The Coronation of Ronald Mutebi II as Kabaka of Buganda in 1993 reinstated a royal line that goes back 600 years in one of the most ancient kingdoms in Uganda. Thirty years previously President Obote had overthrown the kingdom and Ronald Mutebi II’s father, Kabaka Mutesa II who, with his family were exiled to England.
Over 20,000 subjects attended the coronation ceremonies at the Royal Mound at Buddo Hill, south of Kampala, where all kings in Baganda history were crowned. The ceremony marking the restoration of the royal family featured both the traditional coronation followed by a more contemporary crowning ceremony.
At dawn on the coronation day the royal traditional rituals began. Brandishing sugar cane spears and banana leaf shields, the thirty-eight-year-old Kabaka and the cultural custodians of the Hill engage in a mock battle. Following the Kabaka’s ‘victory’ he proceeded to a grove of trees and was seated on a traditional throne, a centuries old gnarled root, draped with bark cloth and skins.
The elders of 52 Baganda clans dressed in long white robes prostrated themselves before him, greeting him with respect. After an hour of empowerment rituals, the Buffalo clan bearers hoisted the king, adorned with beaded crown, bark cloth and leopard skins onto their shoulders, and paraded him to the cries “Ono Yekabak Wannwe” or “This is your king”.
For his contemporary coronation, instead of being carried by the Buffalo clan – to protect his feet ever touching the ground – the Kabaka was chauffeured instead in a black limousine. Resplendent in an embroidered red robe and golden crown made especially for the occasion in Saudi Arabia and seated on an elaborate Egyptian throne he was blessed by the Protestant and Catholic Archbishops of Uganda.
President Museveni of Uganda was in place of honour on the dais. it was at his invitation that the Royal Kingdom of Buganda was being reinstalled to unite the clans, to preserve their cultural traditions, and to mobilise self-help projects. As King Ronald Mutebi II said “Blending of ancient and modern is the only way forward.”. His coronation was the perfect illustration of his philosophy.