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AbaiseMenhya are descendants of a common ancestor Kakaire Menhya. Kakaire Menhya was a son of the Bunyoro Kitara monarch King Kyebambe Nyamutukura. In the Middle Ages, Bunyoro Kitara was one of the largest interlacustrine kingdoms of Sub Saharan Africa whose founders had emigrated from Kushitic regions like the Iron Smelting Meroe, near Lower Egypt, Abyssinia and Sudan, they were called the Chwezi/Suezi (as in Suez canal of current Egypt). The Chwezi replaced the ancient Tembuzi (or Wanderors) whose place in history is almost mythological but are described to have possessed a Giant like morphology. 


 

According to the late Prime Minister of Bunyoro Kingdom Peter Bikunya in 1924; in his book Ky'Abakama ba Bunyoro (London, 1927), he explains that the first King of Bunyoro King Rukidi was one day having a conversation with his twin brother Kato (both sons of an Acholi woman Natoro/Natolo/Nyatworo and the last Chwezi-Nyoro Crown Prince Asingwa/Kyomya). Kato Kimera spoke some words and the first Bito King Rukidi interrupted him, a royal courtier called Nakoka, said to to Rukidi/Lukedi, "You Lukedi, you frequently interrupt your freinds", which in Lunyolo is as follows "Nawe Lukedi ogwera munno ebigambo".  From then on, the two brothers were called Abagweri and they are the first Bagweri (the interrupters of words), the royal house of Bugweri was then started. And up to this current day one of the royal clans within Bunyoro Kingdom is called Abagweri. There is also a place in present day Bunyoro called Bugweri. DNA examinations of the Y-Chromosmes have indicated a close match between the genes of AbaiseMenhya and the ruling Babito Dynasty of present day Bunyoro. Sir James Frazer in his book Totemism and Exogamy clearly depicts that upto the current day there is a royal Bito clan in Bunyoro Kingdom called AbaGweri. The Y-Chromosme is the the gene passed from father to son and is inherent in patrilineal descendants of a common ancestor. The Busoga constitution states the heriditary Chiefs eligible for Kyabazingaship (i.e. Kingship of Busoga) should be those who are descendants of the Bunyoro royal Bito dynasty.
 
In the 18th Century, Prince Kakaire visited an ancient independent nation state in Busoga that was governed by King Musuubo. This was around the time Buganda was being ruled a ruthless Kabaka (King) called Tebuchwereke.
On that visit he was accompanied by brothers;

  • Okali ( who founded the Royal Lineage in Bukooli and dethroned the Bukoli King at the time - who subjected his subjects to torturous forms of  submission as he tried to emulate Tebuchwereke),

  • Magoola who was elderly and died in Bunyoro

  •  Ndhoki (who founded the Royal Lineage of Bugwere),

  • Kiswiriri,

  • Kirunda, and

  • Nyende,

sisters;

  • Kitimbo (who married Okali) and

  • Kaghaaga

son:

  • Kirunda

as well as many soldiers, some Bunyoro clans that ( that were not of royal stock) comprised his entourage from Bunyoro to Bugweri included:

  • abaiseKyewe,

  • abaiseMukuve (these are of the Guinea Fowl),

  • the abaiseIbinga

  • and many others.

They travelled by canoes from Bunyoro over Lake Kyoga/Albert/Lwitamakoli and landed at Iyingo harbour. Some of the trees that they used as their paddles turned into Mivule trees that can be witnessed by locals till the present day. 


I have been informed by some of my European and North American freinds  here in North America, who lived in Bunyoro and have witnessed certain kinds of trees along the shores of Lake Kyoga in Masindi  town of Bunyoro suddenly starting to grow into trees long after they have been felled and have become dry. After they left Irundu which borders Bulamogi and Bugabula, they travelled to Busiki at Kasedhere. They rested there but from there they saw the hills of Bukooli and Bugweri. They left this place with their group and passed through Wangobo (which was to become part of Bunyoro but was later usurped by Bukoli), they crossed the River Igobero and entered current Bugweri through Idudi. They proceeded to Mbulamuti and Kakaire built an embuga (Palace) there. Later that mbuga was rembered by all the Menhya's and each Menhya has rebuilt it to remember the original one.

