By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
Sir Edward Frederick William David Walugembe Mutebi Luwangula Mutesa II (modern spelling: Muteesa) KBE (19 November 1924 – 21 November 1969) was Kabaka of the Kingdom of Buganda in Uganda from 22 November 1939 until his death. He was the thirty-fifth Kabaka of Buganda and the first President of Uganda.
The foreign press often referred to him as King Freddie, a name rarely used in Uganda.
Sir Fredrick Edward Kabaka Mutesa II, was born in the home of Dr. Albert Cook at Makindye Kampala in 1924. The fifth son of the Kabaka Daudi Cwa 11, who reigned between 1897 and 1939.His mother was Lady Irene Drusilla Namaganda, of the Nte clan. He was educated at Kings College Budo, a prestigious school in Uganda.
Upon the death of his father on 22 November 1939, he was elected Kabaka by the Lukiko at the age of 15 and was installed outside the Lubiri at Mengo on 25 November 1939. He reigned under a council of Regents until he came of age and assumed full powers
He attended King’s College Budo before he went to England to complete his education at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he joined the University Officer Training Corps and was subsequently commissioned as a captain in the Grenadier Guards.
Being a prince, from an early age he was taught privately by British teachers how to speak English with an upper-class British accent.
They also taught him English traditions and social mannerism to make him act and behave like a young English gentleman.
The years between 1945 and 1950 saw widespread protests against both the Governor of Uganda’s and Kabaka Mutesa’s governments.
In the early 1950s the British Government floated the idea of uniting British East Africa (Uganda, Kenya and Tanganyika) into a federation. Africans feared that this would lead to their coming under the control of Kenya’s white settler community, as had happened in Rhodesia.
The Baganda, fearing they would lose the limited autonomy they had under British rule, were particularly opposed. Mutesa himself opposed the proposal, and thus came into conflict with the British Governor, Sir Andrew Cohen, prompting the Kabaka crisis.
In 1953, the Lukiiko (Parliament) of Buganda sought independence from Uganda, with Mutesa himself demanding that Buganda be separated from the rest of the protectorate of Uganda and transferred to Foreign Office jurisdiction. Cohen’s response was to depose and exile the Kabaka on 30 November, creating massive protests among the Baganda.
Mutesa’s forced departure made him a martyr in the eyes of the Baganda, whose latent separatism set off a storm of protest. Cohen could find no one among the Baganda willing and able to mobilise support for his schemes.
After two years of unrelenting Ganda hostility and obstruction, Cohen was forced to reinstate “Kabaka Freddie”, who returned to Kampala on 17 October 1955 under a negotiated settlement which made him a constitutional monarch and gave the Baganda the right to elect representatives to the kingdom’s parliament, the Lukiiko.
Mutesa’s standing up to Cohen greatly boosted his popularity in the kingdom.[
In 1962 Uganda became independent from Britain under the leadership of Milton Obote. Under the country’s new constitution, the Kingdom of Buganda became a semi-autonomous part of a new Ugandan federation.
The federal Prime Minister was Obote, the leader of the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), which entered a governing coalition with the dominant Buganda regional party, Kabaka Yekka. The post of Governor-General was abolished with the attainment of republican status and replaced by a non-executive President.
Obote and the UPC reached a deal with Mutesa to support his election to the Presidency of Uganda. In a session of Parliament on 4 October 1963 Mutesa was elected President via secret ballot with the support of over two thirds of the members.
In 1964 the coalition between Mutesa and Obote’s parties collapsed over the imposition, against Mutesa’s will, of a referendum to decide the fate of two “lost counties”. Residents of the two counties voted overwhelmingly in favour of their return from Buganda to Bunyoro. In 1966 Mutesa’s estrangement from Obote merged with another crisis.
Obote faced a possible removal from office by factional infighting within his own party. He had the other four leading members of his party arrested and detained, and then suspended the federal constitution and declared himself President of Uganda in February 1966, deposing Mutesa.
The Buganda regional Parliament passed a resolution in May 1966 declaring that de jure Buganda’s incorporation into Uganda had ended with the suspension of the constitution and requesting the federal government to vacate the capital city, which was in Buganda.
