life is evident in the English language exercise book of a rising Christian chief in 1898.42
39Kaggwa to P.C.; P.C.’s Office to Katikiro, 7 April, 1924, ESA, SMP 6902.
40Mackay wrote in 1881 that the ultimate appeal was to the Katikirro, but cases
described in recorded oral tradition suggest that cases went to the Kabaka, and Mackay’s
observation probably describes the situation when the power of the Kabaka had been
significantly eroded. Mackay 187-8.
4‘Mackay, by his sister, 187.
42Ezera Kabali papers, Makerere University Library Africana Collection.

229
In a very neat hand are the translations into English: "The dog wants a bun." "Shall we
have cakes for tea? On the facing page are the learner’s own sentences "He has cut a
difficult case." "How will he argue the case?"
The forms and processes of omusango incorporate the motivations which
observers have attributed to the Bataka Federation as well as the goals which they
themselves articulated.43 The disputed issue in the case was control of land, and the large
incomes land owners were obtaining from tithes on cash crops produced by their tenants
has to be considered a factor in the case: some of the bataka complainants may have been
seeking rents and not interested in the larger issues. As we have seen, however, the leaders
of the bataka were very large land owners. Many observers have explained their
participation as a vendetta against Kaggwa, and the structure of omusango placed the
complainants in opposition to the Regents who had made the mailo allocation. Winning
against the Katikirro would have toppled him from power in the past, and personal
attacks on Apolo Kaggwa and Stanislaus Mugwanya were a significant part of the case.
But it is important to recognize that the issues of lost land and dissatisfaction with
43 The acting Governor Archer accurately summarized the contemporary perception of
the motivations of the Bataka in his summary letter to the Secretary of State (probably
drafted by Sturrock): "The members are actuated by various motives. Some are purely
self-interested and are endeavoring, as prominent members of the clan organization, to
obtain estates in individual freehold by compulsory transfer from allottees under the
Agreement; others have no ground for dissatisfaction as to their personal allotments under
the Agreement and are prompted by political motives to attack the existing Government at
what they consider to be a vulnerable point. Not a few have joined the Federation from
motives of personal dislike of certain prominent officials of the Native Government. Some
few, however, are actuated by genuinely disinterested motives, and are honestly
endeavoring to correct what they consider to be a tribal injustice." Archer, SMP 6902 item
95, 20/4/23

230
Kaggwa’s thirty eight years of imperious rule are integrally connected to the bataka’s
critique of new power in Buganda, because the action of carrying out the case dramatized
the appropriate location of power-in the hands of the Kabaka. By casting their complaint
in the form of a case, the bataka group implied that injustice had been done against them
and that the higher authority—the Kabaka and later the British—would recognize that
injustice and give them what they deserved.
Daudi Chwa’s Attempt to Rule and its Aftermath
Kabaka Daudi Chwa did accept the opportunity offered by Mugema and the
Bataka Federation to assert his power by re-allocating land. He heard arguments presented
by thirty five heads of clans and counter-arguments by Apolo Kaggwa, the Prime Minister,
and Stanislaus Mugwanya, who had been the Chief Justice, for one week in March of
1922. On June 6, 1922 Chwa gave his decision that some of the bataka’s land had been
unjustly taken and ought to be returned. He determined that the majority of the clans were
still in possession of their most important butaka, although they had lost part of the land
related to them. Some of the butaka of masiga (branches) of the clans had been taken by
chiefs claiming land, and all of the land that had been given by a Kabaka to a specific
person had been lost. He instructed the Lukiko to figure out a way to give the land back.
Apolo Kaggwa was obviously frightened, as he wrote to the Governor that the Bataka’s
action set "a very unfavorable precedent" that might undermine the prestige of the Native
Government.44
^ESA, SMP 6902, Kaggwa to Governor, 12 June, 1922.

231
Over the next few months people waited to see whether Kaggwa would surrender
the authority that belonged to the King. People stopped cultivating land that they feared
might change hands.45 The Governor called together Kaggwa and the other Ministers, the
Saza and some Gombolola chiefs, and lectured them on solving their own problems.46
Daudi Chwa began to make individual land decisions, and the Lukiko ignored them,
causing Chwa to complain,
You should understand that when all the people write to me they do so on
the conviction that they are addressing their own king themselves to their
own King, who they trust will assist them in the restoration of this butaka
property. Nor do I treat such correspondence with contempt. On the
contrary I write comments on the giving instructions at the same time that
such complainants should have their property restored to them. But when
the people observe that their names and my comments are not read out in
the Lukiko they are naturally led to think that their King did not pay
attention to their petition.47
Chwa demanded that the Lukiko return to him any letter regarding land about which it had
refused to take action, so that he could follow up.
The first turning point in the case against mailo came when the Lukiko refused the
Kabaka’s request to return land to the bataka in 1922. Kaggwa emphasized his humiliating
defeat of the bataka by drafting a bill that allowed the sale of butaka to strangers after the
land had first been offered to clan members, and allowing clan elders to live on clan land
as long as they behaved as respectful, obedient servants of their landlord.48 In a brief,
45ESA, SMP 6902, Mugema et al to Governor, 30/5/1922.
46ESA, SMP 6902, 11/7/1922.
47 Chwa to Lukiko 18/9/1922, reproduced in Miti, 1088-89.
48 SMP 6902, also Miti 920-921, n.b. this comes after page 1090.

232
bitter letter which might have been calculated to rally support, Kabaka Chwa wrote to the
bataka in October, 1926, that since the Lukiko had rejected the law, he could do nothing
for them.49 Kaggwa’s victory over his king exposed a process that had begun a half century
before when his predecessors began to trade and amass wealth independently of Kabaka
Mutesa. The loss of the Kabaka’s power to Kaggwa, which had been neatly hidden by the
Regency, was now perfectly obvious. The degree to which the new power of the Katikirro
obscured a permanent loss of power to the "Protecting Power" had yet to be fully
demonstrated.
Colonial Power on Trial on a Colonial Stage: The Multiple Meanings of Butaka
The Kabaka’s failure to restore their butaka land did not cause people to lose
confidence in the power of their king. Nor did they blame their frustration and distress on
the deepening Protectorate presence in Buganda. Instead, the Ganda leaders of the case
against mailo asked the colonial government to restore order in Buganda by putting
everyone back in their proper place—the Kabaka, the bataka, and the chiefs. In streams of
letters to Entebbe, the Bataka Federation and a splinter organization of Masiga bataka
asked that the Government hear the case and settle it in their favor, against the allocators
of mailo.50 The Governor initially tried to scold the Baganda for not solving their own
problems and insist that the issue had to be resolved by the Native Government, but the
stream of articulate protest from the leaders of the Bataka movement to their friends in
49 Baganda Land Holding Question. 29.
50 The Masiga Bataka, including Yuda Musoke and Malaki Masajakawa began to write
independently to Protectorate officials, in long, intricate impassioned Luganda, starting in
August, 1922.

233
England and to important figures in the Home Government eventually forced the
Protectorate government to capitulate. After some discussion of what form the
intervention should take, the decision was finally made to hold a Commission of Enquiry
inBugandain April, 1924.
In the first phase of their case, the bataka had called upon the King to act justly
and re-allocate land. In the second phase, they specifically asked the British government to
restore Ganda forms of government in order to allow the Kabaka to govern. The booklet
they published in English to influence public opinion explained,
...under the 1900 Treaty our Kabaka’s time hounoured and immemorial
prerogative of being himself an adjudicator in disputes and allotter of
unoccupied land has been destroyed, further because our native kingdoms
and its land policy and social economy were inseparable connected with the
preservation of our native system of land tenure, and since all these were
changed and since the Government failure to comprehend our indigenous
social views on the land question, we find the consequences to have led to
much misunderstanding and our Native Government is now falling to
pieces.51
The failure of the new forms of authority and the necessity of incorporating old ones were
the basis of the case that the Bataka brought to the Protectorate’s Commission of Enquiry
in 1924.
How was it possible for Baganda who had once been powerful to bring a case
against new forms of authority before officers of the British Protectorate? The Uganda
Police provided a 100 man Guard of Honor when the Commission of Inquiry first met on
April 10, 1924. The two Commissioners, the Provincial Commissioner Sturrock and the
Chief Justice Griffin, were greeted with a salute of guns and music by the King’s African
51 Baganda Land Holding Question 29-30.

234
Rifles Band, and then opening speeches were made in front of "distinguished Government
personages."52 Colonial support for a critique of colonialism happened because Baganda
made statements about injustice and power which their British listeners heard as
statements about injustice and land ownership; if the Protectorate authorities had followed
the implications of the arguments on Ganda terms, it is unlikely that the argument could
have been made on a public stage, wi h or without police salutes and army bands. Another
important factor was a pattern of a polarization of responsibility that Baganda and British
both utilized. All the protagonists maintained strategic silences in their presentation of the
conflict, defining fault and friendship in ways that allowed them to maintain connections
with the parties which seemed most useful, and avoid blame themselves.
"Butaka" became a symbol for all that had been lost with mailo, even though the
complainants were asking for more than land, and the land they wanted had not all been
clan land. In addition to the lost lands of clans, their specific claims included the land that
had been the Kibuga (palace) in Mengo, the land dedicated to spirit mediums in Sesse and
Mawokota, and the lands of princesses and princes who were moved to Busirro so that
they could "look after" the shrines of the dead Kabakas. Only seven of the group who
named themselves the "Bataka Federation" were the recognized heads of clans; four
Bataka immediately created an opposing organization, and thirty three clan heads did not
attach their names to either organization.53 Why did the Baganda who made the case
52Letter to Commissioner of Police, 4 April 1922, ESA, SMP 6902; Miti, 1102-3.
53The bataka in the "Buganda National Federation of Bataka" were Aligizanda
Ndugwa, Lugave Clan; Semioni Nankere, Mamba Clan; Vesenti Kawoya, Ngeye Clan;
Yuda K. Mukasa for Kinkumu Kasolo, Ng’onge Clan, and Saulo Lugwisa, Mpologoma

235
against mailo call all this land "butaka" and themselves "bataka"? The word "mutaka" was
also used to describe the earliest resident of a village, the one who would be consulted in a
dispute because they knew the area better than anyone else. Perhaps "the Bataka
Federation" intended this meaning. It is possible that the group who complained about
mailo called themselves the "Bataka Federation" to emphasize their knowledge of
Buganda that preceded the time of mailo.54 Disregard for clan land in the mailo allocation
was clearly a powerful symbol of things gone wrong, one that focussed public attention. In
the absence of direct evidence of the evolution of the thinking of the Baganda who
brought the case against mailo, it is also possible to surmise that they shaped their case in
terms of butaka partly because complaints about butaka had gotten a response.
In the twenty years that followed the mailo allocation, British Protectorate officials
had sometimes intervened to ensure that clan elders regained control of clan land. In
contrast, royal women who tried to regain their place, and people who had held land
commemorating relationships with the Kabaka appear to have been unsuccessful in
attracting Protectorate sympathy.55 In 1903, the District Commissioner George Wilson
called attention to problems in the original land proposals that had been pointed out to him
by the Mugema Joswa Kate; in this letter, Wilson warned that the question was
Clan, as well as Miti and Joswa Kate. The "Bataka Society Who Keep the Baganda Mailo
Agreement of 1900" included Aligizanda N. Gabunga, Daudi Zamwanguya for
Mugalulua, Nsenene Clan, and Selwano Sentó, the Sabalangira. Esa,SMP 6902
25/2/1922, Miti to Kabaka Daudi Chwa.
54A. F. Robertson, Community of Strangers; A Journal of Discovery in Uganda,
London: Scolar Press, 1978, 112-3.
55Commission, 541.