 

From here, they went to Bunalwenhyi on a hill called Lwino, here they left their belongings and went to a hilled called Lughalambago which is in present day Bukhooli. From here, they saw the lake. They asked the people they found in the country "Which country is better to live in?". The people told them the best place is Bukoghe. The abaiseIbinga (binga means "chase away"or "fend off") were the royal bodyguards to Kakaire and his people. Later Okali separated and went to Bukoli where he established the present day royal dynasty of that area, he returned to marry Kakaire's sister Kitimbo from whom he betrothed a daughter Kagoya. Kakaire was upset with this incest and banished him. His other brother Ndhoki too, separated and went to Budaka, he first landed at Nabowa from Budaka he estabilished the royal dynasty of Bugwere. Bugwere is a different entity from Bugweri but the two were ruled by royal siblings. Bugwere in the current day Bukedi is where Ndhoki a royal descendant of King Rukedi (or Rukidi) established his royal dynasty.


At Bukoghe, Prince Kakaire was satisfied with a strategic hill Nabuyandha-Ikonero and established his Mbuga there. He also eastablished mbuggas at Ikonero, Mbulamuti, Wangobo and another one near Bulange. At Bukoghe he had sons:

  • Menhya,

  • Koteka(whom he appointed the Duke of Bukoteka),

  • Lubugo (whom he appointed the Duke of Busesa),

  • Kasinda(whom he appointed the Duke of Businda it has been presently renamed Nakiumbi),

  • Mulondo and

  • Ndhoga(whom he appointed the Duke of Buyoga), .

After a while, he wished to go back to Bunyoro but the natives of the precursor of the Bufulutu Kingdom begged him to stay.
They had admired his very humble and generous manners whenever his servants hunted game, he distributed it to the natives.
His characteristics had endeared him to the locals more so the fact that he used to generously mediate their wrangles whenever they disputed over the meat he had given them. He would often calm them and tell them they need not fight as he would give them more.
 
As a Munyoro with royal guards this was easy for him. Because the Banyoro had mastered more Iron Smelting and hunting techiniques using spear heads cast out of iron. He established his palace (mbuga) at Bukoghe. Some locals mistakenly mistook his sister Kaghaaga for his wife. Some sources claim that Kaghaaga was a wife he came with from Bunyoro and hailed from the Abopi clan in Bunyoro, her clansmates that accompanied her into Bugweri were to be known as abaiseMbubi (of the Giraffe Tortem). Up to now it is said the spears he came with including the chief spear can still be seen at his mbuga in Wangobo.

What made him more likeable to them is that their King Musuubo Kizenguli who palace was at Buzenguli was so lazy and would often prefer to spend all day on a swing and being swung. Hence his name Musuubo which means "the one who loves to be swung" in Lusoga. Kizenguli also comes from the root of the word kwezingulula meaning to turn over and over.
 
They begged him to stay so that he could lead and reconcile them as he often did as a visitor whenever they had disputes and they were also impressed that his was a Chwezi-Bito prince.. They consquently deposed their Monarch Musuubo and installed him as their Menhya - meaning King.
The title Menhya had been coined because the locals said he had broken away from his father's kingdom and formed his own. The word Menhya comes from the Lusoga word "Oku Menhyeka" which means "To Break Away". They married him to one of the local young ladies Nakaziba of the BaiseKaziba clan. This marriage dealt a heavy political blow to the BaiseMusubo dynasty as it also sealed support of an influential clan that was native to Bugweri, it weakened the power and influence of the BaiseMusubo in Bugweri. As he aged they would muse themselves that "Kano akasadha kakairike". Which can be translated as "This man has gotten old". Hence they eventually called him Kakaire. His brother Ndhoki with whom he had come is said to have moved further east wards and formed atleast two new Kingdoms in the east one the possibly Bugwere whose name is similar to Bugweri and another one among the Jie or Jo' Okoch Luos where the name Omenya was adopted by the locals there to this day.
Muwoya the son of Ndhoki inherited his father on the Bugwere throne. Up to this day the Bugweri and Bugwere royal families bear alot of physical resemblance and share similar surnames.
Nakaziba had begotten him sons among whom one was to be nicknamed Kibeedi. They nicknamed him so because he was well fed as a baby and even in his adulthood, was big and often lifted had to be lifted in a litter known in Lusoga as "eKibedi". So he was known as the "King who travels by use of a litter" i.e. Menhya oweKibedi. The name was later shortened to its present form Menhya Kibedi. Kibeedi comes from the Lusoga word "Oku Beedha" meaning to be lifted "Ki" is a Lusoga term denoting a big thing. All the names of the BaiseMenhya royals are often deduced from stories and especially nick names as you will observe.  Upon his birth Kakaire had pronounced him the Crown Prince who would succeed him upon his death.


