1. Identity

I believe identity is critical to survival. A people that wants to survive the global erosions of culture, democracy and unity of purpose must ensure that it resists the tendency to devalue its past, values, virtues, and interconnections to its environment historically, biologically, culturally, ecologically, ethically, spiritually and morally.

Perhaps not Clan system in Uganda is undergoing erosion as that of Busoga amidst debilitating poverty and misgovernance. Busoga is unique in the world because its people are the most clanned in the whole world. Of the 6000 clans, Busoga has nearly 300 clans through which its people practice spirituality, ecology, belonging and even development, transformation, and progress.

Many clans of Busoga are losing their land and important sacred sites, and even burial grounds that have stood the test of time to land-grabbing vandals. The majority of these were nomadic pastoralists belonging to the pastoral nomadic human energy system. They more or less behaved like the migratory, wildebeest, belonging to the grazing system between Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Reserve and Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, seeking food security and water security. They are attached to the cow and by extension to the grass; not directly to the land.

2. Nomadic Pastoralists

The people belonging to the pastoral nomadic energy system traditionally were integral to a grazing system in the Western Rift Valley, which stretched all the way from Ethiopia down to Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania. Studies have confirmed that when they immigrated some of them extended their grazing system farther down to Zambia and Namibia, migrating from one place to another with their cattle, which they considered more of gold than Gold itself. These people are today called the Hima and Tutsi.

The Hima and Tutsi belonged and still belong to the same ethnicity. There have been repeated claims that the rulers of Rwanda and Uganda are keen at reconstituting the ancient grazing system and extending it even into and over the lands of the traditionally settled Bantu, Luo, and other ethnic groups in Uganda and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo where a people of Tutsi ethnicity live in the Mulenge area in and around Goma, and called Banyamulenge.

One school of thought argues that the plot to annex lands for an extended grazing system is politically and ethnically motivated. They claim that the aim is to expand and extend, especially Tutsi hegemony throughout the whole of the Great Lakes region by re-establishing and extending their grazing system to other countries and/or indigenous lands.   Also, according to this school of thought is that they do not only want to reestablish and extend their ancient grazing system but also to capture States, resources and economic and social factors in the whole of the Great Lakes region, the way they have done in Uganda and Rwanda.

Another parallel school of thought argues that since the pastoral nomadic Hima and Tutsi are vigorously converting themselves into modern-day settlers, farmers, ranchers, property owners and industrialists, taking advantage of the political power they jointly captured in Uganda and Rwanda, they want to be the dominant group in the whole of the Great Lakes region under what is being repeatedly stated by numerous indigenous groups as a Hima-Tutsi dynasty.

This means that through time, the people of the pastoral nomadic energy system now unswervingly holding the instruments of power in Rwanda and Uganda want to possess all the land in the Great Lakes region to which they have never belong historically, biologically, ecologically, culturally, ethically, morally and spiritually, with all the resources in their hands.

In Uganda, a constitution was designed under the dominance of the nomadic pastoralists of Western Uganda, power was not only concentrated in the hands of the President but also the President was cushioned from criminal proceedings while in power, the resources underground were constitutionally grabbed to be owned by the nomads in power, and even the aboveground resources could be easily accessed and exploited by the nomads in power or those of their kind connected to them. To place the indigenous peoples under constant fear and disable them in terms of civic action, many obnoxious laws, including the Sectarianism Law and Terrorism Law were enacted by Parliament. Besides offices such as those of resident commissioners and police commanders were disoriented to be used to control and manage the thoughts, movements, and actions of the citizens. Many people who are resident commissioners, police commanders and army commanders are connected to the people in power.

In the process, the people of power are disconnecting whole communities from the land and natural resources for themselves in the fashion of “We are the only ones that matter in Uganda, Rwanda and the Great Lakes region”. In Uganda, there are outcries in every region of land being grabbed and people forced to leave it, often under gunpoint.

3. Potential and Actual Conflict Hotspots in Uganda

Unfortunately, this governance attitude is causing potential and actual conflict hotspots, especially in Uganda, where at least three ethnicities, several indigenous groups and numerous clans exist, until recently, firmly connected to the land. They have dispossessed and displaced numerous whole communities and clans and captured their natural resources for themselves through deceptive land purchases. As I write this article, the people from of Northern Uganda (West Nile, Acholi, and Lango) are united in demanding that the marauding pastoral nomads with guns who illegally occupied their land vacate with immediate effect, and in accordance with an Executive Order, that they do so.

Busoga in the Equation of Tutsi Pastoral Nomads

Busoga once hosted numerous Rwandese Tutsis with their cattle following sociopolitical chaos and collapse in the 20th Century. It was not surprising that when Tibuhaburwa Museveni (then called Yoweri Museveni) started his military onslaught against Idi Amin in the early 1970s, as Front for National Salvation (FRONASA), he concentrated his activities in present-day Mayuge District where there was a big population of migrant Tutsi refugees. Years later, as National Resistance Army (NRA) he concentrated his resistance to Obote and Tito Okello armies in the Luwero Triangle of Buganda which covered 22 Districts in which there were large concentrations of Tutsi refugees and some Burundian refugees.

Although the majority of Basoga lived amicably with the nomads and frequently trusted them with their own cattle, it was not unusual for the nomads to disappear with cattle which was entrusted to them. For example, in the early 1960s my own father, Charles Afunaduula Ovuma Ngobi Isabirye lost 8 cows to a Tutsi herdsman who decided to migrate away from Nawaka at night never to be seen again. However, it is the people of Teso and Northern Uganda who decry the loss of their cattle more when the Rwandese-infested National Resistance Movement (NRA) stole thousands of cattle from there during and after its military onslaught on Joseph military out fit called Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

4.Threats to Busoga Clans

Clans in Busoga and elsewhere must know their past, their origins, their threats, challenges, and dangers they face in modern times either from other people within their country, government, and people and multinationals from elsewhere in the increasingly diminishing world. Before they are convinced that interests matter more than identity, they should collectively agree that their survival individually and as interconnected entities, or as a unity of identities, matter more in an ever-inhumane world in which foreigners want to grab everything, including citizenship, and even erase the indignity of diverse peoples from the face of the Earth, even simplify humanity genetically and ecologically.

