Why the Obugabe Issue Has Remained Contraversial in Ankole


Dear Ugandans,

I think the little I know of the Obugabe and the reason why it has taken so long to come to them is because of that drum.You see the Basiita are the rightful owners of the drum. The Basiita are now according to Ankore gossip the lowest rank civil servant in the Obugabe. They are the ones who “beat” the drum. The Bahinda are the clan that holds the Obugabe (drum). I have never quite understood it but being married to a half Buhinda I get to hear all sorts of explanations.

Ruhinda the founder of the Ankore dynasty was an immigrant Muchwezi who came to Ankore when there was drought with his cows which he used to get dominion over the people of Nkore. He is alleged to have come from Karagwe, Tanzania, but before that his ancestors came from Abyssinia. This is why the Bahinda of today like to talk about Ethiopic roots.

Anyway, during the draught, the original kings the Basiita needed food and so they gave their drum in exchange. In that whole region there was something spiritual about the drum. It was a symbol of authority. I have heard it in Kigezi also. When I find a Munyakigezi who is annoyed with President Museveni for example, they are always quick to remind me that,..”Omwijjuse, neite twamutaire ha ngoma” (remind him, it is us who put him on the drum). That was the comment I heard a lot after the bafuruki drama.

The Bahinda complain that they have not got their drum back because Museveni a Musiita says it belonged to his clan first and also they believe that he conceives the drum as the Presidency so to ask for the drum back is to attempt to dethrone him. I personally don’t believe he is this petty, but you can’t stop people from believing what they want.

This is the view I have found most commonly expressed among a cross section of bahinda who I have asked about the their clan issues. The problem with these rulers (Bahinda) was that they were very brutal and segregative. Even Among the Bahima, they had “levels”. I found it very interesting that the Omugabe chose to describe himself as a Muhima, Mwiru, Muhororo in this 1993 extract (below) from the hansard of Parliament considering that they were only allowed to marry among themselves.

For us Bakiga, we know the Bahororo as usurpers/bafuruki. The Kingdom was founded by Muhumuza who was the mother of Rwabugiri the most brutal king of Rwanda who took all land from Bakiga that was Busigi, Byumba and Ruhengere (Banyarwanda call it Ruhengeri now). She claimed she was a priestess of Nyabiinghi a kikiga deity. So when Aisha enters this territory, she is touching on very raw nerves.

We grew up on stories of all Bakiga ancestors around Rukiga, Ndorwa, Byumba and Ruhengere being subjected to mass murder and stealing of their land when the Belgians controlled the area and before the British annexed Kabale and Kisoro from those brutish Belgians and the word Bafuruki was derogatory to us. The Bairu also have similar stories from Obugabe days so Mao needs to go easy,  even the Omugabe is trying to persuade people that they are only interested in restoration to preserve the “good bits” of culture so if Prince Barigye is moving cautiously, then maybe Mao should too.

All Bahororo I have met say they come from this Muhumuza woman so how recent then is this Mpororo? I tell you I have googled, read and can’t seem to find any sense in this Mpororo stuff. It seems to me like total hogwash and desire by some people to have “blue blood”. Rwabugiri was the King of Rwanda during the 1890’s so considering she is his mother must be older than that (1850) yet when you read this Mpororo kingdom, it seems like they have been there for years. I think this recent Muhumuza was an imitator a fraud.
It is possible Rwanda’s former president,Habyarimana, was a Mukiga but I have no idea. I do know that some elements still among the Tutsi and Hima still consider the Bakiga as inferior to them. I have been called sub human to my face by seemingly intelligent bahima and when I ask how such people got such ideas, I am told that all Bakiga and Bahutu are the same and we are sub-human.
This debate about kings does not go down well for us bakiga. My grandfather told me stories of how bakiga were being killed left right and center before the British Annexed Kabale, Kisoro. The bakiga called coffee “kiboko” and that is because they were beaten endlessly to produce coffee for the belgians.
I think our boundaries that split is into two and had Kabala and Kisoro join Uganda in the early 1910’s started to be defined after the Ankole agreement of 1901. Before that we were at the mercy of Rwabugiri who was a usurper. It is said that the first “King” who unified bakiga through bloodbrotherhood, Kigeri Ndori crossed from Ndorwa and was a son of Mumbogo. Most call him Kashyiga or Kakiga.  He made a blood pact with the Basigi of Busigi which is east of Byumba by eating a bloodied coffee bean. That time the Bafundi bakiga of Rubanda were warring with Ndorwa and vice versa, This Kigeri married a tutsi woman who’s son eventually overthrew them by instating her son and insisting on only pure blood from her line marries the kings. He should not be confused with Ruganzu Ndori the magician. For us who come from Ndorwa, we know one leader and that is Ndori. The next time anyone in his line ruled over Rwanda was Kigeri Ndabarasa.