 

One day, Kakaire wanted to expand his palace and went to get some decorative materials from his palace at Wangobo, while there he suddenly fell dead. Although, Wangobo is currently part of Bukhooli up to this present day it is ruled by Menhya princes. When Kakaire died... there was a custom that when a big chief dies, women sit side by side and they unfold their legs (okwandhala). The body of the chief would then lie on the legs of the wives for four days. The body of Kakaire remained on the legs of his wives for four days. On the fifth day it was put in the grave. It was in the grave for three days. On the fourth they were going to cover it with earth, they were many people present, at noon a whirlwind came it caused much dust. By the time the wind ceased and the dust cleared for people to see, they saw Kakaire's body being carried and floating away with the wind. They consulted oracles as was the common practice then who told them that body was going back to  his father Mukama (king of Bunyoro) at Bukama in Bunyoro. Next morning they realized the body had been mysteriously replaced by a rock with four sides which can still be seen up to today. The oracles told them that Kakaire had sent a rock in his place. The spears that he came with from Bunyoro can still be seen in this grave which is reverred up to today. Hence forth the Bagweri did not want to bury their Menhyas. 
 
Upon the death of his father Kibedi was still to young to ascend to the Throne at the capital in Bukoghe:

  • so his paternal uncle Kiswiriri became the Menhya,

  • Kiswiriri died and was succeeded by Kirunda

  • When Kirunda died he was succeeded by Nhyende

  • When Nhyende died he was succeeded by Mulondo

  • When Mulondo died Kibedi had come of age and was crowned the new Menhya and was hence called Kibedi Menhya,  the royal line that had come from Bunyoro continued its new small but heriditary independent nation state.  Kibedi Menhya was a very fat man and his litter "eKibedi" had to be lifted by twelve to fifteen men at a time.

At Buwongo,Menhya Kakairehad established his headquarters in a naturally occuring rock formation, that the Creator, had modelled into a natural wonder that comprised of:

  • a gate that could open and close automatically,

  • a platform,

  • a conference theatre with chair like stones that the audience sat on while Menhya held court, and a roof made out of rock. This is also the place where important coronation ceremonies took place and it is believed that if a none MwiseMenhya passed through certain royal gates supernatural forces would cause his/her demise. It is a Unique wonderment that should be turned into a UNESCO World Heritage site.

  • a Throne on which the Menhya would sit, while beside him was seated his sister the Lubuga.


Kibedi Menhya was a well loved and respected in Bugweri and surrounding Kingdoms including Bunyoro, leaders and ordinary people travelled far and wide to seek his wise counsel and judgement. Each day, he held court for about two hours after which he fed his visitors. Kibedi had about fifty sons, some of whom were:

  • Wanume Namughaya (whom he appointed the Duke of Kighani to Busembatia). The whole dukedom of Busembatia are descendants of Wanume. Wanume was also the father of Wangubo who had sons, Mulanga, Butaba and Menhya Nkutu. Menhya Nkutu was:

  • the father of Kirunda Kiyuba, Kirunda Kiyuba was the father of Mukama the Grand Duke of Nakibembe. Mukama was the father of:

  • Dhakaba Wangubo. Chief Dhakaba's was Grand Duke of Buyanga and had about one hundred sons and daughters as well as thousands of grand children. His fast son Duke Haji Yunus Nkutu was the father to Mr. Nassor Kirunda Nkutu, who is the father of the author.

  • Ausi Kirunda who was the father of former Minister and UPC Chairman Late Shaban Kirunda Nkutu.

  • the father of Nhyende whose

  • son Menhya ZirabaMuzale is the father of the current Menhya Kakaire II, having suceeded his father.

  • daughter Menhya ZirabaMuzale Beatrice is the former Minister for Luwero

  • the Grand father of Muwaabe who is the grand father of Kirunda Kiveindha the Deputy Prime Minister of Uganda

  • the father of princes at Bufulutu near Igombe, Bigabaga, Namakunhyu and many other counties.