The Basoga of different clans are intermarrying with Tutsi women and/or men, thereby creating a new category of people that may not be integral to their clans. It is said that the Tutsi claim children born between a Tutsi and non-Tutsi as theirs. Therefore, intermarriages between Tutsis and the Basoga of different Clans are diluting the genetic integrity of the clans. This is dangerous as it is distorting the identity of the Clans and reducing the numbers of people who are loyal to the Clans. Therefore, intermarriages with Tutsis are undermining the genetic and cultural integrity of Busoga Clans, and both threatening and endangering their genetic, cultural, genealogical and social integrity and continuity well in the future.

5. Not Diatribe

This is not a diatribe but an attempt to trace, family tree, belonging, my roots and interconnections with other families biologically, culturally and historically.  If I don’t write it no one will because the current generation hates both reading and writing, forced by the challenges of survival.  If I write, many members of my clan and family will benefit from it. Hopefully some members of other Clans in Busoga may pick a leaf from and write about their families and Clans.

6. Collective Survival

We Ugandans, in our different Clans, ethnicities, indigenous groups, nationalities and local communities, must survive together just as we did before the British colonialists initiated their political processes of penetration, conquest, occupation, capture, simplification and erosion of the interconnections between our indigenous groups and nations. Theirs was a religious and imperial crusade to impose their domination and exploitation of the traditional nationalities to build their Empire in Uganda and East Africa.

7. Emergence of the British Protectorate of Uganda

The colonialists manipulated the creation of their central power and authority out of the 15 or 16 traditional states they found, namely: Acholi, Ankole, Buganda, Bugisu, Bukedi, Bunyoro, Busoga, Karamoja, Kigezi, Lango, Moyo, Sebei, Rwenzururu, Teso, Toro and West Nile. Their act first resulted in what they called The British Protectorate of Uganda.

8. The Commonwealth Realm of Uganda

When the British Colonialists handed political power to a black man, Apollo Milton Obote, on 9th October 1962, they called their immediate post-colonial entity The Commonwealth Realm of Uganda. They continued to govern it with the Queen of England, Elizabeth, as Head of State and Sir Walter Coutts as Governor-General, sharing some power with Apollo Milton Obote as the Prime Minister. The Commonwealth Realm of Uganda was not sovereign yet, even after supposedly gaining of political independence from the colonial British Government.

9. The Emergence of Uganda

The Queen of England stopped being Head of State when the Commonwealth Realm of Uganda transited to Uganda on the first anniversary of political independence on 9 October 1963 when the Kabaka of Buganda, Sir Edward Muteesa II became the first African Head of State as President. Sir William Wilberforce Kadhumbula Gabula Nadiope, the Kyabazinga of Busoga, became the Vice-President while Apollo Milton Obote emerged as the Executive Prime Minister of Uganda.

What I must emphasize right away is that when the British colonialists handed over the instruments of power to Apollo Milton Obote, they left the 15 or 16 national states which they amalgamated together as “The Commonwealth Realm of Uganda, that later became Uganda, intact, although Bunyoro emerged as a greatly bruised Kingdom, far reduced in size, power and glory, unlike what it was when it was Bunyoro Kitara before the colonialists crashed it with the help of Buganda.

Not only were the nation-states left intact, but also the numerous Clans were left as they were during colonial rule: united and integral to their cultures and spirituality and politically self-governing. Each Clan had a political head and a spiritual. head Among the self-governing Clans enjoying a degree of independence from other Clans was my own Clan Busoga: The Mulawa Clan.

Unfortunately, as the central government of President Tibuhaburwa continues to enhance its power by splitting the former nation-states into small, meaningless entities called districts, parishes, and constituencies, and allowing to the President to become more sovereign than the country, Clans have been weakened. Many are ineffectively governed and meet several political barriers in their organization.

Background History of Busoga

My ancient Mulawa Clan is widespread throughout Busoga and some parts of Buganda. When my mother, Stephanie Wabiseatyo Kyabwe gave birth to me a few seconds after midnight on 27th July 1949 at Namungalwe Dispensary where my father, Charles Afunaduula Ovuma Ngobi Isabirye was working as a Medical Assistant, I immediately became a member of the Mulawa Clan, perhaps the newest member of the Clan then. I was born far away from the home of my parents, which was located at Bulawa Village (called so because only members of Mulawa Clan occupied and belonged to it) in Nawaka Parish, Ikumbya Subcounty, Luuka County (now Luuka District) of Busoga.

Luuka was one of the 7 hereditary Kingdoms established in 1232 by a Bunyoro Kitara Prince Byaruhanga Ndahura as he traversed the area he later called Busoga because it was very rich in a small tree called Mukakale in Busoga and Kisogasoga in Bunyoro.

Many Basoga hate to hear the story that Bugabula, Luuka, Busiki, Bugweri, Kigulu, Bukooli and Buzaaya were established by Byaruhanga Ndahura, initially as just counties.

Byaruhanga Ndahura was on his way to Mount Elgon where he wanted to be a tourist. He had heard of the mountain and craved to climb it. Soldiers accompanied him to provide security to him.

Apparently, the soldiers belonged to the Ngobi Clan of Bunyoro. As he established his counties, he left each of themin the hands of one of is soldiers: Gabula for Bugabula, Tabingwa for Luuka, Nantamu Kisiki for Busiki, Menya for Bugweri, Wakooli for Bukooli and later, as he was leaving Busoga, Buzaaya for Muzaaya.

Kisiki did not belong to Ngobi Clan but was a brother-of-law to Byaruhanga Ndahura. The clan of Kisiki was not known but succeeding rulers of Busiki called themselves either Baise Ngobi (Ngobi Clan) or Baise Igaga (Igaga Clan). There is no way Kisiki could have belonged to Igaga Clan if he was a brother-in-law of Byaruhanga Ndahura. The Basiki are rather confusing because sometimes they call themselves Baise Ngobi and at other times Baise Igaga.

Byaruhanga Ndahura did not assign a county chief to Kigulu because he had plans to create a separate Kingdom of Busoga. He himself belonged to Igaga Clan of Bunyoro. He decided that Kigulu would be the seat of the new Kingdom. Indeed, it became the seat of power for his conceived Kingdom of Busoga. When coming back from Mount Elgon, he passed via the beautiful Nnenda Hill in Busambira. Coming down the hill, the natives gave him a beautiful indigenous girl as a gift for having visited their area.  He impregnated her. He decided to stay at the base of the hill until the girl gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. He gave him the name Byaruhanga Ndahura I of Busoga because he had decided that he would be the King of Busoga. Kings prefer to have their sons become rulers like themselves.

