Book review; Mwanga II: Resistance to British Colonial Rule

Saturday November 23 2013

Kabaka Mwanga II, Buganda Kingdom’s 31st king.

Kabaka Mwanga II, Buganda Kingdom’s 31st king. Through a book, Prof Lunyiigo revisits the condemnation of the late king. FILE PHOTO 

By Dr Asiimwe B. Godfrey

In Uganda and beyond, the mention of Mwanga II, the Kabaka of Buganda between 1884-1899, invokes repugnant chills of a primitive pre-colonial African autocrat.
Kabaka Mwanga, is particularly remembered for committing the heinous murder of the Uganda Martyrs, the worldwide revered Saints. In Uganda, Mwanga was the forerunner of Idi Amin and together, they were condemned to the dung-heap of history.

Mwanga in another view
However, in this book, Prof Samwiri Lwanga Lunyiigo, revisited the foregone condemnation of the late king by meticulously reconstructing Mwanga the King and person amidst the turbulent changes of his times.

By painstakingly piecing amazing facts from the most credible of sources, this book’s greatest achievement was to deconstruct Mwanga from the hitherto consummate villain to Mwanga the humane “reader” of admirable political and military acumen of his times.

The book compels a re-examination of Mwanga, with the possibility of appreciating his predicament and temptation of qualifying him as a valiant hero of his times.
In the book, Prof Lunyiigo takes us through the gravity of the turbulent changes and resultant factionalism that tore the core fabric of the Buganda Kingdom. The book documents Mwanga’s desperate endeavors to salvage his heritage and juggle the forces that were eroding his Kingdom.

The book compels a courageous interrogation of the true credentials of the new religions as servants of God or imperialism. The book presents the subsequent antagonistic forces as the swarmed and tossed Mwanga, who woke up to the reality of his kingdom’s disintegration at the altar of “modernity”.

This book is likely to call for a re-examination of the hitherto celebrated collaborators in the colonisation of Uganda and Africa at large.

Authour: Lunyiigo Lwanga Samwiri
Pages: 289
Price: Shs21,000
Available at: Wavah Books Ltd