Celebrating Three Decades of King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II’s Coronation in Buganda

Celebrating Three Decades of King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II’s Coronation in Buganda

On Monday, 31 July 2023, despite the rain, thousands of Ugandans gathered at the palace grounds of Buganda, the country’s largest kingdom, to joyously celebrate the 30th anniversary of King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II’s coronation.

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Dressed in traditional attire, men donned white tunics known as “kanzus,” while women wore “bitenge” dresses.

The festive atmosphere was marked by dancing, ululation, and heartfelt prayers for the 68-year-old monarch, whose ancestors had ruled the region, encompassing modern-day Kampala, Uganda’s capital.

A Colorful Display of Tradition and Culture

The air resonated with the rhythmic beat of royal drums as King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, clad in customary ceremonial attire made of leopard skin and tree bark cloth, waved to the exuberant crowd.

Among the attendees was Charles Peter Mayiga, the prime minister of Buganda, a constitutional monarchy within Uganda.

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The celebrations were not only to honor the coronation but also to pray for the king’s good health and continued leadership of the kingdom.

Annet Nakafeero, a 34-year-old shop attendant who brought her four-year-old daughter to the festivities, expressed her joy and reverence for the occasion.

A Showcasing of Tradition and Unity

During the celebrations at the hilltop palace in Kampala, schoolchildren performed traditional songs, and officials from both the kingdom and the central government observed the event.

While the king, known as the Kabaka, holds a predominantly ceremonial role, historical tensions between the monarchy and the government have not been forgotten.

President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled Uganda with firm control, had past conflicts with the Kabaka.

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In 2009, the government closed down the Buganda-run radio station CBS for a year, alleging that its broadcasters incited hatred during riots in Kampala, triggered by restrictions on the king’s movements within the kingdom.

Tragically, at least 27 people lost their lives during the security service’s anti-riot operations.

Buganda’s Support and Struggles Throughout History

The Kabaka’s role and the Buganda kingdom have played significant roles in Uganda’s history.

Buganda’s support was instrumental in President Museveni’s rise to power in 1986 during the bush war.

Conversely, the kingdom faced challenges under former president Milton Obote, who outlawed tribal kingdoms and forced the Kabaka into exile, resulting in widespread animosity towards him in Buganda.

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As the celebrations concluded, the vibrant display of tradition and unity served as a testament to the enduring legacy of King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II and the rich cultural heritage of the Buganda kingdom.

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