Buganda kingdom is the largest of the traditional kingdoms in present-day Uganda, comprising all of Uganda’s Central Region.
The Baganda had a centralized system of government which by 1750 was the best organized in the interlacustrine region.
After 175O, the Kabaka (head of the kingdom) assumed a position of political importance far superior to the ranks of the Bataka. The Kabaka’s position was hereditary but it was not confined to any one clan because the king would take the clan of his mother. The Kabaka used to marry from as many clans as possible and this encouraged loyalty to the throne in the sense that each of the fifty-two clans hoped that it would one day produce the king.
The other persons who occupied positions of political and social importance were: the Prime Minister known as the Katikkiro, the Mugema, the royal sister known as Nalinya, the Queen mother known as Namasole and the Naval and Army commanders referred to as Gabunga and Mujasi respectively.
The kingdom was divided into administrative units known as Amasaza (counties) which were further sub-divided into Amagombolola (sub-counties), and these were sub-divided into parishes called Emiruka which were subdivided into sub-parishes. The smallest unit was known as Bukungu which was more or less a village unit. All the chiefs at all levels were appointed by the Kabaka and they were directly responsible to him. He could appoint or dismiss any chief at will. After 1750, chieftainship was no longer hereditary. Chieftainship was accorded on clan basis but only to men of merit and distinguished service.
Cultural Set Up of the Kingdom
The leader of the Kingdom is called The Kabaka, the people are referred to as Baganda for many and Muganda for singular, their language is called Luganda and the Culture is called Kiganda Culture. The living king is called the Kabaka while the deceased king is referred to as the Ssekabaka. Sovereignty of leadership has always belonged to the male child from the royal family. Neither woman nor any other person not from the royal blood can reign in Buganda. The elder son of the King in Buganda does not become king but takes on the title of Kiweewa and there are functions carried out to crown the Kiweewa. The heir to the throne is always under the guardianship of the Kasujju. The Kasujju is also responsible for helping the Kiweewa carry out his duties. There is always a senior prince in the Kingdom called the Sabalangira. Princes and princesses take up their mothers clans and totems. The queen and the queen mother are permitted to hold their courts and a certain measure of administrative powers is conferred on them by the Kiganda Custom. Princes in the direct linage of succession are called Princes of the Drum because their father is on the throne and has the royal drum (Mujaguzo). Possession of this drum has always been regarded as possession of power, office and authority. Apart from the Royal drum (Mujaguzo), there are also other drums for each chieftainship. Each office is identified by the rhythm of its drum.
The kingdom also relied on the Bafumu who were appointed by the King. The Sabafumu would help to predict and warn the King about the coming problem and would go ahead to provide the King with people who could solve the problem.
The kingdom also relied on the work of the royal sister. She would help and guide the King when he takes over power. She is also traditionally called the œLubuga of the king. She was appointed by the elders who were also responsible for the selection of the next king from amongst the sons of the outgoing king. The Royal sister would stress her advice to the King so that he takes her word seriously. This is traditionally called Okuvuma Kabaka in Buganda. She also had an assistant called the Nampakibeezi who would help by doing her duties when she was away.
The King’s Twin (Mulongo) was also very useful in guiding the King on special powers claiming to come from god. The Twin had special powers called Lukenge. He was some times called the Mukasa wezadde. Thats why the Baganda say Bweza Bwa Mukasa when twins are born.
Every king in Buganda had to have a Jjembe which would make the King a hero by helping him win all the battles that came his way. The King would choose a name for his Jjembe.
The Home, like in most African culture, for one to become a man, he has to build himself a home and marry a wife. The King can build his home and give it a name of his choice.
People in Buganda are organized under different clans and are identified according to their respective clans. Children in Buganda are given names depending on their respective clans.