The Structure/Organisation Of Bunyoro Kingdom


  • The kingdom had a centralized system of administration with the Omukama as the political head.
  • Omukama had absolute powers i.e. to appoint, promote and dismiss any of his chiefs.
  • The Kingdom was divided into provinces, districts and counties each under a chief for effective administration.
  • Most of the chiefs came from distinguished Families and they ruled on behalf of the Omukama.
  • Most of the chiefs resided at the Omukama‘s palace to ensure their loyalty to him.
  • The Chiefs had to provide the Omukama with gifts such as cattle, beer, grains and men to serve in the army and at the palace.
  • Chiefs were also responsible for tax collection and ensuring law and order within the kingdom.
  • Initially, Bunyoro had no standing army and therefore all able bodied men would be called upon to form an army and the General would be appointed by the Omukama.
  • The army had the duty of defending the Kingdom against external threats, expanding the kingdom, carrying out raids and spying on the Omukama’s enemies.

Social Organisation

  • The Banyoro had classes in their society with the Bahima as the rulers and the Bairu as the Subject class.
  • Religiously the Banyoro believed in a supreme being called Ruhanga (God) who was believed to be the creator of all things.
  • Apart from Ruhanga, the Banyoro had many other small gods and each clan and family had its own favourite god.
  • The Banyoro had national gods like Wamara god of plenty, Mugizi –god of Lake Albert and Muhigo the god of war.
  • Sacrifices were always offered to these gods to please them.
  • The Banyoro also had royal regalia which included drums, spears, animal skins, the throne, royal crown and these were highly respected as symbols of power.
  • The Banyoro were always united by a similar culture, language and way of dressing.

Economic Organisation

  • Cattle rearing were the main economic activity of the Bahima and the herdsmen always moved with their cattle in search of pastures and water.
  • Agriculture or crop growing was practiced by the lower class of peasants (Bairu) and they mainly grew millet.
  • Salt mining was another economic activity in Bunyoro got from Lake Katwe.
  • Salt was used for feeding animals and the rest was exported to her neighbours like Buganda.
  • The Iron working industry was also developed in Bunyoro and they manufactured hoes, spears, and pangas. e.t.c.
  • Trade was another economic activity of Bunyoro e.g. she traded with her neighbours and also participated in the long distance trade with the coastal Arabs.
  • Bark cloth making was also done in Bunyoro to provide clothes to the people.
  • Banyoro also involved them in pottery and sold the products outside the Kingdom.
  • These who stayed near Lake Albert and rivers carried out fishing.
  • Revenue was also collected from vassal states e.g. Buganda and Acholi which were supposed to pay tribute to the Omukama.
  • The Banyoro also engaged in hunting for food, Elephants for Ivory and the Rhino for horns.
  • The army of Bunyoro always raided it’s neighbours for slaves and Ivory hence contributing to the economy.