1.Structure Of Buganda Kingdom

Structure Of Buganda Kingdom (Political organisation)

  • Buganda had a highly centralized system of administration.
  • The Kabaka was the head of the Kingdom with absolute powers e.g. Kabaka could appoint, promote, demote and dismiss his chiefs.
  • The Kabaka’s powers were hereditary and leadership was passed on to his elder son.
  • The Kabaka was assisted by 3 prominent chiefs i.e. Chief Justice (Omulamuzi), Treasurer (Omuwanika) and the Prime minister (Katikiro).
  • The Kingdom was subdivided into counties (Ssazas), sub-counties (Gombolola), parish (Muluka), sub-parish (Ekitongole) and village (Kyalo).
  • Each of these was led by a chief for effective administration.
  • The Chiefs were supposed to mobilize people for public works e.g. construction of roads.
  • Buganda had a legislative council called Lukiiko (parliament) which was to formulate laws and advise the Kabaka.
  • The Kabaka had royal body guards called Abambowa and these were charged with protecting the Kabaka at his palace and on journeys and functions.
  • The Kabaka received gifts from his subjects and chiefs as a sign of loyalty and in return they would be rewarded with large chunks of land.

Social Organization

  • Socially, Buganda was organized on clan basis.
  • Every Muganda belonged to a particular clan e.g. Lion (Mpologoma) Monkey (Enkima) Buffalo (Mbogo).
  • Marriage in Buganda was Polygamous.
  • Members of the same clan were not allowed to get married.
  • Each of the clans had a clan head (Omukulu we Kiika) and a special area of origin (Obutaka)
  • Kabaka was the head of all clans (Ssabataka) and belonged to the clan of his mother.
  • The Baganda were divided into classes i.e. royal class for men (Abalangira) Women (Abambejja), Nobles (Abakungu), Peasants/ Commoners (Abakopi) and slaves (Abaddu).
  • The Kabaka was the spiritual leader of Buganda and was considered semi-divine.
  • The Baganda believed in small gods (Lubaale) whom they consulted on various occasions e.g. Ddungu (hunting), Musoke (rain), Mukasa (fishing), and  Walumbe (death) e.t.c
  • The Baganda also believed in witchcraft and sorcerers (Abalogo) who were consulted by those who wanted to harm others.
  • The Baganda had a royal regalia which included, drums, backcloth, spears which were highly respected.
  • Virginity was highly respected in Buganda because it was a sign of good upbringing and respect.

Economic organisation

  • The Baganda carried out agriculture as the major activity and grew crops like Matooke, Cassava, Yams and beans.
  • They also domesticated / kept animals like, cows, sheep, goats, chicken, and rabbits e.t.c
  • Fishing was also carried out on the shores of Lake Victoria.
  • Iron working was also practiced and they made implements such as knives, pangas and spears.
  • The back cloth making industry was also developed in Buganda.
  • The Buganda also participated in the long distance trade with the coastal Arabs mainly acquiring guns in exchange for slaves and Ivory.
  • Buganda also received tributes from her vessel states to supplement on her revenue e.g. from Busoga and Toro.
  • Taxation was another source of revenue and it was the duty of chiefs to collect taxes.
  • Raids were also important in Buganda’s economy e.g. she raided Bunyoro, Busoga for cattle, slaves, Ivory e.t.c.

Reasons for Buganda’s decline

  • The Kingdom was too big to be effectively administered.
  • Lack of able leadership especially after the death of Kabaka Muteesa 1 in 1884.
  • Attacks from vassal states e.g. Busoga greatly weakened the kingdom.
  • Land conflicts with Bunyoro also increased hostilities with her neighbours.
  • Internal conflicts especially power struggles led to disunity in the kingdom.
  • Disunity because of social classes also weakened her military strength.
  • Natural calamities e.g. floods and diseases especially sleeping sickness which killed many people.
  • The coming of Missionaries also led to disunity within the kingdom hence her decline.
  • The coming of colonialists who effectively led to the loss of her independence.