236
complicated, had been dealt with by the Lukiko, and the Protectorate ought to avoid it.56
Cases concerning butaka land were appealed from the Lukiko to Protectorate
Administrators or heard in the High Court: the D.C. Stanley Tomkins intervened in the
notorious Kajubi case in 1906, and had listened to others, including Andereya Kiwanuka’s
complaint against Kaggwa for Mboga clan land.57 Very early High Court decisions that
involved the conflict between butaka claims and mailo included Nasanairi Kibuka versus
Bertie Smith, and a complicated case involving Hamu Mukasa. Protectorate officials had
also had to consider complaints about butaka land that clans lost when the Protectorate
capital was built in Entebbe. Although these interactions did not always lead to satisfaction
of clan claims, they cumulatively appear to have created an impression that British
Protectorate officials recognized the loss of butaka as an injustice. Before the Commission
of Enquiry, people referred to George Wilson’s statement twenty years earlier, claiming
that Bwana Tayali (Wilson) had said "the bataka will weep."58
In 1918, the Land Office initiated a scheme that gave weight to the perception that
the Protectorate was concerned about butaka land. The Land Officer, the Conveyancer,
the Acting Attorney General and the P.C. for Buganda developed a plan through which
each clan would provide documentation of its butaka that had been lost, and then the Land
56Welboum, 19 and note, 246. Wilson’s memorandum can no longer be located in the
archives of the Uganda Land and Surveys Department.
"Commission, Andereya Kiwanuka, 375; also Yokana Kiwanuka, 435-6.
58Commission, Alikisi Kasolobugndu, 411.

237
Office would supervise exchange or purchase of the land.59 Most clan elders could not
assemble the required maps of each butaka estate, and signatures of the mutaka and
masiga (subsidiary) bataka for each one, as well as records of their current ownership,
before the December 1918 deadline set by the Land Registry Office. Furthermore, many
clan elders did not own land to exchange for the butaka land, could not afford to buy it,
and the mailo owners were not inclined to give up the rich, highly populated villages that
had been butaka. The implausibility of the plan, and the fact that any butaka claim filed
after December 1918 became invalid suggests that the scheme originated in the Land
Office’s desire to streamline land registration by eliminating conflicts over competing
claims to land.60 That notwithstanding, the promulgation of the Land Office letter
impressed people with land grievances. Referring to the plan, the Bataka Federation
wrote, "we are quite aware that His Majesty’s Government was fully sympathizing with us
and seeing that our Butaka had been disorganized and taken by those who were not their
owners."61 The activity clans undertook to comply with the Land Office deadline for
exchanging land for butaka in 1918 may have shaped the case against mailo, crystallizing
the frustrations of people who had once again failed to regain what they had lost, and
assuring them that Protectorate officials would pay attention to complaints about butaka.
59 Land Officers Memorandum No. a 4760/798, 25 January 1818, quoted in Sturrock
to Chief Secretary, 4 June 1921, ESA, SMP 6902.
60The philosophical and methodological conflicts between the Land Officer and the
Provincial Commissioner are discussed below.
61Land Holding Question. 21.

238
Ganda leaders and Protectorate officials attached fundamentally different meanings
to the loss of butaka, however. Baganda explained butaka as a means of naming people, of
defining who they were and how they related to the rest of Obuganda.62 Semei Sabagala
Kyadondo, the venerable Mutaka of the Nvuma clan, proved their right to the lost butaka
Kyadondo by explaining what the clan did there:
This butaka land has been given to us by Kabaka Nakibinge, who planted a
tree there for us to tie on his cow which we look after there and which is
called Nakawombe; moreover, the present Kabaka Daudi Chwa came to
this place and saw this very tree and he also gave us his own cow to look
after...63
When one mutaka had explained butaka as "the origin or beginning of the Baganda from
time immemorial," Daudi Basudde attempted to clarify:
The butaka of Kasolya has been in existence since a very long time ago,
and no one knows when it started, but it started with taka, [glossed by
Basudde as ’earth or land] . To show how important the butaka of
Kasolya’ is considered, the names given to members of a particular clan are
sometimes the names of the hills where the butaka of kasolya’ is located.64
The masiga bataka tried to explain the necessity of regaining lost butaka in a letter to the
Governor: "We firmly say that there is not a mutaka (muganda) who does not know
where he was born."65 Since people were not actually bom at their clan butaka, these clan
62 The argument of section three, below, is that authority over people and responsibility
for the well-being of the kingdom were implicit in these claims.
63Commission, Semei Sebagala Kyadondo, 442.
Commission, Daudi Basudde, 350; Malaki Musajakawa, 342.
65Masiga Bataka to Governor, 1/8/1922; ESA SMP 6902; Miti was still politely
arguing the importance of clan lands being owned by the appropriate person in the siga in
a letter to the Governor four years later; SMP 6902 Miti to Governor 26/4/1926, item #
217.dated 26 April, 1926.

239
elders were talking about the origin of identity, not physical birth. Asking for the return of
butaka meant asking for the restoration of a Ganda order of things, of people being who
they were, in their appropriate place, under the authority of the right rulers.
Protectorate officials uniformly failed to perceive these implications of mailo: for
them, the problem was that the clans had been deprived of their property, and the loss of
property was a serious injury that deserved Protectorate attention. J.C.R. Sturrock, who
was fluent in Luganda and had been Daudi Chwa’s tutor, considered the mailo system to
be "entirely foreign to Baganda ideas and entirely subversive of Buganda custom"; but this
was because it ignored the social organization of the tribe—the clan, and the butaka, which
were the communally held "property of the clans."66 A newly arrived Protectorate Official
saw the problem in terms familiar to himself: if the issue was lost burial grounds, why not
place fences around butaka and give everyone access to the graves?67 In their attempts to
resolve the butaka problem, Protectorate Officials focussed on the question of how whole
clans could be represented as owners, entirely avoiding the issue of the lost political power
of clan elders. For example, the plan created by the Land Office and Provincial
Commissioner in 1918 specified that the returned clan land would not be registered in the
name of the clan leader, but would be held in trusteeship by a clan council.68 The
deliberations that led to the plan, and the wording of it, suggest that the concern was
“Sturrock to Chief Secretary, 4/6/1921, ESA SMP 6902; Governor Archer’s letter to
the Secretary of State; 20/4/1923, p. 5, ESA SMP 6902, probably drafted by Sturrock.
67 J. de G. Delmege, SMP 225, 49-50. (This odd citation is at the end of my pamphlet
file).
68Miti, 1028.

240
representing a form of communal ownership, and not (as the circumstance might have
been perceived by Baganda), an attempt to hold clan elders out of power.
The gap between Ganda and British meanings for butaka can be traced all the way
through the case against mailo. Bataka complained that they "virtually became peasants," a
statement that encapsulated a loss of authority and status as well as land; but it was
understood as only a complaint about lost land.69 Daudi Basudde described the
ceremonies of asking for and receiving a bark cloth tree to mark the creation of sub-clans,
a ritual which, like the opening of the British parliament, defined political relationships
through actions, not written words. What the colonial officers understood from his
description, however, was that the bark cloth trees marked the ownership of the land.70
Butaka had the array of meanings for Ganda leaders that "the crown" had for British
officers, but throughout the case against mailo, the British responded to something
smaller; as if the Baganda were calling for a restoration of "the crown" and intending only
the return of a piece of elaborate jewelry.
The Tenuous Intersection of Discourses of Power
Ganda thinkers were able to mount a sustained critique of colonial forms of power
with the support of Protectorate authorities not only because they spoke of power in
unfamiliar ways, but also because they insisted that all the injustice they suffered had been
69Land Holding Question. 4.
70Commission, Dudi Basudde, 350-1.

241
caused by the Lukiko leaders, and not by the British. The tidy dichotomies of fault and
virtue which the case evoked illustrate the utility of indirect rule: the Bataka blamed the
Regents, the Regents blamed the Bataka, and the British criticized Kaggwa in private but
in public blamed the Regents and Bataka for not working things out together. Throughout
the dispute, no one spoke about taxes that drained the spring of Buganda at its source, or
about the strain of massive labor calls, or about the overwhelming consequences for
Ganda society of people working for wages. The intended alienation of 9,000 square miles
of Buganda to be Protectorate Crown Land was only mentioned once before the
Commission, and even that was part of a statement about waste land.71 Instead, all the
frustration was focussed internally, and shaped into arguments that would appeal to the
colonial ruler. The testimony of complainants in the case against mailo demonstrates how
indirect rule worked for the colonizer: they were not being blamed for problems they had
caused. However, the passionate statements of Bataka witnesses also point to a
significant, but hard-to-glimpse facet of the interaction of Africans and foreign wielders of
power. Faced with the destruction of the political structures of their kingdom, the Bataka
community did not blame the British colonizers, whose actions did not appear to be
immediately relevant or remarkable. Instead, they blamed the upheaval in Ganda forms of
governance on chiefs whose actions could be explained as willful selfishness.
The Bataka framed their case in a way that pointed to the Regents’ failure to fulfill
the just intentions of the British. They continually argued that the Agreement paragraph
15 stated that everyone was to receive the miles which he possessed at that time. "The
7‘Commission, Shem Spire Mukasa and Apolo Kaggwa, 522.

242
representatives of the Good Queen Victoria made the agreement to certify that every one
shall remain on his land of which he was in possession at that time." The problem, they
said, came when the Regents misreprented the Agreement in order to take all the land for
themselves. Various witnesses explained, "the Katikiro put the Agreement in his house and
did not show us"; "we the Saza chiefs were not supplied with copies of it to study it and
know that each person shall receive the estates of which he was then in possession." The
Bataka pointedly testified that they had, indeed, felt dissatisfied with British intervention,
until they realized the truth,
we could not help thinking that perhaps this new system of land tenure
which had been introduced into our country by the Government of the
Good Queen Victoria had really been introduced with the intention of
bringing misery to us the Bataka. We only discovered a short time ago the
provisions of the Uganda Agreement which were quite good.72
Almost every written communication by the Bataka and every witness before the
Commission returned to the selfish deception of the Regents, which undermined the good
intentions of the British.
In the structure of their argument, the Bataka made the assumption that the ruler
of England would want what they wanted, and she would think the way they thought. This
might have been a ploy, but it also might have been a generous extension of logic, and of
the Ganda model of ruling over other polities. A beneficent and effective ruler would want
good government in a tributary state, and would not destroy it internally. The Baganda did
not attribute the destruction of the good customs of Buganda to a distant and unknown
72Commission, Malaki Musajakawa, 341, Zakayo Semakade, 366, Samwiri Mukasa,
491; Luisi Majwega, 370; also, Land Holding Question. 23-4, Appeal, paragraph 14.

243
British Government. Instead, they blamed familiar people whose actions they had seen and
whose motivations could be identified. Kaggwa had given up his own lands and "taken up
others he coveted"; "he seized them because he saw they were fine estates."73 Kaggwa,
Mugwanya, and Kisingiri had wanted to have more for themselves, and they had taken
what they wanted from everyone less powerful than themselves. Everything difficult that
happened later was a consequence of their actions. In their perception of the causes and
solution to the problems they perceived in their country, the Baganda who made the case
against mailo stayed inside an intellectual universe in which important chiefs who acted
selfishly caused ruin and a Kabaka with power might create well-being. In their
explanations of their case, the colonial power was a vague and not tremendously
significant minor figure.
The British officials who became involved in the case operated inside similar
hegemonic boundaries: they recognized their own power, and believed the chiefs they
employed to be capable of serving well or serving badly, but they were not threatened by a
coalition of formerly powerful Baganda. A case complaining about colonial forms of
power got heard by Protectorate officials partly because the British did not recognize that
the Kabaka, royal women and men, clan elders, and spiritual leaders might continue to
exercise considerable independent authority. The Buganda that emerges from the
correspondence of Protectorate officials at this time is one in which peasants paid their
taxes at cotton ginneries, chiefs kept or did not keep good receipts, and men wore elegant
73Commission, 333,335,366.

