Uganda Today: Omutaka Kasujju Lubinga Should Stop Noise Pollution
On Monday March 13, a local daily published news to the effect that the Nnaabagereka of Buganda was due to launch a book of her life memoirs on March 23,2023. The paper also published an extract from the book that indicated that the Naabagereka, on December 06, 2010 was blessed with a pair of twin babies.
This revelation surprised many Ugandans in general and the Baganda in particular, who developed unprecedented anxiety of wanting to know how the palace could keep such a secret for over 10 years! Just two days after, Omutaka Kasujju Lubinga (one of the elders and clan head) issued a missive which circulated on social media platforms distancing and alienating the two girls Jade Nakato and Jasmine Babirye from the paternity of the King.
In Buganda’s cultural norms and traditions, when a prince ascends to the throne (Okulya Obuganda), he is at liberty to carry on, create a new norm or discard whatever he deems not to be in tandem with the Kingdom he is leading. In this line, it is a fact that there are a number of traditional norms and rituals that the King has decided to get rid of. This has led to animosity between the Katikkiro and some of the disgruntled clan heads led by Omutaka Kasujju Lubinga.
For close to three years now, the King has been ill at ease as far as his health is concerned. According to the Katikkiro, the King’s health is being taken care of appropriately by doctors in Uganda and abroad. However, a cross section of Ugandans and some clan heads, harbour sentiments that the king is facing health difficulties because he refused to perform some rituals supposed to be done by the reigning monarch following his ascendancy to the throne. It is alleged that Omutaka Kasujju Lubinga, demanded to meet the King so that he could expound on all these matters, but having explained this to the Katikkiro, the Katikkiro is alleged to have denied the group access to the king to the chagrin of Omutaka Lubinga’s group.
Since that time, Omutaka Kasujju Lubinga has fomented friction within the operations of the King’s administration.
Strata of Buganda’s administration
Since time immemorial of the first King of Buganda, King Kintu, Buganda Kingdom has always been administered through the clan system that initially had 6 clans but as time passed by, they were expanded to the current big number of over 50. Each clan through its head, has a particular task and role assigned to it to be performed in the palace for good health of the King and harmonious relations between the King and his subjects. These tasks aren’t pegged to the King alone, they equally extend to the princes and princesses ( Abaana ba Mujjaguzo) for the fallen King and (Abaana b’Engoma) for the reigning King. From the strata of this wonderful hierarchical administration that stipulates the nitty gritty, including but not limited to how the dead are buried at clan burial grounds (Ebiggya) and not cemeteries transcends into the top Lukiiko (Parliament). This is the reason why Uganda, in 1894 Uganda was made a British Protectorate but not a Colony as was the case with the rest of Africa.
Some years in the yore, some princes used to rebel against the newly enthroned King, so Kasujju Lubinga was chosen and given the responsibility of removing all the rebel princes and ensure that they are marooned at Katereke. They would only be set free after denouncing rebellion. This is how Kasujju Lubinga assumed the role of taking care of the fallen King’s children.
So for that Matter, Kasujju Lubinga’s role is to take care of Abaana ba Mujjaguzo but not abaana b’Engoma. The responsibility of taking care of Abaana b’Engoma, lies squarely on the shoulders of Mugema. Thus Kasujju Lubinga’s disenchantment that compelled him to issue a missive was completely out of his jurisdiction.
Kasujju Lubinga should adhere to the changing environment and accept that some of the traditions he is clamouring for, are no longer tenable. For example, one of the would be more important tradition through which the King carried out his subject’s population census, was through continuous registration of birth and death. This tradition that dictates that when a man sires a child, it is a requirement for him to take the baby with its mother to his father so that his father registers the grand child baby and gives it a name. It should be noted that Baganda tradition strictly bars a daughter in law to appear near the father in law, but for purposes of this important name giving, the daughter in law is the one supposed to hand over the baby to her father in law. This is the only instance under this strict Baganda culture, a daughter in law is required to appear within the vicinity of the father in law. The grand father is later required, through head of lineage (olunyiriri) to update these records with the head of Ow’omutuba who in turn is required to update birth and death records with the head of the clan (Owakasolya). Through a similar style, when a subject of the King dies, the head of the family is required to notify the above protocol so that removal of the dead’s name is affected before granting permission to perform last funeral rights for the deceased.
Periodically the head of the clan is supposed to update his records by removing the dead and he furnishes the King through the Katikkiro the population status of his clan. Under this loophole free system, the King is kept abreast with the population status of his Kingdom and what his subjects are doing.
However, following the amalgamation of the Kingdom into a united Uganda some of these roles were taken over by the central government and the king’s subjects have ultimately discarded this important aspect.
Arguably, Kasujju Lubinga usurped the powers of of Mugema who is in charge of abaana b’Engoma. Mugema is the one supposed to announce the birth or death of the reigning King’s children. Because of modernity, the King has done away with several traditional norms. In this case of the birth of twins, that was earlier preceded by the birth of prince Ssemakookiro, the King deemed it appropriate to relieve Mugema of this role. This prompted the Nnaabagereka to declare the birth of the twins herself something that didn’t go down well with Kasujju.
Twins in Buganda
Kasujju Lubinga argues that since no traditional norms and rituals were performed on the twins, thus the twins don’t belong to the King. This is a wrong assumption because very many roles that are supposed to be done by the king’s subjects by particular clansmen at the palace, are no longer performed simply because the King’s palace is now a no go area by everyone.
Unlike the Ibo of Nigeria before the advent of Christianity, who used to perform rituals on twins in the wilderness and leave them there for wild animals to devour, because they believed that they were a curse, in Buganda, twins were believed to be an extraordinary blessing to its family. Up to date when a woman gives birth to twins, a several family members get titles. The mother gets the title of Nnalongo, the father becomes Ssalongo, the predecessor child to the twin regardless of gender is named Kingongo while the follower of twins, also regardless of gender is named Kizza. The twins themselves, the first male or female twin is named Wasswa or Babirye while the second male or female twin is named Kato or Nakato respectively.
For an ordinary Muganda, when his wife bore twins, he was required to climb atop of his house roof and shout announcements declaring that twins are born in his house. Because of the prestigious position the Baganda used to attach to twins in society, if twins were born of a needy family with lack of food, the mother was at liberty to go and reap food from neighbour’s gardens without any hindrance and feed the twins. In line with this a saying was coined that “Bakinaanise akyagala muk’omubbi okuzaala abalongo” A fortune has been bestowed onto a thief’s wife because twins are born to her.