How Christianity was in Buganda 

How Christianity was in Buganda 

Christianity in Buganda was penetrated as early as 1870s. The earliest missionary groups entered Buganda during the reign of Kabaka Mutesa I. Mutesa I had invited them through a letter which was taken by Henry Morton Stanley who took it to the Queen of England.

This letter was published in the daily telegram the British Newspaper of Nov 1875. When British received the letter, they were excited and therefore the CMS selected teachers to come to Buganda and civilize Mutesa’s subjects.

Those teachers started teaching the pages (kabaka’s messengers) at kabaka’s palace together with Buganda chiefs, ministers and the kabaka. Other missionary members from the catholic group arrived in Buganda and joined the CMS in 1879 and these were the Roman Catholics

They also started their teachings which attracted the king to join them.

Factors for the Rapid Spread of Christianity In Buganda
  • The early interest in the Christian teachers by kabaka Mutesa I in 1781 and his allowing them to come into Buganda made Christianity very strong in the region.
  • Kabaka Mutesa I also allowed his chiefs to attend missionary teachings and lessons at the palace leading to wide spread of Christianity.
  • The services offered by kabaka I has a translator to the missionaries was a symbol of acceptance of the church in Buganda hence its spread.
  • The translation of New Testament, prayer books and hymns by Alexander Mackay into Luganda also made Christianity easily acceptable in Buganda.
  • Mutesa I allocated the teachers of gospel places outside his capital which enabled them to easily go to other areas preaching the gospel.
  • The 1885-1886 killing of the Uganda Martyrs also inspired many Baganda to join the Christianity to serve God.
  • The 1882-1892 religious wars in Buganda that led to the removal of Islam from Buganda greatly made Christianity to develop because it remained as the only foreign in Buganda.
  • Buganda’s centralized administration made the conversion of people to Christianity very easy because when leaders got converted, it was easy for the subjects to be also followed.
  • Buganda’s settled way of life also made it easy for the missionaries to reach out to them and teach them the gospel.
  • The Baganda were and they are still hospitable people with a culture of adopting change easily. Therefore they warmly welcomed the missionaries.
  • Buganda was blessed with very many missionary societies that competed for converts which made it easy for the gospel to be spread in the region.
  • Buganda had good transport network which was developed by central leadership system in Buganda a factor which made the missionary movement very easy.
  • Missionaries used the local Baganda evangelists to preach the gospel to fellow Bagandas which made the gospel easily accepted e.g. Apollo kivebulaya.
  • Favourable climate in Buganda characterized by reliable rainfall and sunshine greatly favored the missionaries making them spread the gospel.
  • The raise of independent church movement in Uganda known as African Greek orthodox churches greatly involved the Baganda to join Christianity hence its spread.
  • The missionary station their head quarters in Buganda e.g. at Namirembe hill, lubaga churches
  • Qn. Account for the easy spread of the gospel in Buganda.
Why Kabaka Muteesa I Invited Missionaries into Buganda
  • In 1875, Henry Morton Stanley visited Buganda and had a meeting with Kabaka Mutesa one.
  • After Stanley’s advice, Mutesa I wrote a letter to England requesting for the missionaries to come to Buganda.

Following the invitation, between 1876 and 1877, the Church Missionary Society under the leadership of Reverend CT Wilson and Shergold Smith arrived in Buganda. Later in 1879, the Catholic White Fathers from France arrived under the leadership of Father Lourdel and Brother Amans.

Reasons Why Kabaka Mutesa I Invited the Christian Missionaries into Buganda
  • The Christian missionaries were invited because: 
  • Mutesa I wanted to strengthen his position by acquiring guns from the missionaries.
  • He expected the missionaries to teach him how to make his own guns.
  • He expected the  missionaries to train his soldiers and equip them with the best military skills
  • To be able to use their influence and fight Bunyoro under  Omukama Kabalega 
  • He was afraid of pressure from Egypt who wanted to colonize Buganda, so he hoped to use the missionaries to defeat them.
  • He needed prestige and respect from his fellow chiefs. 
  • He needed to use Christian missionaries to check on Muslims who were becoming too arrogant. 
  • He expected Christian missionaries to teach his people how to read and write. 
  • He was tired of the demands from traditional religion. He needed a change in religion.
  • The need by Mutesa I to use the missionaries to teach his people technical skills. 
  • Mutesa I wished to trade with the Christian missionaries so as to further develop the economy of Buganda. 
  • Mutesa I wanted the Christian missionaries to teach his people new farming methods.
  • He had a hospitable heart towards foreigners. The friendly nature of Mutesa I, therefore forced him to invite missionaries to his kingdom.
  • Mutesa I expectedtoreceive some gifts from the Christian missionaries, for example beads, mirrors and clothes among others.
  • He had been convinced by H.M Stanley that Christian missionaries would be  good for the safety of his kingdom.

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