Byaruhanga Ndahura started to build a palace for his son on Nnenda Hill, a hill he had fallen in love with. When the young man was three years old, around 1232, Ndahura Byaruhanga decided it was time for hm to start the journey back to Bunyoro. He summoned his chiefs to Nnenda. When they arrived, he told them that he had decided to establish a separate Kingdom in the land occupied by their counties. He said the Kingdom would be called Busoga Kingdom and that his son would be the first King of Busoga Kingdom. However, he said, since he was young and unable to make decisions for the Kingdom, the chiefs would collectively act as regents to the young King who would henceforth be Byaruhanga Ndahura I of Busoga. He would govern a hereditary Kingdom of Busoga. They would also look after theQueen Mother. Meanwhile, he decreed that the territories of the chiefs would henceforth be called hereditary chiefdoms and that the chiefs would be hereditary chiefs. This meant that they were not to be elective.

After giving those instructions, Byaruhanga started on his long journey back to Bunyoro. He passed through a huge area, which he called Buzaaya because he made one of his soldiers called Muzaaya its hereditary Chief.

Note that the other chiefdoms we hear of today were not the creation of Byaruhanga Ndahura. Bukono and Bulamogi were created when two immigrant brothers from Gogonya, Bugwere called Nkono and Zibondo, asked the ruler of Busiki, Kisiki Nantamu, to give them their own areas so that they could nurture their expanding families separately from his chiefdom. And govern themselves/ Kisiki Nantamu responded positively.  The two brothers built their separate areas as Chiefdoms. Even Luba of Bunya had bult his own Chiefdom.

So, by the time the British colonialists arrived at Nnenda Hill, the Headquarters of the then monarchy called Busoga Kingdom, the chiefdoms were: Bugabula, Luuka, Busiki, Bulamogi, Bukono, Bugweri, Bukono, Bukooli and Bunyha. Kigulu was just a seat of power for the King, but traditionally produced a Prime Minister called Kyabazinga who did all the administration of the Kingdom on behalf of the King.

By applying their famous divide-and-rule policy, the colonialists created Butembe Chiefdom out of Buzaaya Chiefdom and transferred parts of the ancient Hereditary Chiefdom to Bugabula. There new Chiefdom, which the colonialists babtised “hereditary” was domnated by people called Batembe, believed to have migrated from Buganda.  The Colonialists also created Bunyhole Chiefdom as a hereditary Chiefdom. Butaleja, which was initially the seat of power for the evolving colonial administration in Busoga was in Bunyhole and that time Bunyhole was not really part of Busoga Kingdom, which the colonialists were determined to destroy. Bunyhole belonged to people called Bunyhole. The Bunyhole eventually became scattered all over Busoga, particularly in present-day Mayuge and/or Bunyha. This then explains the 11 Hereditary chiefdoms of Busoga. Byaruhanga Ndahura created 6 and the British colonialists created 5.

It should be mentioned that little is known about the original indigenous people of Busoga. It is likely the land-based Basoga were shifting cultivators who also did some hunting to secure animal protein. Those who were water-based, living on ecological Islands such as the Busoga part of Buvuma Island, were fisherfolk. Indeed, members of my own Clan, Mulawa Clan, were skilled fishermen who would dive into Lake Victir head first to catch fish like some birds do today. Some Basoga believe the Balawa are intelligent people and well-educated because they belong to genealogies that had a high intake of fish in their diets.

There are some Basoga like myself who believe that Busoga was the first credal of humanity and that the first ancient civilization of man was in the basin-like part of Busoga, long before the civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, China and India. It is not known because there were no people to write about it.

Mulawa Clan

I have already written that my Clan – Mulawa – was water-based. It was on the Busoga part of Buvuma Ecological Island, where they subsisted on fish. Because they originated from Buvuma, some historically uninformed people have always tried to exclude the Mulawa Clan from the list of the Clans of Busoga. If they knew that Buvuma Island had a Buganda part and Busoga part, and that there is land-based Busoga and aquatic (or water-based Busoga) they would not be recycling ignorance. If they were really interested in knowing whether the members of Mulawa Clan are Basoga, they would become curious about the names of the Members of this Clan, which are uniquely Kisoga names (See Table 1 below). unknown in other parts of Uganda, except in places like Buganda, Bukedi, Bunyhole, Kenya, etc where they secondarily migrated to after migrating to land-based Busoga from Lake Victoria.

Wilson, in 1985, wrote that as we march into the future, we do so with our past. Our past is never left behind. Therefore, we continue to be shaped by it. We can say that we are what we are today because of the shaping influence of the past; that who we are today is rooted in our past experiences. The Mulawa Clan had a lot of influence on me, and I cannot talk about present nor have a glimpse of his future without understanding these influences and experiences. The past can have far-reaching influences on what we are tomorrow. This is why some writers have stressed the idea of “futures” and recommended that we spend some time and space thinking about and exploring the nature and meaning of our earlier experiences. Futures are not predetermined.  Different factors frequently intervene to change one’s future. It, is therefore, stupid for some people to devalue the history and belonging of people rooted on the land for centuries simply because they want to belong where they have no historical, biological, ecological and moral roots.

Way back in 1985, Gebler wrote that writing about the past of someone, his family and his clan should move a step closer towards realizing present possibilities. On the other hand Chawla, in 1994, wrote that this should involve and include the potential of integrating childhood and adult experiences and perceiving connections and wholes.

This discourse on the Mulawa Clan is important to me because my life and adolescence were shaped, integratively, in the Clan, although with some modifying influences of colonial schooling.

The word “Mulawa” belongs to one Kisoga dialect. In another Kisoga dialect, it is pronounced “Mulagha”. The term “Mulawa” reflects the influence of Luganda (the language of a people called Baganda from the ancient Kingdom of Buganda that dominated Busoga under different Baganda Kings and under British colonial rule). Mulawa has stuck and silenced Mulagha.