244
kanzus to church. The social institutions which had given meaning to peoples’ lives just a
few decades earlier are a vague, not tremendously significant element of the background.
The tenuous connections which Ganda leaders and their British counterparts were
able to make with each other in the drawn out case against mailo undermines an
instrumental view of indirect rule. Perhaps intermediaries, in the form of colonial chiefs,
were more than an expedient way for foreigners to exploit Africans. Perhaps indirect rule
came into being because people had so much difficulty understanding each other across
their fundamentally different notions of power and its instrumentalities. Without an
intermediary of some kind to translate from one hegemony to another, interaction would
have been impossible. Colonial chiefs made it possible for the British to function in
Buganda without understanding multiple and overlapping forms of authority. Colonial
chiefs enabled Baganda to perceive a cause for the erosion of social order they
experienced. The wrongdoings of chiefs allocating mailo gave the Ganda leaders and the
British officials a way to communicate with each other. Even so, the intersection points of
Ganda and British ways of thinking about power were so tenuous that, at an important
level, neither group felt seriously threatened by the other’s sense of its own power. The
Baganda asked for the return of the authority of the Kabaka and his men; the British
Protectorate listened, but did not appear to understand.

CHAPTER SEVEN
THE DESTRUCTION OF THE GOOD CUSTOMS OF BUGANDA
In the early 1920s, the Ganda leaders who brought the case against mailo used the
powerful cultural symbol of land allocation to make a profound, nuanced, and passionate
critique of the effects of new forms of power on Buganda society. These leaders included
older chiefs respected by both Ganda and British observers, members of the generation of
schooled young men, and people whose place of authority had been erased in 1900. All
claimed that mailo was destroying the foundation of the Buganda kingdom. In a series of
protests that culminated in a colonial Commission of Inquiry, they asserted the superiority
of Ganda forms of power and authority over those created in 1900, calling for a reform of
relationships between rulers and ruled, and insisting that the good customs of Buganda
could be integrated with British overrule in a way that would be beneficial for everyone.
Mailo Shattering the Foundations of the Kingdom
The Bataka Federation argued that mailo land removed the unwritten constitution
that had been continually re-enacted when the appropriate people remembered ancestors
at the appropriate places. The active remembering of the past carried out by Bataka and
others made Buganda; if these important people did not have the prestige implied by
control of their estates, they could not carry out their part of maintaining the nation in an
appropriate way, and the kingdom could not exist. The Kabaka had to take the land back
245

246
and redistribute it, the Bataka urged, because making private property out of the land that
had given order and meaning to the nation had altered social and political relationships in
Buganda at every level. When the Regents allocated mailo,
they upset everything and as the results of that mistake caused the present
ill feeling which exists among our people as a whole, shattering also our
country from its former foundation and destroying all our good customs of
helping and loving each other, thus putting us under a form of Government
which we cannot understand. We feel as if we were under the hybrid
customs.1
Shem Spire Mukasa, the Private Secretary to the Kabaka, summarized the Bataka
community's case in this way:
Our main points of contention in this dispute are as follows:-
1) The first one is that we have been deprived of our Butaka estates, and
this point is the direct cause of the second point which is this:-
2) That the native customs which are the guardian of the importance and
prestige of our nation have been entirely destroyed.2
The Bataka Federation used the loss of butaka land to criticize changes in political
structures, habits of governance, and social relationships in Buganda.
The Bataka community's complaints have been seen as a personal attack on Apolo
Kaggwa, and it is important to acknowledge that some parts of the testimony before the
Commission of Inquiry clearly had that goal. Admitting his part in allocating and accepting
mailo, the Kangawo, Samwiri Mukasa, said "The Regents' instructions were these: that we
1 Appeal to Kabaka Daudi Chwa by the "Buganda National Federation of Butaka,"
February 1922, Land Holding Question. 17-25. paragraph 3. Hereafter cited as 6/2/1922
Appeal, with paragraph number.
Commission, Shem Spire Mukasa, 381.

247
were given land and that we should take it up wherever we could find it. Some of the
things which we considered could not be done you (Kaggwa) allowed them to be done."3
The witness for the clan of princes claimed that Kaggwa had committed the "abomination"
of unburying a Kabaka in order to solidify his claim to land.4
he made us unbury the bones of the dead, our relatives the princes and
princesses who died a long time ago and he drove them away from those
butaka villages which he had finished snatching. And he did not stop with
those bones only, but there were the bones of a Kabaka (king) himself
which he removed from the grave. The words we say are that it can never
be forgotten in Buganda.5
Kaggwa was given an opportunity to cross-examine the prince, who then made his
condemnation even more specific:
Kaggwa: The skull [of Kabaka Tebendeke, 18th king of the Buganda
dynasty] you are talking about was buried in the grave and I removed it?
Prince: You ripped it out of the place where it had been for all those years
and you removed it.
Commissioner: Did you put it outside?
Prince: You told us "You put it in another place you want, I have taken the
land."6
Commission, Samwiri Mukasa, 491-2.
4 Examples of this from early in the 20th century: A husband trying to reclaimed his
wife did not just say she had abandoned him, he said she was the essence of neglectful: she
had made herself abort and starved another child. Lukiko Record. In 1948 an angry wife
did not accuse her husband of not treating her properly when the household moved, she
claimed he had pulled the house down around her while she was inside it, John Katende,
Cases and Materials. Land Law in East Africa. Vol 1, Land /69/4/ (b) Makerere
University, n.d.
Commission, Yosiya Mawanda Kyamagwa, 479.
6SMP 6902, Entebbe Archives, p. 480, my translation.

248
Kaggwa had not in fact done the abominable thing of which he was accused; he had not
unburied the skull of a Kabaka, or told people he did not care what happened to it as long
as he owned the land.7 Prince Kyamagwa's testimony evoked memories of an actual event
in 1906, when Kaggwa had unburied the bones of Nsenene clan elders (and incurred the
anger of both Ganda and British authorities), but it also had tremendous symbolic
meaning.8 Reminding the people assembled in the Commission of Inquiry of that
reprehensible action, for which Kaggwa had been temporarily kicked out of the Nsenene
clan, had the effect of embarrassing him in public, but it also provided a powerful image of
everything that the Bataka community felt had gone wrong with the allocation of mailo.
Kaggwa's actions allocating mailo had demonstrated complete disrespect for the authority
of dead and living Kabakas:it was as destructive and immoral as ripping the skull of a king
out of its burial place.
The leaders of the case against mailo may have wanted Apolo Kaggwa out of
power, but to perceive their complaints as nothing more than a personal attack on the
aging Katikirro diminishes the clear, direct statements the Bataka community made about
the nature of good government and a wholesome society. Daudi Basudde and Yuda
Musoke wrote to the Chief Secretary, explaining why the Governor had to pay attention
to the Bataka's case:
’Commission, ex-Sabalangira, 482.
8 This action, discussed in Chapter 4, had made Ganda and British authorities furious
with him and may have contributed to the attempt to disbar him from the clan in 1910.
Miti, 995.

249
We humbly beg to state that we see that it will be difficult for this land of
ours to advance in the way forward as the Government has promised to all
of us as we see that as regards the foundation on which our country has
been built since 1900 it has proved a foundation of progress on the shorter
side of the building but on the other side the foundation is not level and this
side is with its good customs on which Buganda rests .... it is difficult to set
this side straight until the Government listens to the Bataka. For the Bataka
are Buganda and where there are no Bataka there is no Buganda.9
If the goal of the Protectorate was to lay the foundation of good government, then the
British needed to pay attention to the structures of Buganda that had caused it to function
effectively as a nation. In making their case, the Bataka delineated the nature of political
and social relationships that constituted "the good customs" of Buganda.
Critiquing Colonial Rule
The central argument in the case against mailo had to do with power. The Bataka
argued that power had to be restored to those who had lost it in order for Buganda to be
well-governed. The kingdom needed all the multiple forms of authority it had had in the
past. The Bataka also criticized how power was exercised in colonial Buganda: good
government, they said, required more people participating in discussions and more
contributions to the process of decision-making. The land owning chiefs defended
themselves by arguing about the nature of power in the Buganda past: they said the
Kabaka had always been absolute, while the Bataka claimed that kabakas had always
compromised. The Regents described power in Buganda as something rather like water: it
flowed through channels from the Kabaka, to the most powerful chiefs who sat in the
9 ESA SMP 6902, Daudi Basudde and Yuda Musa Mukasa, 15/5/1922 to Chief
Secretary.

250
Lukiko and represented him, through small chiefs, to the smallest ones. The Bataka
community, on the other hand, described power in Buganda as something more like light:
it refracted through many different figures, and coalesced in the Kabaka.
The Harmful Constriction of Forms of Authority
The leaders of the case against mailo asked for a return of the complex, multiple
structures of power that had characterized Buganda in the past. In their original appeal,
they asked the Kabaka to return land to those who had held it in 1900; implicit in that
request was a return of the authority associated with control of the land. "What we are
requesting Your Highness is the restoration of all the said Clan Community in their former
positions." "What we request is to put each and every individual back within his old
boundaries known up to the present day." In the Appeal to the Kabaka, the Bataka
community mentioned land that had been associated with powerful figures in Buganda that
was not butaka land: the royal market place in the Kibuga, the land of spirit mediums on
Bussi and Buganga, estates belonging to the Kabaka "which they knew very well that from
time ever immemorial had never been alienated by anybody else," and the estates of
princes and princesses.10
The Bataka community made their claims for a return of power more explicit as
the case progressed. Daudi Basudde and Yuda Mukasa informed the Chief Secretary that
the purposes of the National (Buganda) Federation of Bataka included "to make a new
start to put our butaka on a proper footing such as it was before H.M. Government came
106.2.1922 Appeal, paragraph 15; also "Further Resolution re Bataka Question,
1/3/1922 Miti to Kabaka, paragraph 18.

251
to Buganda," and "to restore our clans to the position they used to hold and that every
clan should send its representative to speak for it in the chief judicial assembly of our
nation as used to be the custom."11 In the Bataka community's English language
publication produced in preparation for the Commission of Enquiry, they suggested nine
"conditions" which would establish "a permanent peaceful settlement." These included
3) all the tribal lands should be held by the heads of clan communities and
in trust for respective clan members;
4) All the lands which were known as belonging to or were the property of
the Office, should be returned to that office.
7) Restoration of the power of our Kabaka of allotting the unoccupied
lands.
8) Native laws and customs on the land to be maintained and recognized by
the over ruling power.
9) The rights of the Bataka both in receiving percentage of the taxes and
that of being equally entrusted with the general governance of the country,
should be restored to them.12
These "conditions" would have restored the multiple forms of authority that had existed
before the 1900 Agreement.
As we have seen in Chapters 4 and 5, the hierarchy of chiefs had been drastically
streamlined by the British Protectorate as it strove to implement efficient administration.
Thirty or forty years previously, taxes had been collected by chains of chiefs of different
ranks who collected together and divided the tax among themselves in complicated ways
before passing the rest on to the capital. "All of Buganda" had consisted of a complex and
layered system of people holding many different ranks: often one individual held more than
one position. Some people in this system had authority from their clan positions; some had
"Basudde and Mukasa to Chief Secretary, 15/5/1922, SMP 6902.
12Land Holding Question, 32.

252
one of a variety of forms of royal status; some had unique positions of power that had
been created by the gift of a Kabaka in the past; others had been appointed by the reigning
Kabaka or his predecessor. How these figures ranked in relation to each other had been
subject to negotiation and varied according to the relative strength of different
components at any moment in time.13 It was not, as observers have imagined, a simple
situation in which people appointed by the Kabaka sat at the top of hierarchies of people
who had an ancient clan position. The thousands of people who participated in this
structure of governing had been rationalized into a much smaller structure of three tiers of
Saza, Gombolola, and Miruka chiefs.14 By the 1920s, perhaps thousands of positions of
authority had been eliminated.
The demise of the place of the Sabaganzi illustrates the narrowing of authority that
occurred throughout the early colonial period. Some important positions in Buganda
disappeared because the Regents gave the land of the authority figure to someone else;
others were excluded from the rank of chiefs when British officers became more involved
in tax collection; other positions, such as that of the Sabaganzi, ceased to have meaning in
the new order of power and disappeared in all but name at the death of the person who
had been holding the title at the time of the miles. The Sabaganzi was the brother of the
Namasole (Queen Mother). The Namasole could make or depose Kabakas through her
13Another whole set of leaders wielded authority as the interlocutors for spiritual
forces.
14Questioning Apolo Kaggwa, Daudi Basudde referred to "the sub-chiefs who were in
existence then and who have now been converted into Gombolola Chiefs," Commission,
524.

