Kyabazinga of Busoga

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The Isebantu Kyabazinga or Kyabazinga of Busoga is the ruler of the Kingdom of Busoga in Uganda. Isebantu means "father of the people."[1] This name was a symbol of unity derived from the expression and recognition by the people of Busoga that their leader was the "father of all people who brings all of them together", and who also serves as their cultural leader. Some changes to the constitution removed the term limits, which allows Nadiope to rule for life. Traditionally, the Kyabazinga throne rotates between chiefs in a timely election of the Lukiiko. The queen consort to the Kyabazinga is known as Inhebantu. Since 2014, the Kyabazinga has been William Gabula Nadiope IV, though the positition is contested.


Before Europeans came to Busoga, the Basoga organized themselves into 11 hereditary chiefdoms; with five of the leaders tracing their ancestry directly from Bunyoro, and the other six tracing their origins from Buganda. There was no king, although the chiefs often met and discussed issues of common interest. When they met, the chiefs would select a chairperson from among themselves to chair the session. They often met in Bukaleeba in Bunya (modern-day Mayuge District). In 1894, the Colonial administrator, William Grant, picked and formed a native chief's council (the Lukiiko of Busoga) under his chairmanship. Later, Semei Kakungulu, a Muganda, was brought in to make the chief's council conform to colonial rule. In 1905, with his efforts frustrated by internal bickering, he was dismissed. The eleven chiefs were asked to select from among themselves someone to represent their interests at the seat of the colonial government which was based in Bugembe, in modern-day Jinja District. At first the title of the leader of the group was referred to as "Chairman", which later changed to "President". Then the chiefs coined the title to Kyabazinga in 1939.[2]

The Kyabazinga of Busoga was abolished in 1967 when Milton Obote, the President of Uganda, disbanded all traditional institutions within the country. The Kyabazinga was restored with the restoration of traditional institutions in 1993 and Busoga re-crowned Henry Wako Muloki on 11 February 1995.[1]

Muloki died on 1 September 2008. Since his death, the throne has been contested between Isebantu Edward Columbus Wambuzi Zibondo XIII, and William Wilberforce Kadhumbula Gabula Nadiope IV.[3] On 31 October 2008, Wambuzi was declared the winner of an election which was immediately challenged by chief Fred Menhya Kakaire. Though the challenge was unsuccessful, "Prince Wambuzi was never recognised by the courts and government and was, therefore, never enthroned, creating an eight-year vacuum".[3] Gabula was formally elected on 23 August 2014[3] and crowned on 13 September.[4] Wambuzi accuses Gabula of fraudulently attaining the throne, and then dubiously changing the Busoga constitution in November 2017.

The eleven Busoga chiefdoms[edit]

As of March 2015, the following is the list of the names of the eleven Busoga Chiefs.[2][5]

List of Busoga Chieftaincies and Current officeholders
Rank Chieftaincy Title of Chieftain Name of Current Chief
1 Bugabula The Gabula of Bugabula William Gabula Nadiope IV - Current Kyabazinga
2 Bugweri The Menha of Bugweri Samuel Nkuutu Menha
3 Bukholi The Wakholi of Bukholi David Kaunhe Wakholi
4 Bukono The Nkono of Bukono Samuel Kamaga Nkono
5 Bulamogi The Zibondo of Bulamogi Edward Colombus Wambuzi
6 Bunhole The Nanhumba of Bunhole John Ntale Nanhumba
7 Bunya The Luba of Bunya Haji Juma Luba Munuulo
8 Busiki The Kisiki of Busiki Yekoniya Isiko Kisiki
9 Butembe The Ntembe of Butembe Yasin Ntembe Waguma
10 Kigulu The Ngobi of Kigulu Patrick Izimba Gologolo Ngobi
11 Luuka The Tabingwa of Luuka Wellington Nabwana Tabingwa


The Kyabazingaship in Busoga is an elected post. The Kyabazinga was initially chosen from among the five hereditary chiefs who trace their ancestry directly from Bunyoro-Kitara. Busoga's constitution has been modified to allow all 11 hereditary chiefs to stand for election as Kyabazinga.

As of May 2018, the post is elected for life, which has been the case since November 2017.[6] However, between 1993 and 2000,[7] and for the 2014 election,[8] under Articles 6 and 8 of the Busogan constitution, appointments were for five years only.

List of Kyabazingas of Busoga[edit]

List of the Kyabazingas of Busoga
Rank Name of Kyabazinga Reign
1 Ezekiel Tenywa Wako[2] 1939 – 1949
2 William Wilberforce Nadiope II 1949 – 1955
3 Henry Wako Muloki[1] 1955 – 1967
0 Interregnum 1967 – 1995
3 Henry Wako Muloki 1995 – 2008
4 Wilberforce Gabula Nadiope IV 2014 – present


  1. ^ a b c Bita, George (14 September 2008). "Life And Times of Wako Muloki". New Vision (Kampala). Archived from the original on 2 September 2008. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Imaka, Isaac (2 June 2014). "Busoga's Search for A Kyabazinga". Daily Monitor (Kampala). Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Mufumba, Isaac (13 September 2015). "A year after Gabula's installation, Prince Wambuzi remains". Daily Monitor. Retrieved 28 May 2018. 
  4. ^ Ssentamu, Saleh (23 August 2014). "William Gabula IV Elected Kyabazinga". Uganda Radio Network. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Tom Gwebayanga, and Donald Kiirya (26 August 2014). "Gabula: Kyabazinga Ayise Mu Ttanuulu Y'anaagatta Obusoga (Gabula: The Kyabazinga Who Has Gone Through Fire Will Be The One To Unite Busoga)". (Luganda). Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Wafula, Philip; Okeya, Moses (21 November 2017). "Rival Kyabazinga unaware of Gabula's move to rule for life". Daily Monitor. Retrieved 28 May 2018. 
  7. ^ Banalya, John (18 September 2014). "On Kyabazinga of Busoga Election". New Vision (Kampala). Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Nadiope amends constitution, becomes Kyabazinga for life". Edge. 21 November 2017. Retrieved 28 May 2018. 

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