The Members of Mulawa Clan are collectively called Balawa, or as is commonly the case, Baise Mulawa. In this discourse we use Mulawa to refer to the Clan and Balawa to refer to the members of the Clan.

Origins of the Mulawa Clan

The Balawa are popularly, but wrongly, known as “Bagwananfuta”. “Bagwananfuta” means “Those

who fall down with what has been stored in the branches of trees where food like maize

had been stored, fell down with it, and then took off at great speed to escape being

caught. Those days sit was safer (from thieves and pathogens) to keep food high up on the trees than on the ground”. This was a phenomenon of the people they found in the area, not them. This is because when the Balawa arrived in North Luuka, they had been a fishing community where they came from: The Busoga part of Buvuma Island in Lake Victoria.

No one can say exactly when the Mulawa Clan began its immigration into present-day Busoga. The story that has been told over and over to generations of the Mulawa Clan is that the Clan originated in a place called Butamba located on an Island called Iguluibi in the Buvuma Islands in the centre of Lake Victoria. Iguluibi is not a Kiganda but Kisoga word. This should educate those who have been propagating the falsehood that Balawa are Baganda that it is a misrepresentation of the truth.

The Legendary Mulawa

According to a popular legend of the Balawa, the most known person among the earliest Balawa of Butamba was the legendary Mulawa. According to the legend, Mulawa begot several children. However, the name of his wife is not mentioned although sometimes it is said that she was called Iguluibi.

It is not known what triggered the migration of the Balawa from Butamba. However, the legend goes that it was ancestral Mulawa that started the migration and others simply followed. Mulawa set off with a number of people in small boats. The migrant group disembarked at a village called Bunhya in the Parish of Bussu in the Sub-county of Bwanaliira in Kigulu County.

The story goes that at Bussu, the Balawa settled for a long time. While here the group reproduced itself profusely, thereby multiplying in number. It seems that there was abundant food and wars were initially not a threat to the Balawa. However, as they increased in number there was pressure on the land resources, and so another migration into other started. The time period when this migration occurred is not known but could have been some 800 years ago.

The Early Descendants of Mulawa

Mulawa is said to have begot Mulawa who produced many children. According to the late Afunaduula II Ovuma II Ngobi Isabirye, in his unpublished book “The History of Mulawa Clan”, the offspring of Mulawa migrated into Buloghooza in Bwanalira, Kigulu, and Bukyangwa, Nairika, Bukova, Nawansega, Nabyoto, Bunafu, and Nawaka, all in Luuka County. Others migrated to Butembe, Namagera-Kagoma, Bumanyha-Bulamogi, Buses-Bugweri and back to Nairika, Bukyangwa, Kamirantumbu, Nankongolo Luuka, Bukova, Nawansega, Nabyoto, Buyoga, Buwuutu, and Makuutu in Luuka.

Afunaduula II Ovuma II Ngobi Isabirye states that the movements of the Balawa occurred repeatedly. Later movements took the Balawa to Busanda, Budhuba, Buwutu and Nawaka-Kiseege in Luuka; then to Buluya, Budhuba, Nawaikoke, Bulamogi, Bugaya, Budiope, Bugulumbya, Bugabula, Butende, Namwendwa, Isingo Bugabula and Namadope in Luuka and Bufuula Matabira.

Afunaduula II Ovuma II Ngobi Isabirye records that as the Balawa migrated, they continued to reproduce profusely in their new settlements.

The family lineages of the ancestral Balawa are given elsewhere in this treatise.

However, Mulawa II of Mulawa I is said to have begot Oweyegha I. The list below

includes names of some of the ancient descendants of Mulawa who found themselves

scattered in Busoga. In Table 4 we give the list of the ancestral descendants of Mulawa

Table 1 List of Ancestral Descendants of Mulawa I


OvumaMuganhywa Dhikubiragha

Wekiya Bairukireki Mutebe

Lulabufu Bugulu Kazingirizi

Gwaira Mudhungu Namansa

Bukaire Gumula Wasedde

Oteesa Mbaga Kyeibula

Kakungulu Mutakubwa Kisubi

Wegumba Kisaame Wambi

Mpape Buvaghala Magala

Mutakubwa Luselwidha Byansi

Bagyaiindha Waigumbulizi Kiyumba

Babalanda Nakawulira Matyanka

Kanaalo Ndegwe Wambi Yalibanda

Lwiitiro Kirimungada Luselwidha

Musamba Naluswa Bakaki

Ndhalabugwa Dhumbike Kasolo

Bendha Matindo Namwidho

Mutavagho Kyangwa Wagubi

Wasedde Bongotoli Wekiya

Kyeibula Kabitanyhia Kasutamu

Kyeibula Badhighamba Kibumba

Namuboneyo Katiko Mpaali

Wambi Kawulira Kibinkolo

Idiiro Akiiraomukazi

Kafuko Dhikubiragha Walama

At the time of the migration from Butamba, Otessa, Kabitanhya III, Mbaga, Kakungulu, Gwaira II Kafubi, and Mutakubwa were children. Table 2 below shows where the ancestral Balawa settled in Busoga

Table 2 Ancestral Balawa and Where They Settled in Busoga

Name Settlement

Wekiya  Nairika, Bukyangwa, Luuka

Kyeibula (Clan Leader) Bukanga, Luuka

Kafuko (Clan Leader) Nsinze, Busiki

Nakawulira  Namirembe, Luuka

Mutebe  Nakabugu. Luuka

Kazingirizi   Nawaka Kiseege, Bukanga

Gumula  Nawaka, Luuka

Namansa  Nawaka, Luuka

Walama  Nawaka Kisege

Kisubi Nawansega, Luuka

Wambi  Nsambya, Luuka

Idiiro   Nsambya, Luuka

Namansa  Butende, Bugabula

Mpape   Bugulumbya, Bugabula

Luselwidha   Nawangoma, Buzaaya

Byansi   Muiira, Luuka

Ndhalabugwa Nawansega, Luuka

Kiyumba  Budhuba, Luuka

Kanaalo     Nawaka Luuka

Bagyaiindha                                                                 Nawansega, Luuka

Wambi                                                                          Yalibanda Nawaka, Bulawa

Gwaira                                                                          Yalibanda Nawaka, Bulawa