253
independent control of land and people and her influence over her other sons, the potential
rivals of the reigning king. The Sabaganzi had estates all over the country as an agent of
the Namasole. The political and social role of the Namasole as counterweight to the
Kabaka had been effaced in the turmoil of the late nineteenth century, and the new order
established by Kaggwa and his British counterparts made no place for her, or for the
Sabaganzi. In 1924, the proper Sabaganzi held the estates of his position as mailo, but
when he died, his children would inherit that land. The Sabaganzi estates, which had had a
distinct and important political purpose, would cease to exist. Any future Sabaganzi would
have to settle on land of the Kabaka, completely undermining the independent authority
the position had once implied.15
Bataka witnesses described the loss of many chiefships and positions of authority
which they had considered to be important. Criticizing the dismissal of all the people who
had been responsible for remembering deceased Kabakas, the spokesman for the
Walusimbi, said
I have been reading the Agreement of 1900 for a long time but I have not
yet come across a Clause which provides the removal of the princes and
princesses from their original estates of which they were in possession and
giving them land on the burial grounds of their ancestors which burial
grounds had other people to look after them.16
Yusufu Kibirige had been a "mutaka," deciding cases and collecting tribute and service
from the people on his estate, but the Regent Stanislaus Mugwanya had taken it as mailo
15Commission, Commissioners' Questions to Kaggwa, 457.
16Commission, Lew Nsobya, on behalf of Walusimbi, 466.

254
and made Kibirige his "private tenant."17 Antwani Kaikuzi had been a subordinate to a clan
elder on Bussi, but his senior Lusekera got only one mile, and he got none, "So I went
back home and settled down on my original land and became his (Mugwanya's) private
tenant, and took up my knife and went and cut reeds and worked for him. Mine was a very
important butaka land and I had been in possession of it since the reign of Kabaka
Nakibinge, who gave it to me."18
The transition from multiple to singular forms of authority was captured in the
testimony of Juma Omawanyi. He had controlled about a square mile of land as part of his
office as tailor to the Kabaka; he was "the Kabaka's man." This minor office did not entitle
him to receive mailo, so he became the "private man" of Mugwanya and was ordered to
work on his dhow. He said "I do not quite know the actual date when this took place, as I
cannot count." He accused Mugwanya of rejecting his request to be given mailo,
It was you yourself [Mugwanya] who called us to give us miles, but when I
came before you, you did not even deign to look at me but said that if you
gave us miles where would you find people to rule over.19
Omawanyi's story suggests that his land had been a form of ekitongole—land granted to
mark a particular relationship with the Kabaka, rather than butaka—land that marked the
identity of clans. That Omawanyi and others called themselves bataka when they had
actually held land in other capacities demonstrates the narrowing of the locations of power
that had taken place in Buganda. Ganda society no longer had a place for someone who
’’Commission, Yusufu Kibirige on behalf of Majwega, 431.
1 Commission, Antwani Kaikuzi, 425.
'Commission, Juma Owamanyi, 429.

255
had authority over other people because of the particular work they performed for the
Kabaka: if they were not chiefs acknowledged by the Government, the only category
available for them was bataka.
Even spirit mediums asked for the return of the land that had been dedicated to
their Lubale by calling themselves bataka. The principal medium of the Lubaale Musisi
appealed to the Protectorate authorities for a return of his land, although—perhaps because
his land had been taken by Mugema—he did not participate in the case against mailo. In
1924, he wrote
I lost my position at the hands of the three Regents, and not at the
Kabaka’s. I asked ... the reason for my dismissal, but they could not give it.
Along with my dismissal from my position, my principal Butaka estate
known as Guludene was also taken from me...What new commands have
been substituted by God authorizing the usurpation of our Butaka lands
whilst they (the ministers) had their own Butaka estates which had not been
taken away from them?20
Guggu, the priest of the shrine of the Lubaale Mukasa, testified before the Commission of
Enquiry on behalf of the Bataka. Half a century earlier, Mackay had observed that Kabaka
Mutesa seemed to be cowed by Guggu's predecessor and always complied with his
demands. Guggu did not describe himself as the heir of a powerful spiritual position,
however. He told the Commissioners,
I am Guggu, the principal mutaka of the Sesse islands. I was in possession
of three islands but I was not given a single one....All these islands were
taken possession of by the Late Gabunga Yosiya Kasozi. He turned me out
of them at the time of the miles.21
20Guludene, ESA, SMP 6902, page 56.
2lCommission, Guggu, 384.

256
He said, not only had he not gotten any of his own land, but he also had not been
compensated in land for his work teaching Lusesse and Swahili to Sir Harry Johnston.
However, the Regents challenged his definition of himself as a mutaka; they said the
islands had belonged to the Lubaale Mukasa, and when Christianity was introduced "the
heathen customs of 'lubale' died out, and consequently this Mutaka Guggu naturally lost
all his importance and power which he merely possessed on account of being a priest of
'Lubale' Mukasa."22
What did the Bataka community intend by calling as a witness one of the most
spiritually powerful figures in 19th century Buganda? Guggu had lost a large amount of
valuable land, and so he could support the general case the Bataka were attempting to
make about land alienation. But Guggu had been a fundamentally significant member of
the old order because of his spiritual responsibilities, not because he had controlled large
amounts of land before 1900. His former spiritual power was entirely elided in his own
speech and that of others on his side. Was this because the spiritual power of Balubaale
could no longer be spoken of in public, or because it did not matter? The Regents and
also the Kabaka claimed that land dedicated to Lubaale had been given to the chiefs as
mailo because no one still believed in the power of Lubaale. This was not entirely true,
however. In Mawokota, land dedicated to the Lubaale Kibuka in Mawokota had been
assigned as mailo to members of the lineage responsible for Kibuka's shrine.23
22Commission, Yosiya Sajabi Semugala, 385.
23Commission: Daudi Chwa, 592; Apolo Kaggwa, 513; Daudi Basudde, 440. Welboum
notes that the statement that the new oligarchy suppressed worship of the old gods "is
frequently made but difficult to substantiate from documentary evidence" cites Kaggwa's

257
Furthermore, the entire case demonstrated that people cared deeply about meanings
expressed in land that became mailo: acquiescence had not implied consent. It is possible
that Guggu was included in the case because the Bataka believed Guggu's presence
offered some kind of admonishment to the Regents. The presence of an important Ganda
spiritual figure among the complainants, a group led by educated elite Christians, suggests
that the transition from Lubaale worship to new religions was not as abrupt as has been
supposed.
The Inappropriate Exercise of Power
In addition to asking for the return of power and authority to those who had lost it,
the leaders of the case against mailo also criticized the ways that power was exercised in
the new Buganda. Complaints about the functioning of the Lukiko and suggestions for its
reform were one focus of these statements. People wanted more people to speak in the
Lukiko, and more people's ideas to matter in decision-making.
In their appeal to the Kabaka, the Bataka community explained that mailo had
ruined Buganda because the Regents did too much on their own without consulting other
chiefs, "arrogating to themselves the power of distribution which had been put in the
hands of the full Lukiko."24 Fewer people participated in the Lukiko as chiefship was
rationalized following the 1900 Agreement, and fewer points of view were acknowledged.
The masiga bataka wrote that during the allocation of miles "the Bataka were deprived of
son, Mr. Kwalya Kaggwa, stating that the Lukiko used the mailo allocation to suppress
balubale, 218.
246/2/1922 Appeal, paragraph 15.

258
their native lands and their honour scattered to any one who got miles whereas he is not a
Mutaka and we disappeared."25 In another letter they elaborated, "we the natural Bataka,
were driven away from the Lukiko, we had no voice or any one to intercede for us."26
Even the Saza chiefs who continued to be members of the Lukiko did not have the
capacity to make decisions which went against the Regents, as the Kangawo Samwiri
Mukasa testified:
The lukiko appointed three Representatives to inquire and settle various
claims and grievances but you did not listen to the decisions of these
Representatives, but you did everything by virtue of your powers, and you
put the Lukiko down under your feet. We had a Lukiko, but it was not a
Lukiko in reality.27
The Bataka wanted people to occupy the positions of authority they had previously
occupied, and to participate in discussions and in cases in the way they had participated in
the past.
The problem the Bataka community members had experienced in finding someone
to represent their concerns in the Lukiko became apparent as they made their case before
the Commission. Several witnesses described the failure of their clan's attempts to reclaim
clan land, but questioning by Kaggwa revealed that the actual mutaka of that clan was
someone quite content with mailo, whose actions were troubling to clan relatives. For
example, Zedi Zirimenya described how Ngo clan leaders had been prevented from
‘5 Masiga Bataka to Governor, 1/8/1922. The Masiga Bataka, including Yuda Musoke
and Malaki Masajakawa began to write independently to Protectorate officials, in long,
intricate impassioned Luganda, starting in August, 1922.
2620/12/1922, Masiga Bataka to Chief Secretary, ESA, SMP 6902.
27Commission, Samwiri Mukasa, 492.

259
burying on the clan butaka. Kaggwa asked him "Are you yourself the successor of Kamiri
Magezi?", and he admitted that his younger brother was the heir. When Kaggwa asked
whether the heir was claiming the butaka Zirimenya replied "If he has sold this butaka land
to you, we the members of our clan council will institute an action against him." Kaggwa
asked to see his letter of authority to speak for his brother, to which Zirimenya replied
"there are some good people and some bad ones; and as soon as I heard about this matter
I came at once."28
Leaders of lineage networks, who had served as the public voice for their clans or
branches of clans, faced pressure from the Regents to place their loyalties with the central
power in the Kingdom, and not with their relatives.29 After the original case in front of the
Kabaka in 1922, the Katikirro Apolo Kaggwa attempted to undermine the bataka
community by demanding that the heads of each clan sign a paper saying they gave
permission for their members to participate in the case against mailo. No one would be
allowed to make a complaint unless he could produce a signed permission from the head
of his clan. Kaggwa also succeeding in imprisoning Prince Yosiya Kyamagwa for forgery,
because he had signed a document on behalf of the Abalangira (clan of princes), even
though he was not Sabalangira (head of the Princes). The "princes of Abamasiga" wrote a
letter to the Kabaka "to certify that he [Kyamagwa] is representing them on the side of the
28Commission, Zedi Zirimenya, 358-9.
29The Assistant Secretary of Native Affairs Scott stated in March of 1922 that the
Government had to decide whether to support "the junior members of the Clans as against
some of their nominal heads," as the clan heads appeared to have "deliberately" done
nothing in the case. Minute 20/3/1922, SMP 6902.

260
Bataka, because the Sabalangira, who would be their representative, had joined the
Batongole who plundered the Butaka of Bataka who had no voice at that time." Their
attempt to create a new form of legitimate representation for themselves faded and he was
convicted.30 Two years later, Prince Kyamagwa, out of prison, accused Kaggwa of
desecrating the jawbone shrine of Kabaka Tebendeke.
Arguing about the History of Power in Buganda
While British listeners thought they were listening to a case about ownership of
graveyards, the participants argued with each other about the nature of power in Buganda
in the past. Kaggwa described the absolute power of Kabakas; the Bataka community
claimed Kabakas had balanced competing interests by favoring one party and then another.
Kaggwa claimed that Kabakas had taken land (and power) from clans and that clans had
been forced to comply; the Bataka claimed that land allocations had never been
permanent, and those who lost land (and power) could hope to reclaim it at a later date.
Kaggwa divided Buganda into the rulers at the center and the ruled; the Bataka
community expected many different kinds of people, in various locations in the kingdom,
to be powerful.
Both groups identified the upheaval of the late nineteenth century as a fundamental
turning point: the bataka insisted that the intention of the 1900 Agreement was to return
the social order to what it had been before that time:
3014/12/1922 Masiga Bataka to Governor, ESA SMP 6902. Unfortunately, documents
describing this case have been removed from SMP 6902 in Entebbe, all that remains in the
file is the transmittal slip.

