In our continuing series on the 25th anniversary since Kabaka Mutebi Ronald
Established back in the 14th Century, Naggalabi-Buddo Hill is the place where the kings (Kabakas) of Buganda Kingdom have always been enthroned for the past 8 centuries including the reigning king Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II.
As his 25th coronation celebration approaches, many stay to wonder what rituals the crown prince undergoes to be crowned king since not many have access to this site at the kings coronation and also the rituals are quite secretive.
Naggalabi hill top is believed to be the place where the first Buganda king Kintu won a battle for kingship after a fight with his prince brother Bemba thus declaring that all kings be crowned here.
Six kabakas (Kings) of Buganda Kingdom from Kabaka Chwa have gone through the same rituals of coronation at the Site.
However coronation rituals remain a mystery to many but Mukalazi Kimbowa Lawrencio one of the hill caretakers takes us through the bits.
He says the coronation rituals start immediately the deceased king is laid to rest emphasizing that “ Obwakabaka tebusulirawo nga tebulina Kabaka” literally translated as the kingdom at no one instance misses a king.
Mukalazi says, the crown prince chosen starts on the journey to Nagalabi but not through any route but a specific one.
This route is called Nebalamye Mayanja.This road is currently existent along present day Entebbe road after Sseguku.
But, as the crown prince starts on his journey, all the other princes are arrested and locked up in one place to avoid any inconvenience that could come through hijacking the throne by any of the other princes.
Its significance (Nebalamye Mayanja) further stretches to the developments around. However one asks what and why Nebalamye Mayanja means.
“As said earlier that as a crown prince heads for enthronement, he never bypasses a fellow prince or else out of anger could be injured,” Mukalazi explained.
He said that Mayanja had twin princes(traditionally refer to water bodies) with Kato(the junior twin) stretching through SSeguku , Nateete to buloba and Wasswa (senior twin) stretching along Jinja Kalooli, ssenge to Masuulita.
The crown prince’s route therefore had to be a neutral name bypassing these two hence the name “Nebalamye Mayanja” literally translated as “I am escaping/bypassing Mayanja (the twins)”
On the drive to the coronation hill, one can’t miss site of springing up developments that are also complimented by the Entebbe express highway intersection.
However a continued drive reveals parts of a road under construction as you approach the hill with main activities here tending to brick laying and farming.
One would think this being Kingdom land, not many are encroaching.
Kings College Buddo welcomes you to this magnificent hill.
Although Nakibuuka is the site at the hill that welcomes you having used the Nebalamye Mayanja route, it is the final place for the rituals.
On the hill, the crown prince heads to Enyumba Buganda or Buganda House.
He spends a number of days in here as he is being prepared. Mukalazi however says, in the past it would take the king 18 days in the same house.
The days have gradually been reduced as time goes by due to changing times and the sort of guests that come to attend the coronation rituals who cant wait that long.
Lawrencio the caretaker however emphasises that all the rituals are performed even in these fewer days.
For Kabaka Mutebi’s case, there were many international guests who couldn’t wait long too given the fact that he was enthroned after the restoration of kingdoms by the Museveni regime that had been banned by the Obote regime.
From Buganda house, the crown prince is taken to Bwanika but before he enters, he undertakes a ritual cleansing bath.In Buganda, this ritualistic bath normally taken on babies or but even adults is called “EKYOGERO” while the crown Prince’s ritual bath is called “AKOGERO”.
It should be remembered that Bwanika house was gutted by fire on October August 8, 2012 and the present day one has only been reconstructed.
No one in the area is permitted to touch a woman before the King completes his period in this place also known as “Enaku Ezobwerinde”-meaning the days of tension. Through the period, the Kabaka chooses his Cabinet and strategizes on how to manage the affairs of the Kingdom.
From Bwanika, he is then taken to a place called Magato. Here, his feet are strapped with traditional sandals which in essence depict that his feet are ready to take on duty.After being strapped, the prince is now ready to be crowned king.
He is taken to Nakibuuka which is termed as akabira Nakibuuka meaning forest. Although this on sight is not what befits a forest description in present day, its very significant.
More rituals are performed here at Nakibuuka and the king is finally crowned and declared a king .
At this place present day Nakibuuka is also a platform that is said to be the place where religious leaders prayed for the current Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi the second and also the ground where the King took the oath of office wwith help of the Kingdom Attorney general.
From Nakibuuka, the king takes off time back to Bwanika house from where he emerges to be introduced to the subjects.
This area is called Ejolekero. Here as the king is introduced, there is jubilation and dancing and it becomes the first time the subjects see the newly enthroned king.
Being an area on the hill, he is also showed his territory through a spectacular view of the surrounding area.
Nagalabi Bbudo hill however away from the coronation sites has many other historical areas. Among them next to the Ejjolekero is the Omuwaffu Omuzadde or parent tree that the kings used to hold meetings This tree is believed to be hundreds of years old and has breast like roots.
It is believed at its foot, many came to pray for blessings including rain which were granted. To come close to this tree, it is norm to put off shoes a sit is considered sacred.
Another tree called Mboneredde loosely translated as “I have learnt my lessons” hence the tree being named after the phrase is another must see site here.
Mbonelede Tree is believed to be one of the oldest trees in Buganda Kingdom and the Country in general. It is believed that during Kintu’s rule, he used it as a Court.