Effects of the Wars on the Church 

Effects of the Wars on the Church 

Positive effects

  • The wars made the church popular in Buganda and Uganda at large because people’s attention was directly towards the Christian cause.
  • The conflicts helped to recognize the presence of Christianity in Buganda hence its wide spread.
  • They inspired religious competition among religious groups which made them to spread the gospel at all times all costs.
  • The wars made Christians to scatter into different parts of Buganda and Uganda leading to spread of gospel in such areas.
  • The wars produced committed Christian evangelists who were inspired by the mistreatment to spread the gospel e.g. Apollo Kivebulaya.
  • The wars produced Christian martyrs who out of their heroic actions attracted many people to join Christianity.
  • They ended the king’s persecution of Christina’s factor that easily led the spreading of Christianity in Buganda.
  • They led to the division of Buganda’s counties on religious lines which provided a peaceful and favorable environment for spreading the church.
  • They also brought short term unity and co-operation among the Christians against the Muslims which also favorable of Christianity.
  • The wars led to the British control over Buganda something that led to the recognition of the church as the state religion hence favouring its spread.
  • They led to the over throw of Islam out of Buganda a factor that left Christianity as the only dominate religion in the region.
  • They led to the British final takeover of Uganda and this brought security to the Christian teachers to spread the gospel everywhere.
  • They attracted more Christian missionaries to come to Buganda to support their colleagues hence more man power to spread Christianity.
  • The wars led to financial support towards the missionaries from their home government and they used this money to spread the gospel through putting up schools and churches.

Negative effect

The wars led to death of some Christians hence reducing the church congregation.

  • The wars scared away people from joining the church fearing to lose their lives hence hindering the expansion of the church.
  • They brought instability/ insecurity that scared many Christian teachers from moving to preach the gospel.
  • During the course of the wars, some Christian followers were imprisoned by the Muslims which threatened many people to join the church.
  • They made many people to go into exile and this reduced the number of Christians in the region hence church expansion.
  • The wars portrayed the missionaries as people fighting against the kiganda traditional culture which annoyed the Baganda and stopped them from joining Christianity.
  • They also revealed the missionaries as colonial agents which also made many East Africans not to join Christianity
  • The wars favoured the spread of Islam in Buganda especially when Kalema was the Muslim king and this hindered the progress of the church.
  • They also resulted into destruction of church property such as Holy Bibles and church structures which were burnt by the Muslims.
  • The wars scared some Christian missionaries in Europe from coming into Buganda to assist theirfellow missionaries in spreading Christianity.


  1. Assess the impact of the religions wars on the spread of the church in East Africa. (Positive and negative effects on the church) 
  2. How did the religious wars hinder the expansion of the church in East Africa? (Negative effects)(13 marks)
  3. How did the religious wars contribute to the expansion of the church?
  4. To what extent did the religious wars contribute to the spread of Christianity in East Africa?

Out Standing Church Leaders in East Africa


  • Kivebulaya was a Muganda who spent most of his early years at the court of Mutesa I and Mwanga.
  • At the age of 13, he became interested in the whites and he so much admired Alexander Mackay’s classes at Mengo.
  • However before Alexander classes he had been influenced by Islam that had first reached the palace.

Apollo kivebulaya picked courage and joined the classes and started learning how to read and write.

From 1887, he was serving in Mwanga’s army and in 1888; he was forced to join the revolt organized by the Moslems against Mwanga.

During the religious wars, Apollo joined the Christians who had escaped to Ankole and when he came back to Kampala, he went for Bible study organized by the protestant missionaries.

  • The protestant missionaries put him into police and he worked as a soldier until he was baptized at the age of 31 in 1895.
  • After being baptized he requested to be sent as an evangelist to Toro where he was allowed to go and he served as a missionary of the CMS.
  • He is reported to live walked on foot forever 300km and he passed through 75 papyrus swamps to reach Toro.
  • While in Toro he preached Christianity to the local people and he is credited for having been the 1st person to take Christianity to Toro.
  • From Toro he went to Boga in Congo (Zaire) where he preached the gospel to the pygmies.
  • When the Belgians occupied Boga, Apollo returned to Toro and worked there as a preacher for 15 years up to 1915.
  • In 1915, he returned to Boga where he stayed until his death in 1933.
  • Because of his work, he became the most famous of all African evangelists especially among the Protestants just as Adrian Atman of Tanganyika among the Catholics.
Strength/Achievements/Importance of Kivebulaya to the Church
  • He was a devoted Christian convert with a high level of spirituality whose ways of life attracted many people to Christianity.
  • He surrendered his life to the service of the church by abandoning all other activities for the service of the church.
  • He endured suffering for the sake of serving the church and his experience and suffering was a testimony that brought many people to Christianity.
  • He was an African who was easily accepted by fellow Africans together with the Christian gospel he was preaching.
  • Apollo was a friendly and social man who was loving and welcomed every one into the church withoutbasing on sex and his first convert in Toro was a woman.
  • He was a forgiving and reconciling church leader who did not have grudges and hatred for any one e.g. he forgave the chief who had flogged him and he later converted him to Christianity.

Kivebulaya trained fellow teachers such as sedulaka who assisted him in the work of spreading the gospel.

Apollo condemned drunkardness, lustfulness and quarrelsome ways of people by telling them that God hates such acts. In doing so, he imparted a Christian culture to his followers.

Kivebulaya labored to learn the pygmies’language which he learnt and became a comrade in the society which made his work easily accepted.

  • He made some writings by translating the gospel of Mark into the pygmy’s language hence making it easy to be read, interpreted and understood by the pygmies.
  • He labored to teach pygmies how to read and write which ashamed the whites who thought that pygmies had no language. Their learning how to read and write led to the spread of Christianity in Congo.
  • The missionary work of kivebulaya inspired other African evangelists such as Rachael SSebuliba who volunteered to evangelize on some Islands of Lake Victoria.
  • Apollo spent most of his time in prayer for all his missionary work to become successful. Every morning he would pray for 1 or 2 hours such that he would have a successful day. 
  • He carried out charitable works to the church so as to make it grow and expand e.g. when he died; he left his two cows to the church of Boga.
  • Apollo is credited for having created a Christian community among the pygmies which promoted the practice of Christian among them.
  • He carried out catechism among the people of Toro and Bogo and he over saw/ supervised the activities of catechists and guided them
  • He lived an exemplary life and condemned sorcery and other pagan practices which attracted many people to Christianity.
  • He carried out missionary journeys and evangelism in many areas like Toro, Boga, Ituri etc where many people were converted to Christianity.

Weaknesses of Apollo Kivebulaya

  • At the beginning, Apollo kivebulaya was a Muslim who strongly opposed his Christianity.
  • Apollo lacked experience and knowledge to carry out the Christian work of preaching the gospel at the beginning
  • He is blamed for having moved away from the royal palace in Buganda where he would have preached the gospel to many pages.
  • He did not construct any church in his home area until the time of his death in 1933.
  • He monopolized/ dominated the position of being a catechist in Toro and Bogo which even made his work very tiresome.
  • He failed to learn the local languages of the people of Toro and Boga at the beginning which delayed the spread of Christianity among those people.
  • He was a coward who feared Mwanga’s execution of the Christians and that’s why he ran away from Buganda.
  • He didn’t give himself a Christian name and this made many people to doubt his Christianity.
  • He never wanted to consult his white missionaries on how to carry out some Christian activities.

Qn. Assess the role of Canon Apollo Kivebulaya in the spread of Christianity in East Africans. (25marks) App. Achievements and failures.

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