Buganda Kingdom – and indirectly Uganda State – were both named after a Songora prince named Ganda Warusiri whose palace grounds were used as a staging ground for the supporters of Kimera Kintu Kato in his war against King Bemba Musota of Muwhawha kingdom. Muwhawha [Muwawa in Luganda dialect] was later renamed Buganda with Kimera I Kintu Kato as its first king.
Muwhaha had broken away from Busongora under Kiruru the father of Bemba. Kiruru’s origin is in Kiziba [in Tanzania]. He arrived in what was then Busongora as leader of a large group of people and settled in the Songora province of Muwhawha. When Kiruru died his son Bemba became leader of the migrant KiZiba community and rebelled against Busongora and made Muwhawha independent. Kintu, allegedly a younger son of Kiruru arrived in Bemba’s Muwhawha after sailing north across what is now Lake Victoria.
Kintu was not welcome in Bemba’s Muwhawha so their armies fought… Kintu sought help from Busongora and the Basongora helped – especially the prince Ganda Warusiri [known as Walusimbi among the Baganda]. With the help of Warusiri kintu defeated Bemba, and the Basongora allowed the new king to retain his independence, on condition he would defend Busongora in future wars. Thus Buganda Kingdom was born. Warusiri became head of Buganda’s Ffumbe clan. Incidentally, Warusiri was named for an even more ancient Songora god-king of the same name. The name Warusiri ended up in Swahili as Wazir, and in Egyptian as Ausar, and in Greek as Osiris. More about that in another posting.
Kintu’s reign was great and he was loved by the people. However, he disappeared and the throne was usurped by a courtier named Ssebwana who then exiled Kintu’s son Kalemera. Kalemera made his way to Busongora and found refuge at the palace of a Musongora prince named Rukidi Mpuga the son of King Kyomya III and Queen Nyatooro. Incidentally Nyatooro was the daughter of Prince Nyabongo. Nyabongo was the son of Olimi of Rumbek. Olimi was a Mucwa/Muchwezi – a member of the Basongora royal family. Olimi is also a direct ancestor of President Barack Obama, and founder of every Luo ethnic community in Africa.
Back to the story of the Ganda furgitive prince Kalemera…. now Rukidi Mpuga’s wife was Princess Wanyana, daughter of the late King Buyonga of Busongora. Kalemera had an affair with Wanyana… and she became pregnant and Rukidi got pissed off… and she quit the palace and went back to her father’s palace in what is now Virunga Park in the Congo, where she gave birth to a set of twin boys named Wasswa Kaganda and Kato Kimera. Kalemera was exiled from Rukidi’s palace but he died shortly after as he tried to make his way back to Buganda.
Then… when Rikidi’s father died Rukidi was denied the BuSongora throne, and a prince named Ihiingo from Wanyana’s family became king of Busongora. Rukidi rebelled and a war followed which resulted in the breakaway of the Busongora province of Bunyoro – and thats how Bunyoro became a kingdom with Rukidi as its first king.
Meanwhile, in Buganda the usurper Ssebwana was deposed by Kintu’s friends and they sent message to Busongora asking Wanyana if the sons of Kalemera – that is to say – the grandsons of Kintu, could come to Buganda and take the throne. Wanyana and her sons and an entourage of hundreds of Basongora nobles set off for Buganda. Along the way, Wasswa Kaganda realised that his younger twin Kato Kimera was to be made king. In the traditions of the region, the first-born twin becomes head of the royal clan, while the second-born twin becomes King of the state… Wasswa was not amused.
Wasswa then complains to his mother Wanyana. Wanyana tells him that he should “go break a string off the royal drum” of his step father Rukidi of Bunyoro. Wasswa believes the mother means for him to make his own kingdom out of part of Bunyoro, and so he departs with a division of Basongora troopers and raids Bunyoro… but is unable to defeat Rukidi. However, Wasswa’s troops raid Rukidi’s palace and grab the royal regalia and the royal drum, and break out of Bunyoro with Rukidi’s army in pursuit. Nonetheless, Wasswa’s army escapes, and makes its way to Kiziba in what is now Tanzania, and overthrows the king over there and installs Wasswa Kaganda as king. Incidentally, Kiziba was the original homeland of Kiruru, Bemba and Kintu, the ancestors of Wasswa Kaganda.
In the meantime, Wasswa’s twin arrives in Buganda and becomes King Kimera II Kato, the third king of Buganda. His mother and entourage became the Nsenene [grasshopper] clan of Buganda royals. This clan came about as a result of the fact that Basongora consider it a taboo to eat insects of any kind – whereas among the regular Baganda who arrived from Kiziba, eating ants and grasshoppers is considered normal. The Basongora refused to eat grasshopers, as it is a “muziro” [taboo]. The Kiziba-Baganda simply asumed that the BaSongora didn’t eat the critters out of respect for a totem… and voila! the Basongora in the palace became the “No-Eating-Grasshoppers” clan, then later that simply morphed into the Grasshopper clan.
King Kimera II Kato married the Songora Princess Nakku, daughter of the old Songora prince Ganda Warusiri. Thus began a long and fruitful tradition among Ganda kings of marrying Songora princesses.