Obote responded with an armed attack upon the King’s palace, sending Mutesa into exile in the United Kingdom via Burundi, and in 1967 a new constitution abolished all of Uganda’s kingdoms, including Buganda
The final years
While in exile, Mutesa wrote an autobiography, The Desecration of My Kingdom
Sir.Edward Mutesa was interviewed in his flat only a few hours before his death by the British journalist John Simpson, who found that he was sober and in good spirits. Simpson reported this to the police the following day on hearing of Mutesa’s death, but this line of inquiry was not pursued.
The president who ordered the state funeral was Idi Amin, who as army commander had led the assault on Mutesa’s palace in 1966. It is said that while in exile in London, King Freddie lived in poverty
He perfectly turned out to be an anglophile who some considered as a perfect Black Englishman.
He was only 15 when his father died and therefore had to come of age before he could ascend to the throne. In November 1942, on his 18th birthday he was crowned as King at Buddo in an elaborate ceremony attended by the Governor.
During this period the British were considering uniting Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania into a federation.
This was greatly opposed by the young King who feared Buganda Kingdom losing its autonomy and the people being subjected to the ruthlessness of Kenya white settlers.
The British soon began seeing him as a barrier to their plans.
To get rid of him temporarily, the Governor convinced him to take up studies at Magdalene College University of Cambridge, where he read history, economics, and law.
In the summer of 1947 while studying in Britain, King George lV commissioned him as a Captain in the elite British Army’s Grenadier Guards.
He recounted in his memoirs how during this meeting at Buckingham Palace, King George VI offered him a cigarette which he was tempted to refuse.
However, after a little contemplation he realized that it was a well-known fact at Cambridge that he was a smoker and to have refused the cigarette from the King would have been hypocritical.
Sir. Edward Mutesa became even more militant on his return from Britain.
In 1953 Edward Mutesa attained international prominence when he opposed the development of Uganda as a unitary state.
He wanted Buganda Kingdom to remain a separate state to be given separate independence within a fixed time.
When he proved difficult to contain, Governor Andrew Cohen exiled him to Britain on Oct. 30, 1953. The British then tried to run Buganda through a regency, but were faced with extreme protests from Buganda.
Twice they were forced to impose a state of emergency on the Kingdom.
Sir. Edward Mutesa was allowed to return to his country on Oct. 7, 1955, by a compromise agreement which fixed Buganda as a province of Uganda and which made the king of Buganda a constitutional monarch with no executive powers.
However Mutesa still continued with his resistance.
Quotes About Mutesa II
“Our way of life has been altered – improved – in external things by the advent of the British, while the basic beliefs and way of life have remained … but the sense of identity is precisely what has remained.”
“I have never been able to pin down precisely the difference between a tribe and a nation and see why one is thought so despicable and the other is so admired.
Whichever we are, the Baganda have a common language, tradition, history and cast of mind. We are proud of them, but not to such an extent that we cannot be friends with – marry if we wish – other people … our pride is legitimate.”
“Mutesa II’s life is a human story – one of a young and ambitious African monarch who struggled to defend the heritage of his forefathers and emancipate his people from the clutches of a powerful imperial authority.”
Apollo N. Makubuya, Reflections on the Triple Heritage of an African King, Knight and President (2019)
“… Many will say that he was ill-advised to put the Illusions of a bygone tribal glory against the claims of a modern African state; but no one can question the devotion with which he spent himself for his people and their well-being.”. Said by Rev. John Taylor, speaking at Mutesa II’s funeral service in 1969.
Mutesa married Lady Damali in 1948. He is said to have fathered many children with her and twelve other women.
Lady Edith Kasozi.
Omubiitokati (Princess) Beatrice Kabasweka, a Mutoro from Toro.
Lady Kate Ndagire. Married in 1950.
Nnaabakyala Sarah Nalule, Omuzaana Kabejja, sister of the Nnabagereka, and daughter of Christopher Kisosonkole of the Nkima clan. Married in 1954.
Lady Nalwooga. She died in 2003.
Lady Naome Nanyonga, of Nsenene clan from Masaka Buddu. Naome Nanyonga was a midwife and is the founder of Sunga Maternity Hospital. She died in 2006.
Lady Margaret Nakato of Nkumba, Busiro County.
Sir.Edward Mutesa 11 is recorded to have fathered at least 12 sons and 9 daughters.
Prince Kiweewa Luswata. The first son of Kabaka Muteesa II. He was born in Wakiso.
He lived and studied in France. He died in the early 1990s and was buried at Kasubi Tombs, Nabulagala.