Mbaga                                                                           Yalibanda Nawaka, Bulawa

Kirimungada                                                                 Namasiga, Butembe

Naluswa                                                                        Bughekula, Butembe

Kasolo                                                                            Nndwa, Isingo

Wagubi                                                                          Butende. Bugweri

Bongotoli                                                                      Busoghobi

Mwavu Kasadhakagho Namansa                              Kinu, Bugabula

Mpaali Idiiro                                                                  Bulole, Luuka

Katiko                                                                              Nawwansega, Luuka

Badhighamba                                                                Nawansega, Luuka

Kibinkolo                                                                        Nawansega, Luuka

According to Afunaduula II Ovuma II in his unpublished Book “The History of the

Mulawa Clan” Mulagha II begot Muganhywa I, Muganhywa I begot Oweyegha I,

Oweyegha I begot Kyangwa I, Kyangwa I begot Wekiya I and Ovuma I and Wekiya I

begot Gwaira I, Namansa I, Namuboneyo I, Magala I, Bukaire I, Lulabufu I, Kazingirizi I

Otessa I, Gumula I, and Bugulu I.

Wekiya I was a warrior who was never happy unless there was some conflict to keep

him busy, very much like Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni who became President of Uganda

through the barrel of the gun. Wekiya I is the one who led the group of Balawa who

headed for Nawaka in Luuka while others headed for Mpakitoni, Isingo and Butende in

Bugabula County, and Bukova and Nawansega in Luuka County.

The story goes that Wekiya I and his group found Bulawa and Bugonza sub-parishes of

Nawaka Parish of Ikumbya Subcounty with few humans but rich in wildlife. The wildlife included forests, pythons, lions, elephants, cheeters, hyenas, zebras, buffaloes, elands, leopards, hyenas, aardvark, porcupies, et cetera.

Under the tutelage of Wekiya I, most of the young men who settled in Bulawa, Nawaka, grew up to become fierce and courageous fighters. Around this time, a prince of the Ngobi Clan -one of the migrant Clans of Bunyoro that came to Busoga – recruited Wekiya’s fighters in Luuka Kingdom. The prince begot Prince Tabingwa who became the King of Luuka Kingdom Tabingwa made Namansa –one of the warrior sons of Wekiya I Commander of his Army, which then used spears and shields. Luuka was only one of the Kingdoms in the area called Busoga. In all there were eleven feuding Kingdoms the most known of which were Bugabula, Bulamogi, Bunhya, Butembe, Busiki, Bugweri, Kigulu, and Buzaaya. Tabingwa was always at war but won numerous military victories under the command of Namansa I. In appreciation, Tabingwa gave the villages of Kisege and Malaba in Luuka to him in appreciation of his role in sustaining the supremacy of the Luuka kingdom. Kisame Magala settled at Kisege.

Namansa’s brother, Ovuma I, was also a great warrior who went to fight in Buganda butfell in battle. It is not clear where exactly he died or was buried. Kisame Magala begot Nakawulira, Musumba, and Lwiitiro. These later moved to Bulamogi and settled at Buddu. Other members of the Magala family tree moved to Bukanga and Nawandala in Luuka County, but others moved into Bugerere and Mukono in Buganda, where they became absorbed as Baganda. When you hear someone in Buganda calling himself Magala, trace his origins to Magala Kisame.

Beyond Namansa I

To trace the genealogy of Mzee Oweyegha- Afunaduula we must begin with Wekiya I of Kyangwa I of Muganhywa I of Wasedde I of Oweyegha I As mentioned elsewhere this discourse, Wekiya I was brother to Ovuma II. They were born at Nairika, Bukyangwa, Nankongolo, and Luuka. Their father was Kyangwa I. When they reached Nawaka and Bugonza the latter was being ruled by Gonza, whose influence extended to Lake Lwitanzige (Lake Kyoga) in Bulamogi. Wekiya, I begot several children, both boys and girls. His sons were Bukaire I, Gwaira I, Namansa I, Mbaga I, Kakulimu I, Namuboneyo I, Mudhungu I and Kabitanhya III. Ovuma II, the young brother of Wekiya, begot Matindo Ntamaenula at Buwenge, Kagoma. Matindo begot William Bakikuya and Wekiya II at Buwenge.  Unfortunately, the Balawa land at Buwenge has been lost to urbanization.

Bukaire I, the eldest son of Wekiya I of Oweyegha I of Wasedde I begot Kibumba II at Bulawa, Nawaka. Kibumba II begot Bukaire II, Yowabu Wekiya and Gwaira at Bulawa. Bukaire II of Kibumba I of Bukaire I of Wekiya I begot Wekiya III and Namansa. Kintu Yowabu of Kibumba I of Bukaire I of Wekiya I begot Wekiya II and Namansa II at Bulawa, Nawaka.

Gwaira I of Wekiya I of Kyangwa I of Oweyegha I begot Kanaalo I, Walugali Kyangwa II and Yoswa Awula Akasolo Kanaalo I of Gwaira I of Wekiya I of Kyangwa I Muganhwa I of Oweyegha I begot Namansa II, Gwaira II, Wekiya II, Kakulimu II and Gumula II. Namansa II of Kanaalo I begot Kanaalo II and Gwaira III. Gwaira II of Kanaalo I begot only one son, Namansa II Wekiya III of Kanaalo I begot Awula Akasolo II, Namansa II, Walugali Kyangwa, Gwaira II, Bukaire III, and Wekiya III and three other boys whose names cannot be recalled. Gumula II of Kanaalo II of Gwaira I of Wekiya I of Kyangwa I of Muganhwa I begot Namansa II, Kanaalo II, and Walugali Kyangwa II.

Kakulimu Kisadhaki II of Kanaalo I of Gwaira I of Wekiya I produced children, but unfortunately, there are no records of their names. Namansa I of Wekiya I of Oweyegha I of Muganhywa I of Kyangwa I begot six sons: Mwavu Kasadhakawo II, Yokonia Akiiraomukazi Wekiya II, Isaac Afunaduula I Muganhwa II, Yakobo Buganga Wasedde II and Mutavawo Wairaka Oweyegha II.

Mwavu Kasadha of Namansa I of Wekiya I of Muganhywa I of Oweyegha I of Kyangwa I begot only one son, Alexander Ivule Wekiya III, and one daughter, Bitulensi Mwoyo II.