261
when the Mailo distribution took place the Lukiko knew, of course, that
the late religious civil wars, had mixed all the people's Butaka lands, and
when the Government gave the chiefs and the Bataka the share of 8000
square Miles he ordered the Lukiko to go very carefully into its allotment
relying upon the fact that the distributors being Baganda would know
better to whom belonged the real Butaka, and would not fail to settle
everybody's claims satisfactorily.31
Land needed to be returned to those who had it before "our native country was mingled in
many ways which are not comprehensible" in the exchanges of the 1890s.32 The bataka
community wanted a return to the patterns of land occupation, and the patterns of diffuse,
overlapping authority, that people remembered from before that tumultuous time.
Kaggwa and Mugwanya claimed that the Bataka community could not blame the
Regents for changing the customs of Buganda, "since the country was already in a state of
chaos due to the Civil Wars, change of the Kabakas and other circumstances." They
specifically stated in their own defense that the mailo allocation had expressed a new order
of power, "the allotment of land at that time was not subject to the native custom of the
clan system of Buganda, but was mainly for the benefit of the principal chiefs." They
claimed, however, that their actions in making the mailo allocation had restored butaka to
the clans, "It was only the Lukiko which took into consideration the system of butaka land
tenure when the allotment of land was being made, and revived this ancient custom which
had become obsolete due to the Civil Wars which were then raging in the country brought
3‘6/2/1922 Appeal, para 3.
32l/8/1922, Masiga Bataka to Chief Secretary ESA SMP 6902.

262
about by the religious frictions."33 The relatively small estates allotted to be the principal
clan land for each main clan were, according to Kaggwa and Mugwanya, a sufficient
acknowledgement of the presence of clans in a new political order.
The essence of the Regents' defense in the case against mailo was that the absolute
power which the victorious chiefs had drawn to themselves in the 19th century upheavals
and in their collaboration with the British was actually the Kabaka’s power. "The Kabaka
had power to give or deprive any butaka land, and to create any chieftainship or discharge
anyone from his chieftainship, and to kill any people, chiefs, or bataka, or to raid them."
Mailo was merely the newest manifestation of a normal Ganda practice:
it was the usual custom for the Kabaka to change about people's butaka
land and give it to other people; following this custom the Regents in the
name of the Kabaka distributed all estates among the chiefs and people
whether butaka or not.34
The Regents’ letter to the Kabaka told the whole history of Buganda in terms of land
being taken from "bataka" and given to "chiefs," "warriors," and other clients of kings.
This remembered history did not portray any compromises, or any accommodation of one
interest against another, or any sense that figures below the Kabaka took any action but
submission. "The Kabaka had every power to do whatever he liked with any kind of
land."35
33 Kaggwa, Mugwanya et al to Kabaka Daudi Chwa, 30/3/1922, addendum to
Commission, 582. Daudi Basudde insisted when questioned by Mugwanya that the"things
which took place in 1892 or 1893" were irrelevant to the case, and he would only answer
questions about what happened in 1900. Commission, Basudde, 489.
34Kaggwa, Mugwanya et al to Chwa, 18/3/1922, ESA SMP 6902.
35Commission, Apolo Kaggwa, 580.

263
The Bataka community acknowledged the power of the Kabaka, but emphasized
the flexibility which that power gave him. They expressed alarm that mailo had
undermined the power of the Kabaka, because it removed his capacity to shape the
hierarchy of the country by re-allocating land. Arguing with Kaggwa about what had
compelled the Regents to give up their own estates to take others, Aligizanda Mude
explained how things should have been done in 1900,
They [the estates of the Katikiro] would have belonged to the Kabaka, and
the Kabaka would have given them away as he liked since it was the
Kabaka who gave away land...The Kabaka would have distributed land in
his power and according to his discretion. ..he would have given to every
one land which he deserved; but he would not have allowed any one to
deprive another person of his estate."36
Jemusi Biriko pointed out that reigning Kabakas had demonstrated their authority by
creating new ebitongole chiefships, but mailo meant that Kabakas would have no way of
showing their power. Kaggwa and the other leading chiefs now owned the land that the
Kabaka would have allocated to make new chiefships.37
The most cogent evidence of the lost power of the Kabaka, in Ganda symbolic
terms, were the complaints about the Kibuga. "We also want our Native Kibuga to be
returned back to you; that is to say, the Kibuga to be Kabaka's property, as it used to be
36Commission, Aligizanda Mude, 338.
37Commission, Jemusi Biriko, 378."All the Kabaka's estates had already been taken
away from [him] and given to other people, such as the estates in Kisalosalo, and Kibulusi
and Kiwuliriza; and the whole of the Kibuga had been divided up among them. The
counties had been divided into two parts, one part consisting of the official estates of the
Saza Chiefs and the other part the private estates of the Chiefs, whereas in the old days the
whole of the County consisted one form of land tenure and that was the official estates of
the Native Government."

264
long ago."38 The rebuilding of the capital every few years had enabled the kabaka to state
the current order of power in the physical placement of the compounds of his chiefs in the
Kibuga. Now, chiefs owned parts of the Kibuga as very profitable private property. When
the Kabaka left the issue of the Kibuga out of his original decision, the Bataka community
insisted that the Kabaka controlling the Kibuga was an integral part of their case.39
The Bataka community asserted that the redistribution of land in 1900 was not at
all like the past because it was fixed and permanent, and people who lost had no hope of
redress. Daudi Basudde explained
The old method [ of Kabakas seizing butaka land] did not matter so much
since one could always have hope of being able to regain his butaka land by
appealing to the kabaka; but this new method of depriving the bataka of
their butaka lands brought e^ut by the "mailo" system is absolutely final.40
Arguing about the Ganda Social Order
In the mailo case, conflict over the appropriate forms and expressions of authority
often centered on how many different kinds of people ought to speak and be heard in
discussions of public affairs. Kaggwa divided Buganda into those who had power and
those who did not; Bataka insisted many ranks of people in authority had linked but
largely autonomous responsibilities, which they were no longer being allowed to carry out.
Contemporaneous and later observers have perceived these comments as proof of animus
against Apolo Kaggwa, but every statement that criticizes Kaggwa's imperiousness also
38"Further Resolution...", Miti to Governor 1/3/1922, ESA SMP 6902.
39Mugema et al to Governor 30/5/1922, ESA SMP 6902.
‘“’Commission, Daudi Basudde, 352.

265
names the alternative voices of authority that had been wrongly silenced. In their original
appeal to the Kabaka, the Bataka accused the Regents of turning the Lukiko into a body
of only three members, and the supplement to that document describes Kaggwa negating
the authority of those who were not at the center. They wrote that in response to the first
mention of the case against mailo in the Lukiko, Kaggwa
started to disregard us and he shouted at us, then he started making us into
two Classes; one class consisted of those who were not "Abekitibwa"
[people of honor] and the other of those who were of Ekitibwa [honor].
Why should the Katikiro do like this as though he was the accusing,
whereas he was the accused and he had no power to treat us in such a
41
way.
They complained that the Katikiro was “spoiling everything in this whole country," by
taking sides in clan disputes, and
When the Gombolola chiefs some time ago decided to have a meeting of
their own he called them rebels, We Bataka, when we had a meeting trying
to put our country in a right way, he called us rebels...and these whom he
calls Abakopi are the people from whom he robbed the Butaka lands.42
In his questioning of Bataka witnesses, Kaggwa did divide people into categories of those
with honor and those without.43 (Refer to Twaddle, Bakungu chiefs article, for his attempt
to make a house of lords) For example, he asked one witness, "If you did not receive any
allotment of miles, how could you have come before the Lukiko to complain?" Yokana
Lubanda replied "That is the very weapon with which you used to beat us, as soon as we
416/2/1922 Appeal, para 13; Further resolution re Bataka Question, 1/3/22, para 17,
ESA Smp 6902 .
42Ibid, para. 18.
43Twaddle "Bakungu Chiefs."

266
stood up in the Lukiko—just as I am standing up now—you would speak to us roughly and
order us not to speak again."44 Kaggwa's extremely authoritarian rule, like Mwanga's
weakness, undoubtedly had structural dimensions that have been perceived as dimensions
of his personality. Kaggwa was attempting to mediate between the British colonizers,
seeking to impose a singular, centralized power, and Ganda leaders, who expected to
maintain more diffuse forms of authority and responsibility. Ganda experienced him as
utterly domineering, but British officials were also frustrated by his ability to make things
happen in ways they might not have wished.
The Bataka complained that Kaggwa did not allow the saza chiefs to act in the
interests of their people. Joswa Kate Mugema testified that he had to make mailo
allocations, even though he did not approve, because another Saza Chief had been
severely reprimanded for having refused to allow people to take up estates that the Lukiko
had assigned to them.45 A widely distributed letter written by Yuda Musa Musoke and
Lutwama explained that Kaggwa himself was
responsible for the mismanagement of affairs in it [the Lukiko] by not
allowing any members to express their own opinion and by intimidating
them and treating them with insolence, with the result that the Kabaka's
officials become like the women under the Katikkiro's own power and
influence. After this is it then becomes easy for him to have his own way
particularly as much [many] chiefs who feel afrightened of him side with
him. The effect of this being that all members of the Lukiko being judicious
have no choice but to suppose [support?] him.46
^Commission, Apolo Kaggwa and Yokana Lubanda, 415.
45Commission, Joswa Kate Mugema, 473.
46Miti, 1080, citing letter from Lutwama and Musoke against the Young Baganda
Association, 18/4/22.

267
A group of clan elders who had been unsuccessful in regaining their land through the
Lukiko, despite the support of their saza chief and the Kabaka, wrote to the Kabaka: "We
are very afraid your Highness Kabaka will lose your power for this one man! Katikiro is
the head of the Lukiko, but he is powerful over all and does not allow any chief who
comes from other Sazas to say anything, he shouts at him."47 The bataka complaint in the
case against mailo was not only that important locations of power had been lost, but also
that those people who continued to have a place in the new order—such as the saza chiefs
—had lost their power to the Katikiro.
Both the Bataka and the Regents expressed their perceptions of what was wrong-
or right-about power in the new Buganda in stories that had to do with the writing on
land certificates. According to some of the masiga bataka, the most powerful chiefs had
told people applying for mailo to write "this is my old butaka land" on their applications.
This was wholly wrong, the masiga bataka complained, because the land they were asking
for had not been their butaka, it had been land they received because they were chiefs.
Naming the land in the wrong way, in writing on the certificate, subverted the authority of
the Kabaka, who ought to have been able to give the land out as he chose. It also
detracted from the station of the true bataka. They wanted all the land certificates with the
inscription "this is my old butaka land" to be changed to read "this is my old chieftainship
land."48 Their complaint about the writing on land certificates encapsulated many of the
47Yokana Mitawana to Daudi Chwa, 21/7/1924, ESA SMP 6902.
48Masiga Bataka to Governor, 1/8/1922 ESA SMP 6902; Commission, Serwano
Kiyaga, 470-1; Zakayo Semakade, 366-7.

268
arguments in the bataka case against mailo: the new order had deprived essential figures of
their place; it had undermined the Kabaka's ability to regulate and shape his kingdom, and
it had caused people who held power to wield it in an arbitrary and unjust manner, which
they would not have done if they feared the Kabaka could remove them by giving the land
and position to someone else.
Kaggwa and Mugwanya, like the Bataka community, explained the fundamental
meaning and consequences of mailo with a story about what was supposed to be written
on land certificates. The Regents defended themselves by saying that the Lukiko's power
to give out land came from the 1900 Agreement, and that the allocations "were quite valid
in law and were approved and recognized by the British Government." In their story about
the change that came with writing on land certificates, the legitimacy of all the
remembered relationships that had explained land allocation in the past had been
specifically disavowed. Instead, at the instructions of the British Protectorate, legitimate
authority to grant land was to reside in the Lukiko. According to Kaggwa and
Mugwanya, chief Jemusi Kisule Kajugujwa had written on his claim for mailo "This estate
is my butaka land, it was given to me by Kabaka Mawanda!" The British Government
authorities refused to approve the land allocation because the chief had claimed the land
from the time of a Kabaka living xx centuries earlier. The Protectorate authorities told the
chief to make a new inscription on the top of the certificate: "This is my Butaka land,
given to me by the Lukiko!"49 Apolo Kaggwa and Stanislaus Mugwanya argued that the
changes brought by the British had been beneficial, and that the mailo allocation followed
49Kaggwa and Mugwanya to Daudi Chwa, 1st letter, 571-2.