He worked as a geologist with the Swaziland Department of Geology between 1980 and 1983. He was a lecturer at the Nakawa Vocational School from 1991 until 1992. In 1993, he settled in Canada.
Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, whose mother was Sarah Nalule.
Prince (Omulangira) Ssuuna Frederick Wampamba, whose mother was Edith Kasozi. He was a commissioned 2nd lieutenant in the Uganda Army. He was killed on the orders of Idi Amin at Bombo in 1972. He is buried at the Kasubi Tombs in Nabulagala.
Prince (Omulangira) Henry Kalemeera, whose mother was Damali Nnakawombe. He was educated at King’s College, Buddo and Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. He is an aeronautical engineer. He settled in the United States. Worked or still works as a flight engineer with American Airlines.
Prince (Omulangira) George Michael Ndawula, whose mother was Muzaana Nalwoga.
Prince (Omulangira) Richard Walugembe Bamweyana, whose mother was Sarah Nalule. He was born in 1956, educated at Achimota School, Ghana, and worked in the fashion and advertising industries. He died in the 2000s.
He was buried at Kasubi Tombs in Nabulagala.
Prince (Omulangira) Katabaazi Mukarukidi, whose mother was Damali Nnakawombe. He is an airline pilot in Nigeria.
Prince (Omulangira) Patrick Nakibinge, whose mother was Sarah Nalule. He died in the 2000s and is buried at Kasubi Tombs in Nabulagala.
Prince (Omulangira) Daudi Golooba. He was educated at King’s College Budo and Makerere University. He is an accountant. He is a founding member and chairman of the Buganda Heritage Association of the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland (founded in 1998). He settled in the UK.
Prince (Omulangira) Herbert Kateregga, whose mother was Kaakako Rwanchwende. He settled in the UK.
Prince (Omulangira) Daudi Kintu Wasajja, whose mother was Winifred Keihangwe. He was born in Kampala in May 1966, after his father had left Uganda. He was educated at the University of Nottingham in the UK, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts.
He worked as an executive underwriter for Pan World Insurance Company and as a regional retail manager for Celtel (Uganda) Limited (now Airtel Uganda Limited). He is a member of Buganda Land Board, Kabira Country Club, Hash Harriers Athletic Club, and others. Lives in Kampala.
Princess (Omumbejja) Dorothy Kabonesa Naamukaabya Nassolo, whose mother was Damali Nakawombe. She was born at the Mengo Palace in 1951. She is a graduate of the University of Nairobi. Lives in Kampala.
Princess (Omumbejja) Anne Sarah Kagere Nandawula, whose mother is Kate Ndagire. Born at Mengo in 1951.
Princess (Omumbejja) Catherine Agnes Nabaloga, whose mother was Kate Ndagire. She was installed as the Lubuga at the coronation of her brother Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, the thirty-sixth Kabaka of Buganda, who has reigned since 1993. Princess Nabaloga is the patron of Buganda Heritage Association in Denmark, founded in 1998. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in linguistics.
Princess (Omumbejja) Alice Mpologoma Zaalwango, whose mother was Edith Kasozi. She was born in 1961. She was educated at Gayaza Junior School, Kibuli High School, and Makerere University. She died in Pretoria, South Africa from breast cancer on 23 March 2005. She is buried at Kasubi.
Princess (Omumbejja) Stella Alexandria Sserwamutanda Ndagire. Born in Nairobi, Kenya. Her mother was Zibiah Wangari Ngatho, a Kikuyu.
She was raised in Kampala and Nairobi. Settled in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Princess (Omumbejja) Jane Mpologoma Nabanakulya. Born in Sunga Village, Buyaga County, Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom, on 12 April 1964. Omuzaana Naome Nanyonga was her mother. In 2003, she moved to London, England, where she lives with her husband David Segawa Mukasa.
Princess (Omumbejja) Gertrude Christine Naabanaakulya Tebattagwabwe. Was born at Mengo Hospital on 20 August 1964. Her mother is Margaret Nakato of Nkumba, Busiro County.
Grew up in Uganda until the age of nine, when she relocated to London, England. Studied to become an accountant. Moved back to Uganda in May 2013.
Diana Balizzamuggale Teyeggala. She is the youngest child. She was born in Kampala in October 1966, after her father had gone into exile. Her mother is Catherine Karungu, an Ankole princess. Teyeggala never saw her father alive. She resides in Kampala.