Alexander Ivule Wekiya III of Mwavu Kasadhakawo II begot many children: Dan

Mwavu II, Namansa III, Buganga Wasedde III, Balonzeani Isaac, Afunaduula

Muganhywa II, Wekiya IV, Kakete, Jane Bagonzaku and Mwoyo III.

Yekoniya Akiraomukazi Wekiya II of Namansa I begot many girl children but only

three boys: Namansa II Balaba, Gwaira II Yeko.and Bukaire II Babi. The girls included Fida Mwoyo,

Faisi Magoba, Wamwenderaki Kyabwe, Nakiva Idah and Friday Nakungwa

Isaac Afunaduula Muganhwa II of Namansa I of Wekiya I of Kyangwa I of Muganhwa I

of Oweyegha I begot Rev. Silas Wekiya I, Gwaira, Martin Namansa II, Kyangwa III,

Ruth Nandhugu, Naume Bagonzaaku II and Idah Nambi,

Yakobo Buganga Wasedde II of Namansa I of Wekiya I of Oweyegha I was the

youngest of the children of Namansa I. He begot Costantine Ngobi Isabirye Wekiya II,

Charles Afunaduula Ovuma Ngobi Isabirye, Namansa II, Gwaira II, Ngunhya Mwoyo II,

Matama II and Nangobi Waboneka II.

Below we give the full list of the great women that married into the Mulawa Clan. We

have no idea where they were got from. However, since the Balawa were warriors, they

must have got them from many parts of Busoga and beyond. In a future edition of the

book we shall attempt to record where each of these women came from. We think it is

important to do so to extend the knowledge of the Balawa about their ancestral spread.

Table 3. Some of the Great Women Who Married into the Mulawa Clan


•Bagonzaaku, wife of Namansa I -produced Isaac Afunaduula Muganhywa, Mwavu Kasadhakawo, Kubaaza Mudhubirwa Nabirye and Yakobo Buganga Wasedde Mwoyo

•Waboneka Alibuuza Tighakwira, wife of Mbaga, produced Yalibanda Oweyegha II, Kakulimu and Mutakubwa Tighakwira, wife of Gwaira-produced Kanaalo, Walugali Kyangwa and Awula Akasolo

Magoba, wife of Namansa I produced Yekoniya Awulaomukazi Wekiya, Wairaka Mutavawo Oweyegha and Matama Mpaghamwiza, wife of Kanaalo I -produced Namansa II, Gwaira II, Kikuviire, Balyeekagha and Gumula Esitaluko

Alimughaatya Mukoda, wife of Walugali Kyangwa II –produced Bikufiiraki and Babireba Tibisina Alimughaatya Mukoda, who was inherited as wife by Walugali Kyangwa II produced Mbote, Siriva Namansa, and the twins Waiswa and Babirye

Bugonzi Lakeri, wife of Isaac Afunaduula Muganhywa, who produced Sirasi Wekiya, Luusi Nandhugu, Gwaira II, Martin Namansa II, Yafesi Kyangwa III, Naume Bagonzaku and Idah Nambi Kakete, wife of Mwavu Kasadhakawo, who produced Alexander Ivule Wekiya and Bitulensi Mwoyo

Kikaziki Mutunda, wife of Yekoniya Akiraomukazi Wekiya, who never gave birth to any child but stayed with her husband until death made them part

Kampi Kimpiya, wife of Yekoniya Akiraomukazi Wekiya II, who produced Byaghano Mwoyo II, Balaba Namansa II, Gwaira, Magoba, Tighakwira and many others.

Kifuko, wife of Wairaka Mutavawo Oweyegha II, who produced Kasoghole, Naimbi II, Kizaala II, Nfuko Namansa II, Tighakwira and Bagonzaaku

Mukyala Nabirye, wife of Yakobo Buganga Wasedde II, who produced Costantine Ngobi Isabirye Wekiya III, Afunaduula II Ovuma II Ngobi Isabirye, Gwaira II

Nkonoka Ngezi, wife of Yakobo Buganga Wasedde II, who produced Ngunha Mwoyo II, Matama Tighakwira II, Nangobi Waboneka II and Namansa II

Faisi Nakitandwe, wife of Rev. Sirasi Wekiya, who produced James Namansa III, Bagonzaaku Perepetwa, Paulo Gwaira III, Ayirini

Tighakwira, Kisakye Mwoyo, Emmanuel Wekiya IV, Idah Waboneka, Michael Muganhywa, Dan Mwavu Kasadhakawo, Eseza Kagoya

Faisi ………., wife of Costantine Ngobi Isabirye Wekiya III, who produced Gwaira, Tabuuza, Takoba, Wekiya IV, Sam Walugali Kyangwa and Isaac Afunaduula Muganhywa

Nabirye, wife of Costantine Ngobi Isabirye Wekiya, who produced Waiswa Namansa, Bagonzaaku Perepetwa, Yakobo Buganga Wasedde, Fred Mwavu and Nabirye Mukyala, Babyerabira

Nambi, wife of Walugali Kyangwa II, who produced Wilberforce Namuboneyo, Kakulimu, Byakika, Kubonaku and Kusuya Kamwami, wife of Kanaalo I, who produced Kulusupu Wekiya III, Kayaga and Kisadhaki Kakulimu Eriazali

Kasiri, wife of Yoswa Awulaakasolo, who produced Babirye and Udha (twins).

Kategere, wife of Yalibanda Oweyegha II, who produced Wambi Kabembe Mbaga and Katundu Nabirye Tibita, wife of Yalibanda oweyegha II, who produced Gwalukoma, Gwaira II Ngobi and Mpaghalungi Takuseghania, wife of Namansa II Kando, who produced Kanaalo II and Namansa II

Nzala, wife of Kuluspu Wekiya III, who produced Walugali Kyangwa and Others.

Matama, wife of Kulusupu Wekiya III, who produced Yalibanda Oweyegha and others

Kyosimye, wife of Gwalukoma Ngobi Gwaira, who produced Tibukye and Dhamuzungu (Mudhungu)

Kizire, wife of Kakungulu I, who produced Kasutamu Gwaira, Kabitanhya, Kitalima, and Watiitira Wekiya.