269
Ganda custom They claimed that the Regents had acted in the name of the Kabaka, giving
the land to powerful chiefs as Kabakas had always done in the past; that Lukiko and saza
chiefs had contributed to the decision making process; and that the mailo allocation had
actually restored the status of bataka that had been confused by the civil war. Kaggwa and
Mugwanya complained that the Bataka really wanted to undermine the power of the
leading chiefs: "it [the case against mailo] has been brought up solely to bring into ridicule
and contempt the lawful power which was conferred upon your Ministers during their
Regency."50
People Turning into Things: Private Land Ownership as Enslavement
The Bataka community argued that mailo land turned people into slaves. This
strong and evocative accusation might seem to have been calculated to evoke the
sympathy of European observers, as rescuing Africa from slavery was one of the
rationalizations for British empire taught to Africans in school. In the case against mailo,
however, the Bataka complainants used the image of enslavement to identify significant
aspects of life in the new Buganda that they could not accept. Most concretely, they stated
that the mailo allocation enslaved people because it prevented them from carrying out the
rituals essential to social reproduction. In a more general sense, people with power were
not treating their subordinates in an appropriate way: people were enslaved when land
owners treated the land they owned as a means to make a profit, and ceased to show
concern for its residents.
5018/3/1922, Kaggwa, Mugwanya et al to Daudi Chwa, p. 578.

270
A popular song about Mugema expressed the sentiment that associated mailo with
slavery: "Buto-dene bagenze Entebbe okutunda abana" (the men with paunches have gone
to Entebbe to sell their children).51 The song refers to the signing of the 1900 Agreement:
the “men with paunches" were the Regents and Saza chiefs who benefitted from the
creation of private property in land, an action which "sold their children." The Bataka
called themselves "slaves of those who took our lands" in their appeal to the Kabaka to
hear the case in 1922. This document elaborates the connection of mailo land and
enslavement:
Our graves are being removed from their places where they were laid for
generations in case the present owner of the land feels inclined to exercise
his power which is just like that of a tyrannous conqueror exercises against
those whom he has conquered. All our children for whom from time ever
immemorial we used to keep our Butaka lands and live happy, are now
suffering through this bad attitude which is spoiling all our customs and
power on our hereditary lands. Our children are now being sold along with
the land as part of it. Whereas we in accordance with our Butaka lands
being held communally, possessed our own share of the land in our
respective clan and each head of a clan used to treat all his relatives as his
children and likewise they in turn called him their father, and nothing of the
present landless class ever existed.52
As everyone in Buganda in the 1920s had access to land as tenants, the term "landless
class" may have implied people who, as we have seen in Chapter 5, were experiencing
5lWelbourn, 19, note 217. It is probably anachronistic to associate the song with
Mugema's refusal to sign the Buganda Agreement in 1900: the awareness that mailo was
different than other instances of land re-allocation dawned slowly, and also it was not
apparent that Europeans would receive any land until years later. It is more likely that the
song expressed popular dissatisfaction with mailo that culminated in the 1920s case.
526/2/1922 Appeal to the Kabaka, paragraph 6 (entire).

271
diminished access to the forms of protection and sustenance which they had experienced in
the past.
The accusation that mailo caused enslavement had specific meanings regarding
connections between the members of a lineage group, and between rulers and ruled.
Lazalo Byuma Seryenvu explained to the Commission of Enquiry that Hamu Mukasa, the
Sekibobo (Saza chief of Kyagwe), had obtained the butaka of the Njovu clan: at first his
clan members thought he was saving the land for the clan, because it had appeared that
their clan land would be marked for the Kabaka, but then the Sekibobo "marked out his
own miles on these estates in the name of Hamu Mukasa." As a consequence, "he
converted all these bataka whom he had deprived of their butaka land into his private
tenants, and those who refused to become his private men had to leave their butaka land"
and become "private tenants" on other people's land. This transition in status was not
linked to slavery: the people who lost their status as land controllers became "servants"
not slaves. Seryenvu said that the Mutaka called Sentemero "became the Sekibobo's
servant and carried the Sekibobo's coffee up to the time of his death." However, because
the clan did not have access to the butaka, they had been unable to perform the
appropriate rituals on the death of the mutaka, and the inability to perform olumbe had
turned the children into slaves. "Up to the present day the funeral rites in connection with
the burial of this Mutaka have not yet been performed, as his children have no place where
they can gather together and perform them, since they have now become just like slaves
and outcasts."53
“Commission, Lazalo Byuma Seryenvu, 485-7.

272
The burial of clan elders in the appropriate clan burial grounds named a family and
maintained the links between people and their ancestors. People whose elders could not be
buried with the appropriate attention in the appropriate palace were people who had no
family—they were outcasts and slaves. The olumbe ceremony, which transferred a
person's living status to his heir and confirmed his place among the dead, was so important
that some bataka chose to give up the possibility of owning mailo in order to remain on
the land that contained their graves. Yona Magera received butaka, but continued to press
for the return of the burial place of the principal mutaka of the clan. Saulo Lugwisa
testified that he had had to bury his father "in the jungle" because he had not been allowed
to bury on the proper butaka, and Zedi Zirimenya had faced the same horrible dilemma,
carrying the body of an elder to his correct burial place, only to be turned away by the
steward of the mailo owner.54 The bataka community complaint that mailo owners had
behaved like conquerors—who took captives away from their own people and turned them
into slaves—because to be deprived of graves was to be deprived of the means of
maintaining essential social connections.
Mailo land also turned people into slaves because the appropriate relationships
between land controllers and land receivers were distorted when land could be bought and
sold. In their statement "our children are now being sold along with the land as part of it"
the bataka described the commodification of social relationships that had occurred over
the past twenty years along with the commodification of land. "Tyrannous conquerors" did
54Commission, Valanta Batanude for Yona Magera, 361; Saulo Lugwisa, 448; Zedi
Zirimenya, 357-8, also Antwani Kikuzi, 425.

273
not show any concern for the social place of the people they conquered, and land owners
also acted in their own interest without concern for others. According to the Bataka
community, private property in land was the cause of the problem. They argued that the
mailo allocation, which allowed people to profit from land, had transformed the
relationships of mutual obligation and concern they remembered from the past into the
selfishness of the present. For the bataka, the negative emotional atmosphere that had been
created was a serious concern.
The Bataka community based their argument about the erosion of social
connections on explicit statements of how things were supposed to be: rulers would take
care of the people underneath them, and people would trust and obey their superiors. The
head of a clan "used to treat all his relatives as his children and likewise they in turn called
him their father."55 They claimed that chiefs participated as juniors in the relationships of
mutual obligation that were described in familial terms: "even the Katikiro or any other
Chief is always considered to be the sons of some Mutaka of a clan...when they become
chiefs in this way they do not despise their fathers the Bataka from whom they descend."56
The Bataka community acted on their assumptions about the relationship of people
to rulers in the ways that announced their expectation of parental care from the
Protectorate and their own obedient, grateful response. In August 1922 the masiga bataka
wrote "we hope that the Government can not be angry to every poor person who is in
55Bataka Land Holding Question, 5.
56Commission, Luisi Majwega, 370. See also Basudde and Kaggwa, 540.

274
their protection," and two months later, they said "we beg to ask your pardon, and not to
get angry with us for writing you again and again, but we know that the Government is
the FATHER of Buganda Country...." The Bataka solidified their claims to protection by
being explicitly deferential and grateful. Their letters always included an apology for their
mistakes. When the Masiga Bataka eventually got (a rather frosty) answer to their long
epistles from the Secretariat, they thanked the Governor for his "kind and reasonable
answer...which made us happy in our hearts," and six days later wrote again, "we were
very glad on receiving your information that you are now examining our case, gently, and
with care...we, the natural Bataka of Buganda are filled with joy in our hearts, because our
points have been regarded...."57
The bataka community tried to explain that the right kind of social interactions had
been embodied in Ganda land tenure in the past. The words they chose in English, such as
'communally held' land, or land 'held in trust', 'subject to the performance of his social and
political obligations' were an attempt to express the social dimensions of the Ganda
system. In Buganda, providing land to people who needed it to grow food for themselves
was a moral obligation, and mutual benefit accrued when people worked for chiefs and
chiefs provided for them in ways that caused them to want to stay on the land. The Bataka
community claimed that land had not been a means of advancing oneself over others in the
past by noting that people "paid no attention whatever to details but were content to leave
everything to be arranged by their chiefs as was their custom because the chiefs were at
57Yosef Yuda M. Mukasa and Malaki Musajakawa et al to Governor, 29/9/1922,
1/8/1922, 14/12/1922, 20/12/1922.

275
that time the tribe, the personal embodiment of it all."58 In the Bataka community's
explanation of the past, the interests of chiefs and people had always been in harmony.
According to the Bataka community in their original appeal to the Kabaka, the
mailo allocation had caused a rise of self interest and the decline of reciprocity which was
fundamentally destructive for Buganda:
on account of the Regents misusing this Agreement through their mere
intention of getting land to which they were not entitled to, they upset
everything and as the results of that mistake caused the present ill feeling
which exists amongst our people as a whole."
They wrote specifically and forcefully about the emotional, relational consequences of
land tenure changes. The good customs which had been "destroyed" were "our good
customs of helping and loving each other." It was the lack of those relationships of
concern for others that made people feel they were "under a form of Government which
we cannot understand." The attitude of land owners caused enslavement, "All our
children... are now suffering through this bad attitude which is spoiling all our customs and
power on our hereditary lands. Our children are now being sold along with the land."59
Statements which indicate the central importance of emotional connections appear
throughout the case against mailo. The Bataka community asked the Kabaka to resolve
the problem because "we cannot help keeping evil thoughts" and "should Your Highness,
not find any means of settling up this question, our ill feelings shall never come to an end,
58 Buganda Land Holding Question, 4-5; 6/2/1922 Appeal, paragraphs 6, 2.
596/2/1922 Appeal.

276
although we shall feel as if we had committed an offence against your Highness."60 In
their supplement to the original appeal to the Kabaka, they wrote
We therefore ask Your Highness to see that the Katikiro does not
disregard us because he has the power of Katikiro; we also want you to
understand that we are tired of him because he has done no good in this
Country, and we are therefore not pleased; He also does not care for us.61
Even the Bataka community's communications with the Home Office explained the butaka
problem as causing "endless ruinous litigations and disquietude all over the country."62
Reciprocity, social intentions, and the obligation to care for others were also the
basis of the Regents' public attack on the Bataka for a Baganda audience. The association
created in opposition to the Bataka community called people to a public meeting saying
the Bataka community had no good motivations, but were "only jealous and selfish, and
wish to become 'Abekitibwa', and by so doing they only throw away the freedom of
Buganda." The purpose of their organization would be to ensure that "the Bataka do not
turn out Chiefs from their Mailos who have done much good for the Country... whereas
the Bataka never did any good for the Country and what the Bataka can do is sit down."63
One of the most highly charged moments of the Commission of Enquiry came when
Stanislaus Mugwanya examined Daudi Basudde and accused him of seeking pecuniary
benefit. He asked Basudde "Of those people for whom you have undertaken this case, is
606/2/1922 Appeal, para 7.
6‘Further resolution re Bataka Question, 1/3/1922, Miti to Governor, ESA SMP 6902.
“undated, after 26/1/1923, to Secretary of State for the Colonies, ESA SMP 6902.
6311/3/1922, Association for the Maintaining of Uganda Land Law Public Notice. ESA
SMP 6902.

