Kabaka’s Crisis

Kabaka’s Crisis. This was a political misunderstanding between the Governor of Uganda-Sir Andrew Cohen and the Kabaka of Buganda-Muteesa II.

 It involved a lot of tension, mistrust and suspicion between these two gentlemen.

This tension resulted into the deportation of Muteesa II to England on 30th November 1953.

Kabaka Muteesa II had failed to cooperate loyally with the British as the 1900 agreement demanded.

 This created a non-violent but very tense and confused situation in Buganda that is popularly known as the ‘Kabaka crisis’ of 1953.

Kabaka’s Crisis Causes / Causes of the crisis

  • Buganda was demanding for federalism and special status so that she would not at the same level with other regions of Uganda which the colonial gov’t opposed.
  • In 1945, three Africans were chosen to join the Legco to make constitutional changes. Buganda, Ankole and Busoga were all supposed to send one representative each, but Buganda refused and demanded for more seats because she didn’t want to be at the same level with other regions.
  • The Kabaka also supported the Lukiiko’s decision not to send a representative to the Legco and this annoyed the governor who wanted a united Uganda leading to the deportation of the Kabaka.
  • In 1952, a colonial gov’t expert A.C Willis researched and emphasized the need to set up local councils in Uganda and resist federalism which didn’t go down well with the Baganda.
  • The Baganda were also worried about the developments in the Legislative council which was turning into a small national assemblyfor all races, tribes and regions of Uganda and this threatened the power of Buganda as a semi-independent state within a wider Uganda.
  • The Baganda also feared for their power because this would mean that the colonial gov’t would win over any vote of confidence over Buganda.
  • The formation of Uganda National Congress (UNC) on 2nd march 1952 by Ignatius Kangave Musaazi also led to the crisis. The party called for unity amongst all Ugandans to demand for independence which the Baganda saw as threat to the institution of the Kabaka.
  • The Baganda were also alarmed by the colonial government’s demands for the East African federation which Buganda didn’t like because they didn’t want to merge with other regions of East Africa.
  • The Kabaka also received a lot of support about this issue from his subjects, the Lukiiko and other provinces like Busoga who also opposed the idea and this also worsened Muteesa’s relationship with Sir Andrew Cohen.
  • The governor was also angered by Buganda’s demands to be transferred from the colonial office to the foreign office which showed no confidence in the abilities of the governor.
  • On 30th November 1952, the British stopped recognizing the Kabaka and later deported him to London in 1953.
  • The British wanted to fulfill the demands of the 1900 Buganda which had stated that the institution of the Kabaka would be abolished if at all he failed to cooperate with the British and this is what sparked off the crisis.
  • The Kabaka was ill advised and he showed stubbornness to the governor even after a series of meetings were held with the governor and this led to his deportation in 1953.
  • The Baganda refused to choose a successor to Muteesa II after his deportation in 1953, contrary what the governor had thought and they only voiced one point ‘We want our Kabaka back”

Effects of the Kabaka crisis

  • Following the deportation of the Kabaka in 1953, a state of emergency was declared in Buganda.
  • Several Baganda elites were sent to England to plead for Muteesa’s return e.g. Eridadi Muriira, Thomas Makumbi and Apollo Kironde.
  • In early 1954, a constitutional expert-Sir Keith Hancock was sent to Uganda to see how a new constitution would be quickly made to return sanity to Buganda.
  • It led to the signing of the 1955 Namirembe agreement which altered the 1900 agreement e.g. the Kabakaship became a constitutional monarch.
  • It was also agreed that the Buganda was to remain part of Uganda and it was to elect members to the Legco like other regions.
  • The crisis affected the formation of the East African federation because this act by the Baganda clearly showed that some sections of the people didn’t want it.
  • The crisis caused a lot of resentment from the Baganda following the deportation of their Kabaka e.g. Baganda men allowed their beards grow wild and they wore bark cloth as a sign of mourning.
  • The crisis resulted into riots in Buganda and increased demands for British withdrawal from Buganda’s soils.
  • The crisis led to the violation of the 1900 Buganda agreement by both the British and Baganda e.g. Britain stopped recognizing the Kabaka and Buganda wanted independence outside the protectorate.
  • The Namirembe agreement also resolved that Muteesa was to return if the Lukiiko had invited him and on 17th October 1955, Muteesa returned amidst jubilation from his people.
  • The crisis resulted in Buganda’s boycott of the 1961 National Assembly elections and fresh elections were organized in 1962.
  • The crisis led to the formation of political parties in Uganda for example Democratic Party in 1956 and Uganda Peoples’ Congress in 1960.
  • The formation of political parties also forced the Buganda loyalists to form their own political party called Kabaka Yekka (K.Y) literally meaning king alone, to strongly support the Kabaka’s position.
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  • The crisis speeded up the political developments in Uganda that resulted into the attainment of in
  • dependence on 9th October 1962.