From the earliest times in the history of Buganda, there has always been a king (kabaka) with despotic powers. The first king of Buganda was Kintu. He had a wife called Nambi Nantutululu and with him the history and development of the country are bound up.
The coronation ceremony that brings about the king is held at Naggalabi-Buddo hill in Busiro county, because it is here that Kintu (the first Kabaka) won his brother Bemba in a battle. So, every time there is a coronation ceremony of the King, Buganda celebrates Kintu’s victory over Bemba. This ceremony has got different sacred customs, rituals and norms that a prince (king to be) goes through before he is declared the king by Ssemanobe. Among the different customs performed include, but not limited to; the cultural battle called ‘Birumbirumbi’, the cultural bathing of the prince, the ceremony of “eating Buganda”, the carrying of the king shoulder high, the unveiling of the king to the public… among others. After performing all these customs, the then prince is declared a king of Buganda.
During the coronation ceremony of Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II on 31st July 1993, this event was held at the same place and was attended by tens of thousands of the people.
The coronation ceremony is headed by a cultural chief ‘SSEMANOBE’ and he is the chief care taker of Naggalabi hill. Ssemanobe is from the Mamba Namakaka clan, and this position is hereditary.
Among the key cultural places at Naggalabi include;
- Buganda house; a house for the prince spends a number of days (in the past it would take the king 18 days in the same house) as he is being prepared, and nobody in the area is to touch a woman until the king completes those days. This period is called “Enaku z’obwerinde” (days of tension).
- Bwanika house; the house where the prince goes for secret sacred rituals but before entering, he undertakes a ritual cleansing bath, called “Akogero”
- Magato; at this place, he is strapped with traditional sandals which depict that his feet are ready to take on duty.
- Nakibuuka; more rituals are performed here as well and the King id finally crowned and declared a king.
- Mboneredde tree; this is one of the oldest trees that the country prides in. This tree is believed to have been used by Kabaka Kintu as his court, and here, during the sessions, those proved guilty pleaded for mercy and to be given a second chance saying “Mboneredde” meaning, I have learnt my lesson, thus giving the tree its name
The coronation ceremony is a series of events that take place in a couple of days.