Kizire, who was inherited as wife by Gwaira II Kafubi Nkoto Bagoghe after the death of Kakungulu I, produced Tabulwaire

• Alexandria Namulinda, wedded wife ofMzee Charles Afunaduula Ovuma and, daughter of Suleiman Tayala of Mulinda clan of Iganga, who produced George Namansa( who denied Afunaduula’s fatherhood claiming that his mother told him that his father was another one, a policeman from Namwendwa), Fredrick Patrick Gwaira, Jane Girades bagonzaku and Besi Mwoyo

• Maliamu Namulinda, wife of Mzee Charles Afunaduula-Ovuma and daughter of Suleiman Tayala of Iganga who divorced her husband in 1943 when he was in Nairobi training and left no child

• Esteri Stephanie Wabiseatyo Kyabwe, wife of Mzee Charles Afunaduula-Ovuma and daughter of Filikisi Nkutiire of Gwembuzi in Luuka County, who produced Oweyegha III Afunaduula, David Wekiya III, Zerubaberi Mwavu II, Nabirye Mukyala, Aeron Charles Kanaalo, Emmanuel Matindo and Daniel Mudhungu

• Tapenensi Maato, wife of Mzee Charles Afunaduula-Ovuma and daughter of Mzei Namulya of Wanzu Clan and resident of Kavule in Bugabula, who produced one child, John Yalibanda II Oweyegha III

• Miriya Mpimbye, wife of Mzee Charles Afunaduula-Ovuma and daughter of Mzei Namulya of Wanzu Clan and resident of Kavule in Bugabula, who left no child

• Mangalita Tikabulamu, wife of Mzee Charles Afunaduula-Ovuma and daughter of Mzei Adonia Wambi of Mususwa Clan and resident of Bunabbala in Bukova, Luuka, who produced Mukyala Tabuuza III, Charles Muganhywa III, Ambrose Kyangwa III, Ronald Ovuma III, Fred Bairukireki II, Maria Kabooga II Mukyala III, Tiwakwira II, Naika III and Mukoda III

• Miriyonsi Mbeiza, wife of Mzee Charles Afunaduula-Ovuma and daughter of Mzei Semei Isabirye of Mususwa Clan an immigrant from Bulamogi county who settled at Gwembuzi in Luuka, produced Jacob Moses Buganga Wasedde III, Luusi Nandhugu III, Thomas Namansa, Robert Namuboneyo III, Rose Takoba II, Walugali II Kyangwa III, C wife of Mzee Charles Afunaduula-Ovuma Charles Ndegwe II, Kakete III, Nambi III, Yeko Wekiya IV

• Lovisa Babirye, wife of Mzee Charles Afunaduula-Ovuma and daughter of Mzei Yekoyasi Nanyhumba of Nawamwena Clan and resident of Namulanda, Luuka, who produced Fred Kakulimu III, Kitimbo III, Monica Mukyala Nabirye II, Mpamwiza II, Magoba II, Bukaire II, Nairuba III, Kasiri II, Godi Isaac Afunaduula Muganhywa III, Julie Nansikombi II and Balyeka II

• Getulida Kayanga Nabirye, wife of Mzee Charles Afunaduula-Ovuma and daughter of Mzei Yekoyasi Nanyhumba of Naghamwena Clan and resident of Namulanda, Luuka, produced Sarah Mukoda Alimughatya II, Annette Kubaaza II Mudhubinsa II, Babirye Bugonzi II (died age 4), Wilberforce Kadhumbula Waiswa and Kitamirike III

• Mariam Akiiki, wife of Mzee Charles Afunaduula-Ovuma and daughter of Mzei Patrick Ndyanaho of Kyenjonjo, Toro, produced Alibuuza II and Mulawa Afunaduula II

• Eva Logosse, wife of Mzee Charles Afunaduula-Ovuma and daughter of Edward Nallo of Batemmu Clan, Kabwangasi, Bugwere, produced Charles Edward Afunaduula, Nangobi Mwoyo and Esteri Kikaziki

• Hanifa…..of Bugiri, Bukhooli, produced Kasalina Mukyala III

• Kagoye Elizabeth of Kameruka Ikiki of Byalikoko Balweta Clan, in Budaka District, and Angela Namukenge of Michal Kapisa, and wife James Namansa produced Kevina Katooko, Denis Wekiya, Frank Muganyhwa, Paulo Namansa, Gerald Gwaira, Juliet Bagonza and Emmanuel Afunaduula

• Jane Tibenda of Egulwa Ngalomwenda of Kananage in Kamuli District, and wife of Mzee oweyegha-Afunaduula produced Isaac Afunaduula Mugana, Agatha Bugonzi, Solomon Mwavu Afunaduula Kasadhakawo and Sam Wekiya Awulaomukazi

• Nives….of Masaka, wife of Paulo Gwaira produced Silas Namansa

• Joyce Babumba, wife of Paulo Gwaira and daughter of Babumba of Masaka, produced faith Bugonzi and Isaac Afunaduula Muganyhwa Kiiza Bena wife of Gerald Namansa produced Juliet Tibakwira.

The Clan leaders must ensure that there is a complete and continuing list of the Houses (Amayumba) of the Balawa, not only at Nawaka but in the whole of Busoga. I have done my part. Now nearly 75 years old I do not have enough energy to continue researching and recording all the necessary knowledge about Mulawa Clan Houses. I have no doubt that all the houses will be included when I am still alive.

The Taboos of Mulawa Clan

The Balawa, like all Clans in Uganda, have their taboos bases on a very small fish called Akakyulukyulu, perhaps belonging to dwindling Genus Haplochromis, which once shrived in Lake Victoria. They did not, do not and cannot eat it. However, they have

another taboo based on a small snail called Akaibiro. This used to be abundant in banana plantations, but is today very rare and is feared to have become extinct with the disappearance of the forest-loving banana variety. Curiously, despite their taxonomic

differences, the Balawa take the Akakyulukyulu and the Akaibiro to be “sisters”. While it existed, Akaibiro governed the lives of the Balawa in the sense that they would never kill it or even sit where it had left its trail.