277
there no person who can give you even one Shilling?" Mugema and Samwiri Mukasa, the
two Bataka supporters with the status of saza chiefs, became livid at Mugwanya for
speaking about money.64
In the statements of the Bataka community, those who used land as a means of
obtaining profit were people who failed to be concerned for people on the land. The
original appeal to the Kabaka accused the Regents, who "own now hundreds of square
miles," including misappropriated butaka, of being "prepared to sell to foreigners at any
time." They specifically linked the sale of butaka, which were "really being sold up to
now," with the rejection of standards of reciprocity by the land-owning chiefs, "who are
interested in selling and buying all the land on account of their wealth which is derived
from us through their salaries and so forth." A further evidence of their violation of Ganda
patterns of interaction was their refusal to discuss the issue: "they do not even want to
hear a single word appertaining on the subject. They merely trample on it." They claimed
that the 1918 transfer scheme to redeem butaka did not succeed because of "profiteering"
by land owners.65 As the case dragged on with no resolution after the Commission of
Enquiry, the Bataka appealed to the Protectorate to do something because the Lukiko was
encumbered by self-interest. They cited the the onerous Nvujo law, a conversion of tribute
to rent, originally drafted by the Lukiko as twenty percent of the value of cash crops.
According to the Bataka, the Lukiko "looked upon the question as money making scheme
by which they are themselves benefitted and have not considered the evils and difficulties
^Commission, Stanislaus Mugwanya, 489.
656/2/1922 Appeal, para 5, 10, 11.

278
this Nvujo brings to bear upon the peasants."66 Powerful people who followed good
customs, the Bataka community implied, would not have taken actions that were so
harmful to people on the land.
The Possibility of New and Old Together
The people who made the case against mailo warned the Kabaka that "this friction
may remain for generations unless your Highness hears and settles this friction" and they
suggested a resolution: "to put each and every individual back within his old boundaries
known up to the present day." The simplicity of their solution—to restore every controller
of land according to the description of clan estates in Apolo Kaggwa's Ebika bva
Bu ganda—may have contributed to the accusation that the proposals of the Bataka were
"retrograde" and "increasingly impracticable under the conditions of 20th century life and
progress."67 However, the Bataka community themselves deliberately asserted that their
goals were not incompatible with the positive aspects of the new order in Buganda. Many
of them were "new" men who received salaries from the Protectorate, participated in
church leadership, and marked their status in the forms of the new culture of consumption.
Several of them had obtained the highest possible levels of education for themselves or
their children. They clearly articulated what they considered to be the failures of the
current order, but they asked for reform, not a return to the past. Their own statements
about their intentions, and the explanations they provided to Protectorate officials about
66 26/4/1926 Jemusi Miti for the Bataka community to Governor, ESA SMP 6902.
67 6/2/1922 Appeal to the Kabaka, paras 7, 12; Minute of J. de G. Delmege, Acting
P.C., after 27/5/1926.

279
how they would implement a return of clan lands, define the possibility of a modem
Buganda built on the foundation of good Buganda customs. The Bataka community
envisioned a Buganda in which powerful, effective rulers demonstrated concern for
people, in which people controlled amounts of land that were not excessively large, and in
which rulers and ruled acted on assumptions of reciprocity. They did not see any inherent
contradiction between these things and land title, European law, and the new patterns of
life which they practiced without any comment.
The Baganda community placed their complaint about mailo in the context of the
sufferings of colonized Africans, "we are confronted with many problems which are almost
unbearable but of which we do not loudly complain," and their loyalty notwithstanding,
"we Africans in all parts of the continent are rigorously loyal to our British King, and His
local representatives wherever they may be."68 They explained in their letter informing the
Protectorate of the creation of the Bataka community (translated in the Secretariat as
Buganda (National) Federation of Bataka) that change was a good thing but it needed to
be gradual and built on the past:
In creating this league we are not actuated by a desire to rush our country
forward but a) to provide for it a sound foundation from which it can go
forward slowly [and] b) to go into the matter of this wrong while our
elders who made the 1900 agreement are still with us for later when they
have gone it will be difficult for the younger generation to settle these
differences.69
68Baganda Land Holding Question, 3.
69Daudi Basudde and Josef Yuda M. Mukasa, 15/5/1922 to Chief Secretary, ESA SMP
6902.

280
The Bataka community wanted the progress of Buganda to happen slowly, and to be
based on the knowledge of the generation that remembered life before colonial rule.
The leaders of the case against mailo wanted rulers to be powerful and to act with
justice. In their response to questions from the Protectorate about how a return of mailo
might be implemented, the Bataka community described the ultimate authority they
expected clan heads to wield over clan members: "Only the heads of the clan community
will be allowed to lodge any claim of his clan butaka lands and to allow everybody to
come and plead for himself, that is to say the head of clan community will represent the
claims of his clan members."70 The Attorney General's notes of a discussion with Daudi
Basudde also suggest that the Bataka community anticipated that the authority of the
Kabaka which had been undermined by the rise of powerful chiefs would also be re¬
established when judgement in the case went against those chiefs. According to the
Attorney General, Daudi Basudde had positively asserted that "with the success of
proceedings in respect to one or two of the most notorious instances of expropriation the
holders of other threatened lands would promptly hand over their estates to the
claimants."71 At the highest level, winning the case against mailo would return power to
the right places. Lower down, only people who demonstrated appropriate moral behavior
would be allowed to rule, unlike the present, when:
70 27/5/1926, "Answers to the questions of the Provincial Commissioner, Discussed by
the Executive Committee of the Bataka Community ESA SMP 6902.
71 "Interview with Representatives of the Bataka Federation with Land Officer and S.L.
Abrahams, Attorney General," ESA, SMP 6902.

281
people who are totally demoralized (without morals) through crimes and
drunkenness, who under native law and customs, could never be tolerated
to lead the destinies of the people on the land, in the present case they are
left as they are, because they hold personal titles on the land according to
Sir H.H. Johnston's benevolent agreement.72
The Bataka community wanted well-behaved rulers whose authority was never questioned
by their people.
A critical aspect of the Bataka community's view of an alternative order in
Buganda was that there was enough land to go around, if everyone had the appropriate
amount. They stated in their original appeal "We humbly beg to assure Your Highness that
we are not in any way partisans of dislodging our compatriots from their real lands, if they
have got any and ultimately acquire them." The extremely large amounts of land taken by
the largest land owners had caused land scarcity which otherwise would not have been a
problem. The witness for the Fumbe clan said, "I would like this Commission to note this
that Gombolola and Miruka Chiefs were allotted as much as 12 to 20 square miles, while
the bataka who are considered as the fathers of these chiefs were only given two square
miles."73 Daudi Basudde pointed out that when it was discovered that 1,200 miles
remained unallocated, Kaggwa, who already had fifty square miles of private property,
was given another twelve, and other large land owners were also given more large
allotments. Basudde asked, "Of those 1200 sq. miles, was it right or not to have allotted to
72Baganda Land Holding Question, 30-31.
73Commission, Lew Nsobya, 466.

282
the chiefs [smaller chiefs who received no mailo] some official miles attached to their
Chieftainships?"74
The Bataka community did not anticipate that land allotted in the appropriate way
would ever be exhausted, "If there is no land available on that part of clan land that
member will find it on other branches of the clan, and in this, we question very much
whether there will be any possibility of having any scarcity of land in this way, as this
never happened before in this country."75 They argued that the needs of Kaggwa and
Mugwanya to control large amounts of land to demonstrate the importance of their offices
ought to have been met by their obtaining permission from the king to open up new lands.
Opening new lands was the Ganda way of solving the problem, "if there were no estates
available for him he would have opened up new land, since it is the usual custom for the
Katikiro to open up new land."76 At this moment, the Bataka witness came close to
blaming the crisis in Buganda on the colonial power: chiefs could not hope to open new
land because colonial demands for workers drained away the necessary labor.
Furthermore, there was no more waste land, because the 1900 Agreement allocated it to
the British.
Although many of the leaders of the Bataka community functioned successfully in
a wage economy, they imagined that relationships between land owners and people on the
74Commission, Daudi Basudde, 524.
7527/5/1926, "Answers to the questions of the Provincial Commissioner, Discussed by
the Executive Committee of the Bataka Community ESA SMP 6902.
76Commission, Aligizanda Mude, 338.

283
land would not necessarily be mediated by cash. They articulated a revised expectation of
reciprocity: if people on the land had a relationship with the land owner that involved
kinship ties, which implied protection and assistance, then it was fair to ask them to work
without wages. If they had no relationship with the land owner, rent might be an
alternative. The spokesman for the Walusimbi, head of the Fumbe clan, explained to the
Commission: "The members of my clan residing on my land have definite duties which
they perform for me even from the old days and they perform these duties for me still
now, so I do not collect rent from them instead of payment of rent they build my house."
He added that other people, who were not members of his clan, had settled on his land,
and he collected rent from them "unless they agree to work for me in lieu of payment of
rent."77 The extensive work of cutting boundaries to facilitate the survey that would be
required to create land certificates for the butaka would not be a problem for the Bataka
community, their leaders maintained:
The Bataka will undertake to cut the boundaries themselves provided they
are allowed by the Government to use their sons living on such lands, we
see that in so doing there is not any abuse because the work that may be
undertaken is for their own behalves and done on their own Butaka lands.78
In the view of the Bataka community, connections between people might be expressed
through cash, but there was no "abuse" if they were expressed through work and mutual
benefit.
77Commission, Lew Nsobya for Walusimbi, 467.
7827/5/1926, Answers to Questions of the Provincial Commissioner, Discussed by the
Executive Committee of the Bataka Community, ESA SMP 6902.

284
The leaders of the Bataka community were adamant that they themselves wanted
more than the benevolent concern of the owner of the land on which they lived. As land
certificates conveyed authority over land in the present, and they held authority over
certain lands "from time immemorial,” they believed it was essential that they hold the land
certificates for those lands. "In these Europeanised days everybody should be confirmed in
his real Butaka land."79 The importance of land certificates to the Bataka was stated
clearly in a discussion between Stanislaus Mugwanya and Makamadu Mukasa, a clan
relative of Mugwanya's mother. Mugwanya defended himself from the accusation of
taking his mother's clan's land, saying "Do you wish my maternal relatives to disown me,
have I ever turned you out of your estates; you have always settled quite amicably there
and obtained plenty of food." Mukasa replied "The reason why I say that you turned me
out of it is because the land certificate in respect of that estate is in your own name."80
The Bataka stated that they wanted to preserve individual land tenure, but they
rejected the notion that land as property could be detached from social concerns. As they
pointed out, in other places private property was subject to restrictions, such as provisions
that land could not be executable for debt, or could not be transferred without permission.
In Buganda, they wanted a form of private property that acknowledged the rights of clans,
so that clans could obtain their lands, and lineages could be protected from the inclination
of one of its members to live improvidently and sell land.81 Their defense of their request
796/2/1922 Appeal, paragraph 7.
80Commission, Stanislaus Mugwanya and Makamadu Mukasa, 418.
81Baganda Land Holding Question, 30-1.

285
for clan lands suggested that the social dimensions of land had more salience for them than
its quality of transferability. Miti and others wrote that the British were wrong in thinking
that the mailo owners deserved to keep the land because they had improved it: not only
had they taken no trouble to develop the land, but they had doubly ignored the social
responsibility inherent in control of land, first by collecting rents from tenants without
providing anything in return, and secondly by selling the land. The Bataka claimed that
their request to have clan land given to them should not have been any more difficult than
a transfer from one owner to another. They asked, "How many certificates have been
changed from one owner to another in case original owner feels inclined to get money out
of his land by means of sale?"82
The actions and words of the Bataka community suggested that they envisioned a
Buganda that integrated the good customs of the past with the realities of the present.
They imagined a Buganda which had both a cash economy and free exchanges of labor
and service, both Christianity and the expression of the importance of clan ancestors, both
private land ownership and social responsibility. The Ganda leaders who rose to speak
against mailo in the 1920s suggested it might have been possible to maintain British
protection and re-establish the webs of power which people remembered as just and
workable in the past.
Conclusion: Bevond Bakungu vs. Bataka
A much narrower, much less interesting history of the conflict over land in
Buganda in the 1920s can be found in a superficial reading of the records of the case. Both
82Miti et al to Governor, 26/4/11926, ESA SMP 6902.