  • Nalugoda who produced sons to fill up Nawansega to Butyabule.

  • Ntende the father or princes of Butende

  • Kibenge the father of princes of Bubenge.

  • Obira the father of princes of Buyende.

Kibedi Menhya reigned for a long time, when he died he was succeeded by Nalugoda who was succeeded by Wanume. When Wanume died he was succeeded by Wangubo who after his death he was succeeded by Menhya Nkutu. On Nkutu's death he was succeeded by his Kirunda ( he was later called Kirunda Kiyuba). On his death he was succeeded by PrinceKakaire Naigambi his son. When he died he was succeeded by Prince Munulo as the new Menhya. Menhya Munulo was the first reigning monarch in Uganda to be circumcised inspite of bitter opposition from Bugweri royals. It was taboo for a reigning monarch to be circumcised. Bugweri rebelled against him and a civil war was started. A civil war broke out in the southern parts of Bugweri. Many people died because River Naigombwa was over flooded
. He was captured by the colonialists under the orders of Grant at taken to Busoga Colonial headquarters' prison in Bukaleba. Another prince Nkolo became Menhya. In 1906 he lost money from tax and was discharged by the colonial government who then insituted Nuwa Mwanga a mwiseIwumbwe from Luuka. Mwanga was a Prime Minister in his native Luuka in the service of Tabingwa Inhyensiko Nabwana. In 1919, after Mwanga had served as Menhya, Prince Kibedi Zirabamuzale the son of Prince Nhyende and grand son of  Menhya Nkutu was appointed as Menhya by the Bugweri Supreme Council under the auspices of Muwaabe who was acting as Chief Regent in the time Munulo was suffering tribulations.

As we know today its not size that governs statehood, it is sovereignity and independence. That's why in the UN the President of a large and populous nation like the US sits at an equal level with the King of Tonga or President of  Rwanda which are very small in size and population and are almost similar to Bugweri in size. So the notion that Busoga was subdivided into Principalities before Colonialism as is often denoted is intellectual dishonesty and down right scathing broad day light bigotry that is not universal to all the nation states that compose the current Busoga. The truth was that some were Principalities but others as in the case of Bugweri were fully fledged nation states independent and sovereign. Bugweri suffered four major setbacks from external forces:
 

  • two from Buganda

    • when King Suna the father of King Mutesa I dispatched an army that invaded the palace of Wangubo and killed him

    • another when King Mutesa I dispatched an army led by Mandwambi to invaded the palace of Menhya Nkutu at Mulanga and killed him. Mandwambi was the ruthless hatchet man of King Muteesa he was so unpopular and disliked in Buganda itself, that even when Mutesa wanted to appoint him Prime Minister, the Queen mother advised him against it, he consquently appointed him Sekibobo/Governer of his eastern most province closest to Busoga, Kyaggwe. Mandwambi was to later be killed by Baganda muslims during the religous turmoil in Buganda. The raiding party from Buganda, after killing Menhya Nkutu, also burnt destroyed royal regalia that included Kakaire Menhya's communication equipment in form of a very large and tall drum which was destroyed by one Muganda called Mupere. Menhya Nkutu is known to have been the first Bugweri sovereign to marry a Muganda woman and it is widely claimed that although Menhya Nkutu was a well known military strategist the Baganda exploited their connection to his wife who betrayed him.

  • Another was during the reign of Menhya Munulo who had turned into a Muslim by Arabs was circumsized by a Muganda Yusuf Luzige one of the many refugees in his Palace at Mulanga exiled from Buganda's religious wars. Munulo did not recognize British colonial rule. The British colonialists under Grant were threatened by him and exiled him 1897 to Mombasa in Kenya where he died. Prior to his exile, Predominantly Muslim southern Sudanese (Nubians) soldiers that acted as mercineries to the British Colonialists and helped entrenched Colonialism in Uganda had mutineed against the British and killed many of them at Bukaleeba (at Fort Thurston)a colonial post in Busoga overseen by Grant. During this mutiny they chanced upon a Musoga Royal Menhya Munulo whom they crowned and declared him briefly the King of All of Busoga especially when they discovered his was a fellow muslim. The British quickly quelled the mutiny, dethroned Munulo and subsuently exiled him.