The Chief Spirit of Mulawa Clan

Like all Clans of Busoga, the Mulawa Clan has its Chief Spirit, they regard as their “god”. This Chief Spirit is called Lwebandha. There is, however, what is called the presiding Spirit of the Balawa of Bulawa village of Nawaka Subparish of Nawaka Parish, Ikumbya Sub-county of Luuka County. This presiding Spirit is called Kalera. Kalera literally means “The one who cares for the children”. The members of the Mulawa believe that Lwebandha and Kalera are a gift from a Greater God who made their village. The two, according to the Balawa, govern them on behalf of this Greater

God. As one can immediately discern, this belief does not rhyme with the Bible story that the earthly Spirits are fallen spirits that were rejected in Heaven when Lucifer turned Satan organized against God Almighty but failed and was hurled down together with the others as demons. The Bible says Satan and His cohort of demons did not come to care or save life but to destroy, kill and bring suffering instead. This, to the

Balawa, sounds good Bible truth but earthly truth, and therefore is unreal.

The Mulawa Clan Drum

The Balawa are more characteristically distinguished from the more than one hundred Clans of Busoga by the sound of their Clan Drum. The sound of the drum is made during important ceremonies called “Mikolo”, particularly when a prominent elder of the Clan has died. The drum is sounded by a son of a daughter of the deceased (that is hisnephew, who in Lusoga is called “Omwigha”).

While sounding the drum, two characteristic sticks or Minhyolo are used, one in each hand, with the strap of the drum around the neck the same way one wears a safety belt of a car. The strap of the drum, like the drum itself, is made of animal skin, usually from

a goat or a cow or bull. It is well-trimmed. The drum is beaten in such a way that it sounds as if it is speaking like a person.

The words spoken by the drum are “Owomudoko N’akabyake”, which literally means “The greedy with his plate eats alone”.

These words are followed by others, which go like this:

“Kabiri omwise Mulawa bwaba nga afiire abekiika kye nkanyhi ab’endhaye batera

okusabibwa n’abamu ku baana abaigha, omulenzi n’omughala, okunaaza n’okuzinga

omulambo ogwoyo aba tafiire, nga bwali n’okunazibwa n’ekitisa ekinene nga abaigha

besibye obukalamu emigaire n’ebikakati nkanyhi ewuuzi dhebaba tibabulwiiza nkanyhi

tibakanywiire kumasuuka agengoye dh’omufu, kumigaire egyighereibwayo

o’kuzikibwamu omufu, oba ebikakati nkanyhi ebyayi ebighera”.

Again, if a member of the Mulawa Clan dies, the Clan members from his house are asked together with his nephews, a boy and a girl, to clean the dead body and wrap it with a lot of respect, while the nephews have dressed themselves properly with pieces of bed sheets and other cloth torn from the bed sheets and dresses of the deceased, banana fibres and backcloth (from a type of Ficus tree) that was brought by mourners). The two grandchildren perform these rituals as instructed by the sound of the drum. However, they go on to perform more ritual. Together, they go to the well, with the

female carrying a pot on her head. Where the dead is a man, the male grandchild is the one who carries the pot on his head. It is the water brought by the grandchildren, which is used to wash the head of the dead. This ritual is called “Okubiraga”.

The whole ritual involves repeatedly going and coming from the well before the actual washing of the dead person commences. Once the grandchildren have done their job, the rest of the members of the dead person’s family in turn wash the face of the deceased… It is, however, not a must that they all do this. When the ritual is concluded, the Baigha proceed to cover or wrap the body properly with layer after layer of bed sheets and then backcloth before the body is placed in a coffin if this is available. If the coffin is not available, then the body is ready for burial in this form.

The burial ceremony is preceded by the digging of the grave by the male Baigha. The grave is dug facing where the Mulawa Clan is believed to have originated from: Butamba, Iguluibi Islands in the Buvuma islands in the centre of Lake Victor.


Every Clan in Busoga in particular and Uganda in general should have such information well recorded as part of its survival strategy in order to persist on the globe of some 6000 Clans well in the future. Every Clan leader and every leader of House or family should be conversant with it so that it can be passed on to future generations. The greatest threat facing the Mulawa Clan and other Clans in Uganda today is the marauding Tutsi nomadic pastoralists who are grabbing land under the watch and perhaps encouragement of Government, which is dominated by their kith and kin. Ecologies are being destroyed. More serious is that ownership of the land and the belonging of the Clan (s) and the sacred places, including the burial grounds are being excavated by the marauding nomadic pastoralists. Consequently, the futures of the members of the Clan (s) are being distorted. Indeed, many members have already been dispossessed and displaced and are now manifesting as internal refugees in a floating population unattached to the land. Before it was the nomadic pastoralists were the ones who were not attached to the land. They were attached to grass and the cow. They had no belonging. What is happening has consequences for food production since the traditional agroecological systems which were the basis food security for our people for centuries are being destroyed. It also has consequences for climate, ecological and environmental security well in the future. A land where people are insecure, hungry and unsure of their future is a land that will be a hotbed for violence and genocides.

Most important it will be a land suffering from cultural death. I believe that what is happening has something to do with government plan to sow seeds of the culture of money in the country with the dispossessive now land-owning nomadic pastoralists as its central agent. Cultural leaders, Clan leaders and political leaders who value our traditional cultures should wake up and unite in a national resistance against an alien culture. Otherwise, our children and children’s children have no future in Uganda. They will follow the footsteps of the Maoris of New Zealand, Aboriginals of Australia and Red Indians of the Americas lost their land and futures to the marauding Europeans and are now almost extinct. No. Mulawa Clan must survive and persist in the biocultural landscape of Busoga. All the Clans of Busoga and Uganda must survive and persist in the biocultural landscape of Uganda. Busoga and Uganda belong to our Indigenous peoples. They should not be colonised culturally, politically, economically and environmentally by people from afar with no cultural roots in Busoga, Uganda. This is a Clarion call to Balawa, Basoga and all indigenous peoples of Uganda to wake up to the new imperialism worse than the British imperialism we suffered for 70 years. If the new imperialism of land grabbing and primitive accumulation is left to succeed as we continue a destructive love affair with the outward-looking Movement, then we are finished. We and our children, and children’s children have no future. It is an anti-God plot against us.

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Written by Oweyegha Afunaduula (3)

I am a retired lecturer of zoological and environmental sciences at Makerere University. I love writing and sharing information.

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