286
the claimants and the defendants participated in the simplification of the issues into
Bakungu versus Bataka. Perhaps they expected "bataka" to imply all the forms of
authority that had been part of pre-colonial Buganda; perhaps they presented a dichotomy
because they did not think their British audience could follow more complex histories. In
the heat of the conflict, the debate became intensely polarized: land owners who had been
willing to accommodate bataka on their lands began to drive them away, and bataka
witnesses usually faded to mention the portion of their clan lands that they had received in
the mailo allocation.83
Apolo Kaggwa's written defense of the Regents, which included a history of
Buganda told entirely in terms of conflict between Bataka and Kabakas in which the
Kabakas were always victorious, has been the most significant legacy of the case against
mailo for Buganda history.84 The Bataka community also simplified the Buganda political
order into bataka and their opponents who were chiefs appointed by the king, even as they
argued that centralized power was not good for the nation. The Bataka constantly invoked
the loss of butaka, even when they were speaking about royal land, spirit medium's land,
and land given by the king to commemorate a particular relationship. They also spoke
about a past in which bataka and kabakas were the only important participants.
83The testimony of Pasikale Bambaga illustrates the polarization of the argument: he
failed to acknowledge that the Regents did actually try to allocate land to the clan, but
made a mistake, and he also neglected to mention that he received a mailo elsewhere in
compensation. However, in their attack on him, the Regents glossed over the kasolya
butaka ended up in the wrong hands. See the testimony of Nkuwe, 392, for evidence of
the controversy changing the relationship between mailo claimants and land owners.
8418/3/1922, "The Lukiko's Reply to the Question of Allotment of Land in Buganda
Brought Up by the Bataka," Kaggwa et al to Kabaka Daudi Chwa, Commission, 561-578.

287
The simplified dichotomy of the public debate of the case against mailo, combined
with the gradual erasure from 1891 onward of forms of authority that were neither bataka
nor bakungu, crystallized perceptions of the Buganda past. In their summary of the issues
in the case, the Commissioners Griffith and Sturrock wrote, "No one else except the
Bataka had any right over land in Buganda and in our opinion no one other than the
Bataka had any rights infringed when occupied land was converted into the freehold
property of a Regent or Chief."85 It is not surprising that later generations of historians of
Buganda have conceptualized its history as a conflict between territorially based clan
heads and appointed chiefs who were ultimately victorious.86
As we have seen, the Ganda polity was much more complex and more subtly
articulated than the model of top layers of bakungu and lower layers of bataka. This
system, which can be conceptualized as a web, can be reconstructed from the evidence
collected by Roscoe and Kaggwa in 1905, from the explanation of Ganda land tenure
produced by Morris Carter in 1911, from the histories of Buganda recorded in the 19th
century, and from the witnesses before the Commission of Enquiry whose personal stories
revealed layers of complexity. Guggu's presence (not his words) testified to the power
over land and people of priests and spirit mediums.87 The utility and importance of
85Quoted in undated Minute after 26/5/1926, ESA SMP 6902.
86 Richards, 125; Low, Modem History. 15, 140; Fallers, "Social Stratification,", 98;
Wrigley, Kingship. 64: Rowe, Twaddle, "Bakungu Chiefs," 310, 318; David E. Apter, The
Political Kingdom in Uganda: A Study in Bureaucratic Nationalism. Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1961, 99, 102-3. Wright disputes that interpretation, arguing that Ganda
clans and the kabakaship were not antagonistic, 209-210.
87Commission, Guggu, 385-6.

288
ebitongole (chiefships created for a particular productive activity) came up in testimony
regarding the position of the Kauta, and in complaints about the Kabaka's loss of control
over other ebitongole and the Kibuga (capital).88 The loss of land which had marked a
specific remembered relationship with the Kabaka was discussed by several witnesses,
who had their land by virtue of the favors they did for the king, but who called themselves
bataka during the Commission.89 Members of the Abalangira, the clan of princes, voiced
their complaints as "bataka," but their statements before the Commission never touched on
the role of royal women and their male relatives in sustaining and checking the power of a
reigning Kabaka.
The perception of the controversy in the 1920s as part of a tradition of conflict
between bataka and bakungu obscures the accomplishment of the Ganda thinkers who
brought the case against mailo. These Ganda leaders, who called themselves the Bataka
community but were actually more diverse, asked for a return of everyone to their former
positions. They criticized the overreaching power of the central chiefs, and moved
strategically to support the young Kabaka in establishing his authority. When that initial
effort failed, they made a sustained critique of colonial power. These people, including
Mugema, the chief responsible for making and defending the power of Kabakas, and Miti,
the highest ranking muganda in the colonial service. These were leaders of the nation who
had in their own careers experienced the loss of Ganda control over the production of
wealth and the loss of Ganda political autonomy. They were familiar with Ganda political
88See, for example, testimony on Commission pages 385, 437, 439, 505, 521, 531.
89For example, Nkuwe, 388-391; Matayo Serubuzi, 422.

289
order and practice of power. They articulated their vision of how things could be different
by decrying the destruction of customs that facilitated well-being, by calling for a return of
diverse forms of authority, by criticizing "enslavement" inherent in commodified social
relationships, and by asserting that British overrule could be combined with effective
Ganda government as they remembered it.
It was perhaps inevitable that their case ultimately failed (as success would have
entailed unravelling the colonial state), but even so it is remarkable that in the 1920s they
succeeded in articulating a series of arguments that attracted and maintained the attention
and concern of Uganda Protectorate officials and those of the British Government.
Ironically, the dichotomized discourse of the case against mailo set the political agenda for
Buganda for the following half century; but inside those documents, it is possible to
glimpse the complex, multi-layered system that the Bataka leaders remembered when they
spoke of "the good customs of Buganda."

EPILOGUE
SNAKE IN THE COOKING POT: THE IMPASSE OF LAND IN BUGANDA
A snake in the cooking pot is an irresolvable dilemma. Kill the snake and the meal
is lost because the pot breaks; leave the snake and the meal is lost because the snake spoils
the food. Mailo land has been a "snake in the cooking pot" for the entire twentieth
century: no resolution to the problem it posed for the Ganda polity could be implemented
without destroying things that seemed essential to Buganda. The request for a return of
power made explicitly and implicitly in the case against mailo was irresolvable: mailo had
inscribed the logic of power and the locations of power that facilitated the colonial state.
Giving back the land, and the authority that people wanted along with it, would have
exposed the fiction of Ganda self rule. No one acknowledged this dilemma, and from
every side, the expectations and intentions raised by the case remained unmet.
For the people who brought the case against mailo, change was impossible because
they wanted to maintain their fealty and obedience to the British, and also to re-order
power. They continued, for years, to ask politely for the return of their land, then the
survivors challenged their energies into more overtly anti-British political activities. The
most volatile crises in Ganda politics concerned the issues raised in the case against mailo
—control of land, and power of the Kabaka.
290

291
For Apolo Kaggwa and the other large land owners, ownership of mailo also
entailed a snake in the cooking pot dilemma: they wanted the prestige that control of land
had always implied, but they could not maintain that prestige and also use land as a source
of profit. The many square-miled land holdings of the larger chiefs could not be sustained.
Much of Kaggwa’s vast land holdings were sold to pay lawyers for a family quarrel and the
drinking debts of his heir, and a generation later a descendant was killed for selling what is
now the Kampala neighborhood of Kololo without concern for the people who lived there.
In the years immediately following the case against mailo, Protectorate and Home
Office officials vacillated between sympathy for the people who had been unjustly
deprived of their land, and concern for the preservation of the order of power inscribed in
the allocation of mailo land. For the British Protectorate and Home Office, the case
against mailo was an excruciatingly uncomfortable dilemma: they needed the centralized
power they had created through Kaggwa, but by the 1920s they did not want him
anymore. However, everyone they replaced him with behaved the same way. Kaggwa’s
very un-Ganda way of being a chief, which silenced alternative points of view, had become
the new Ganda "tradition."
The actual resolution of the case against mailo ignored the irresolvable political
issues, and addressed the less-emphasized complaint about the deterioration of reciprocity.
The Busulu and Nvujo law, forced through the Lukiko by Protectorate authorities in
1927, quantified the tribute paid by people on the land (now tenants) to their landlords,
and spelled out the landlords’ obligations to tenants. This law thus completed the process
of legal commodification of social relationships that had begun with the creation of private

292
property in land. In neither case did this process of commodification eliminate the social
meanings attached to land in Buganda. Mailo meant that people could acquire authority
over other people by purchasing land. The Busulu and Nvujo law meant that followers on
the land expressed their allegiance through cash payments and not through gifts. Using
cash as the medium for exchanges concerning land did not obliterate people’s expectations
of mutual obligation and reciprocity. One evidence of this is the continuation of busuulu
and nvujo. even after inflation made them economically valueless.
Butaka also became commodified. Following the failed struggle to regain clan
lands, butaka ceased to mean the burial grounds where lineage elders maintained the
connections between living people and their ancestors that ensured well-being. Butaka
came to mean land owned by an individual, secured by graves of that person’s immediate
relatives. Like kusenga and the forms of political order in Buganda, the connections
maintained by butaka shrunk dramatically in a the circumstances of a cash economy and
colonial power relationships.

GLOSSARY
bakopi - a person who was a receiver in a kusenga relationsip, a peasant
bakungu - chiefs whose authorite came entirely from the Kabaka
bataka - lit, the heads of clans, came to mean the movement of people who criticized mailo
allocation in the 1920s
batongole - chiefs in charge of ekitongole
butaka - land where important clan ancestors were buried
ekitongole - chiefship/area of land created for a specific purpose
Kabaka - King
Kago - the Saza chief of Kyadondo, one of the oldest Sazas
Kaima - the Saza chief of Mawokota, a province on the lake
Kangawo - the Saza chief of Bulemezi
Kasolya - the principle butaka land of a clan
Katikiro - the Prime Minister
kibanja - a plot granted by a chief to a follower, its gardens fed one family
Kiimba - the Saza chief of Bugangadzi
kusenga - a relationship of mutual obligation among unequals, in which land and protection
were exchanged for loyalty and service
lubaale - spiritual forces with a greater-than-local influence
lukiko - originally the chiefs gathered around the King to pay respect; ca. 1897 became a
parliament
mailo - individually owned land, allotted in square miles
Mandwa - spirit medium
matoke - the staple food, a kind of banana
Mengo - capital in the 1860s.
miruka - a very low level chieftainship
mituba, mutuba, a lower branch of the clan structure
Mugema - the Saza chief of Busirro, one of the most powerful chiefs
mutaka - a head of a clan or branch of a clan
Namasole - the Mother of the Kabaka, an extremely powerful political figure
Omuwanika - the treasurer, one of the Regents
saza - a province of the kingdom, ruled by a named Saza chief
Second Katikiro - the Catholic Prime Minister, created after civil wars
ssiga - clan "stem"
293

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Holly Elisabeth Hanson is an Assistant Professor of History at Mount Holyoke
College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. After attending Brown University and the
University of Wisconsin-Madison, she lived and worked in Ibadan, Nigeria, from 1978 to
1982. She was involved in facilitating rural development activities for the Baha’i
International Community from 1982 to 1989, and published a book and a number of
articles regarding community development and the pursuit of social justice. Her essay
"Mill Girls’ and Mine Boys’: The Cultural Meanings of Migrant Labor" appeared in Social
History in May 1996. She is the mother of Corin Olinga Vick and Rebecca Margaret Vick.
300

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Steven Feierman, Chair
Professor of History
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
R. Hunt Davis, Jr.
Professor of History
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
of History
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
David L. Schoenbrun
Associate Professor of History,
University of Georgia

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Associate Professor of Geography
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
heryl Kr^en
Sheryl Kr<
Assistant Professor of History
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department of
History in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate School and was
accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
December, 1997
Dean, Graduate School




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