 There were always two families struggling for power and the Batutsi tried to change history by erasing him and rewriting it totally. Only Vansina has tried to get to some truth but even then, it is not clear. The elders in Kamuganguzi have the best story. I think that those Tutsi monarchists and supporters are afraid of Bakiga because they stole our land and our heritage and Habyarimana had those kikiga beliefs like the belief in Nyabiinghi so maybe they confused him. But if you read history, then Gihanga is the father of Gahutu and Gatutsi so they are all one. And Gihanga come from Kigwa “The fallen Son of God” who came to earth and married Nyampundu. So all of them if you follow etymology of words are Bakigwa or Bakiga.
You know even before the genocide, Bakiga in Kabale used to listen to Radio Mill Colline and I recall my grandpa in Kihihi, Kanungu, he had already moved but he liked to hear news brought by the banyakabale visitors of Kamuganguzi. He warned that genocide was coming, not because the Bahutu were bad, but he heard how everyone was trying to re-write history.
I do not want to seem like a sadist but the little that I grew up hearing, the use of the machete was King Rwabugiri’s hallmark. A Tutsi, not Habyarimana the Mukiga/Muhutu but Rwabugiri the Mututsi with the help of the Belgians. Habyarimana who felt threatened by the tutsi invasion, decided to appeal to those buried sentiments and most people who picked up those panga’s did so because they were fed with endless stories reminding them of Rwabugiri’s brutality. Now, I am sorry but I see Kagame trying to hide that history as though it will save him. It can’t and Kagame himself is paranoid about those ancient rituals explains his desire to find the Kalinga (the mythical drum) that got “lost” in Ndorwa (Uganda).
DP’s Mao wants to bring back the Obugabe, did he read what Mushega said about the naming of Igara county? It was the place where the kings cut out the eyes of the people. This kind of brutal stories have been passed down from one generation to the next. I support cultural institutions but sometimes I feel they are so vulnerable that someone can use them to start a genocide to serve their own political interests.
When those Banyarwanda were dismissing Habyarimana as a Mukiga/Muhutu/sub human, did you take a good look at their facial expressions? Read their expressions next time and judge if any sense will come out of ethnic debates.

Nina Mbabazi

UAH forumist


About ekitibwakyabuganda

Ba Ssebo ne ba Nyabo, Twebaza Abaganda bonna abulumulirwa Obuganda . Era twebaza ne mikwano gya Buganda gyonna wonna wegiri munsi yonna. Omukutu guno gwatandikibwawo nga e’kigendererwa kwe kuyigiriza abantu ebintu ebikwatagana no’Buganda era nokuwanyisiganya ebilowozo nebanaffe abatali Baganda. Abaganda ne mikwano gya Buganda mukozese omukisa guno muwereze ebirowozo byamwe no’bubaka bwona obunaagasa Abaganda na’baana Buganda berizala mu maaso eyo. Obumu ku bubaka obuwerezebwa ku mukutu guno bugyibwa mukuwanyisiganya ebirowozo okubera kumukutu gwa Ugandan’s at Heart (UAH) Forum ogwatandikibwawo Mwami Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba. Era twebaza muzukulu wa Kintu ne Nnambi ono olw’omulimu gwakoledde bana Uganda bonna abali e’bunayira mungeri yo kubagatta mu byempuliziganya no’kutumbula okukolaganira awamu.

2 responses »

  1. The Bahororo story is ‘hogwash’? There are several versions of history, Nina. I suggest you refrain from belittling people who are as proud of their heritage as they are of yours. Does the Bahororo family you married into know that you believe their version of history to be hogwash? Respect can only be gained when it is given, and knowledge is an evolutionary process…don’t for one second imagine that the views you hold today will hold into your old age. As such, it would behooveyou to occasionally hold your tongue when it is clear you will feel foolish for not doing so in the future.

  2. Please Nina, do more research next time before giving out information. The Basita clan never owned the drum/s, even Museveni knows this better than anybody, their work was to keep the Bacwezi royal drums. Rwakyasha is the royal drum the last mucwezi Wamara left to his son {heir} Ruhinda as a sign of authority. Museveni alone knows why Ankore kingdom should not be restored.

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