Why Museveni Should Drop The Ssaabalwanyi Title

Ssaabalwanyi Is A Luganda Impolite Or Harsh Word That Doesn't Auger Well With Luganda Usage Which Puts Emphasis On Euphemism To Avoid Applying Embarrassing Words Or Vulgarities.

President Museveni holding hands with wife Janet Museveni during their recent celebration of 50 years of marriage.

Uganda Today: For purposes of clarity, I will first of all define the prefix “Ssaaba” that preceeds titles like Ssaabasajja, Ssaabasumba, Ssaabalabirizi, Ssaabaddikoni etc. from which President Museveni associated his knowledge of the Luganda language to bestow upon himself the Ssaabalwanyi title.

The prefix “Ssaaba” means arch or main in English. That’s why we have words like Archbishop Arch rival etc.

Why Didn’t The Baganda Bestow The Ssaabalwanyi Title To Any Of Their Kabaka?

The word Ssaabalwanyi is a title the earst while Kabakas or the Baganda should have bestowed to any of their Kabaka, but because it is a harsh word associated with war and violence, the Baganda, in consonance with their euphemism, deemed it inappropriate for the Kabaka.

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They instead bestowed upon him a more polite word “Omuteregga” instead of Ssaabalwanyi. But President Museveni most probably, because he wasn’t aware why the Kabaka didn’t carry it, he bestowed upon himself this despicable title Ssaabalwanyi, which means arch fighter, arch worrier or arch war monger. Thus in all intent, the Ssaabalwanyi title doesn’t portray society uprightness standing and dignity. Ssaabalwanyi is one who attains society recognition entirely using “the end justifies the means” system.

This explains why Buganda that was initially comprised of only three counties, Busiro Mawokota and Kyadondo, even after expansion to the present day 18 counties, through wars and annexation, never deemed it appropriate to address their Kabaka as Ssaabalwanyi, because it’s associated with war, violence and destruction of both life and property.

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Had it not been the above reason, there’s no way the Baganda would have discarded the title Ssaabalwanyi for their Kabaka. It should be noted, that almost all the innumerable titles or names for the Kabaka, are meant to portray him above all men in the mundane world.

Baganda and their admirable euphemism

There are several words a Muganda will never mention in public because they are deemed to be vulgar and demeaning or they are associated with embarrassment and violence which they abhor to the extreme. Ssaabalwanyi is one of those words.

One can hardly hear usage of many Luganda vulgar words for a penis, Virgina, arse or prat, faeces, farting etc. They all have indirect words like Akasolo for penis, Buwala for Virgina, Amakugunyu for arse or prat and Bbi for faeces okwoonoona or okufuuwa for farting. The above Luganda jargons have unmentionable vulgar words which can’t be applied in Luganda public usage under all circumstances.

What baffles human nature, is that although these vulgar words are hardly mentioned, some how they get to be passed on from generation to generation. However, although Ssaabalwanyi isn’t vulgar, it’s not only a harsh embarrassing word, but in no small measure, it’s associated with war and violence.


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Chris Kato

Uganda Today is a source of analytical, hard and entertaining news for audiences of all categories in Uganda and internationally. Uganda Today cut its teeth in Ugandan media industry with its print copies hitting the streets in October 2014. We are heavily indebted to all our publics and stakeholders who support our cause in one way or the other. To comment on our stories, or share any news or pertinent information, please follow us on: Facebook: Uganda Today Twitter: @ugtodaynews WhatsApp:+256 702 239 337 Email: ugandatodayedition@gmail.com Website: https://www.ugandatoday.co.ug

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