  • The last one was under President Milton Obote who abolished all forms of hereditary rule in Uganda in 1967 as he was moving Uganda into leftist socialism. Obote was deposed by President Idi Amin on January 26 1971. Idi Amin did not re-instate hereditary rule. Idi Amin was overthrown on April 11th 1979. After President Museveni claimed power in 1986, he started the re-establishment of hereditary leadership but only conferred upon them ceremonial and traditional roles and stripped them of executive powers.

After Munulo was exiled the Protestant British Colonialists were determined to deminish the influence of Muslim rulers in Busoga and elsewhere in Buganda. Although they helped craft a Busoga Kingdom that was a federation of previous Principalities and Nation States, they were careful to throw their weight behind Protestant Royals of Bugabula and Bulamogi. In the new Busoga constituion five royal families including that of Menhya was identified as the ones that would produce the Kyabazinga (King) for the new Kingdom. This was so because these were the families that were direct descendants of the Bunyoro Royal family and thus composed the Busoga Royal Council. Later, after President Museveni re-instated Kingdoms, this council was expanded to eleven to include other hereditary chiefdoms that did not emanate from Bunyoro.

During Munulo's exile, Muwabe, the grand father of Uganda's current Third Deputy Prime Minister Kirunda Kivejinja, was chosen as the Chief Regent of Bugweri. He appointed Prince Zirabamuzale Yekonia (the son of Prince Nyende, Nyende was the son of Menhya Kirunda and Menhya Kirunda was the son of Menhya Nkutu), to be the Menhya of Bugweri. Menhya Zirabamuzale was the father of the current Menhya Fred Kakaire, he was educated and had acted as interpreter to the British Colonialists, the way Kenyatta was in Kenya. His legacy as Menhya of Bugweri was outstanding as he was a brilliant administrator who promoted Education in Bugweri among the royals and non-royals as well as boosted the economy of Busoga when he worked both as a Saza Chief and later Secretary General of Busoga a post that time which was equivalent to the present day Prime Minister of Busoga. He was also a member of the East African Legislative Council as one of the few blacks in it. One of the most wealthy black Ugandans at the time and married one of the daughters of the King of Buganda, Princess Kaana. He was respected by the colonialists and King Chwa of Buganda who as well gave him Mailo land near his palace in Mengo. Mailo land allotments were a very strict preserve for Buganda's elite and aristocrats the fact that this land was adjoining Buganda's most revered royal palaces and precincts denotes the close connection he enjoyed with King Chwa the grandson of King Mutesa I and the grand father of the present King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi of Buganda.
 

Bugweri also experienced a princely revolt by Prince Kakaire Nandigobe who later called himself Kirunda Kireri and his brother Menhya Kirunda who later called himself Kiyuba Kighooma Maidha had a conflict after their father Menhya Nkutu had been killed during a suprise military raid ordered by King Mutesa I of Buganda ( the sun is pleasant and beautiful at sunrise but blazing at noon and every one is scared of it.

as described in a book by Buganda's most famous Prime Minister to King Mwanga and King Chwa, Sir Apollo Kaggwa's Book "BaSsekabaka Ba Buganda". The book was translated into English "The Kings of Buganda" by Ugandas History scholar and well known Minister and Politician Prof. Semakula Kiwanuka

) . Kiyuba (meaning the Sun) , had militarily out manouvered his brother, so one morning he observed a pleasant sunrise, and said "I am like the sun it is so beautiful in the morning and everybody loves it and furious at noon and every is scared of it.". In a battle called the battle of the Hornbill, because of the Hornbill like shape of their military fatigues. He therefore focussed on the furious attibute of the sun and related that is how he reacts to his adverseries. Kakaire Nandigobe described himself as Kireri (meaning the cloud) which had the attribute to shelter (its followers) from the blazing sun. The name Kirunda has roots from the  word "Okulunda" which in English can be translated as "Sheppard" for the two Princes regarded themselves as sheppards of their followers. Kakaire Nandigobe was later able to repulse and anihilate the army of Kirunda Kiyuba, at Namalemba near the present church, and proclaim I am the cloud "Kireri" and I shield my people from the defeated blazing sun.Their father's name Nkutu had be coined from a mole like animal called "Enkweto", The fact that it is slippery and hard to track and capture was symbolic of the military acumen and strategies that he employed during his numerous military expeditions.