Lesson Two – Sub topic: Nationalism in Uganda

2.1       KABAKA CRISIS OF 1953

It was a political misunderstanding between the governor Sir Andrew Cohen and the Kabaka of Buganda Muteesa 11.

It followed the British introduction of the idea of the East African Federation which was rejected by Kabaka Muteesa 11 and mobilized the Baganda to do so.

Muteesa 11  went ahead and demanded for the independence of Buganda alone which resulted into his  deportation by Andrew Cohen to England on 30th November, 1953 due to his failure to co-operate loyally as the 1900 Buganda Agreement demanded.

This didn’t result into the British expectation since the Baganda didn’t show any sign of submission to them but instead just stood firm and started demanding for the return of their king.

It involved a lot of tension, mistrust and suspension between the two.

This created a non-violent but a confused situation in Buganda referred to as the Kabaka crisis.


  • Constitutional adverse in 1945. Buganda was placed at the same footing with other regions such as Ankole and Busoga.
  • Kabaka’s refusal to send a representative in the legislative council as demanded by the government.
  • The need to set up local councils which were to be controlled by the colonial government and to resist the fragment of the country into the federation of states.
  • Development of legislated council into a small national assembly.
  • Formation of the Uganda National Congress (UNC) as the major political party on 2nd1952 by I.K Musaazi which was aimed at uniting all people that was seen as a threat to the Kabakaship and Lukiiko by Buganda.
  • Colonial secretary olive Lyttelton’s proposal for the East African Federation.
  • The support that was given to Muteesa 11 by his subjects. i.e the lukiiko and other provinces like Busoga since they were all against the idea.
  • Kabaka’s refusal to guarantee co-operation with the protectorate government.
  • The deportation of the kabaka to England and the British government withdrawal of Muteesa 11 as the ruler of Buganda.


  • Mulira Eridadi, Thomas Makumbi and Apollo Kironde were sent to plead for Muteesa’s return.
  • The position of the Kabaka was re-defined. He was to become a constitutional mornach.
  • Elections of the lukiiko members were a responsibility of the Ssaza/ county chiefs before the king.
  • Lukiiko was to nominate Kabaka’s ministers but they were to be approved by the governor.
  • Buganda was to elect members to the legislative council like other provinces of Uganda.
  • There were to be no further constitutional changes for the next 7(seven) years.
  • Muteesa 11 was to return if the lukiiko invited him and he returned on 7th1955.
  • Rejection of the National Assembly election in 1961 and fresh elections were organized in 1962 and the kabaka Yekka party was formed.
  • Violation of the Buganda Agreement by both the British and Buganda. i.e Sir Andrew Cohen refused to recognize the kabaka as the supreme ruler of Buganda and Buganda’s demands for independence resulted into increased riots in Buganda.
  • It led to increased number of Africans on the legislative council to 30 members.
  • It provided the basis for the formation of political parties. E.g Democratic Party-1956, UPC-1960 and Kabaka Yekka in 1962.
  • It quickened the political developments in Uganda that resulted into the attaining of independence in 1962.
  • It led to the signing of the Namirembe Agreement on 18th1955 which changed the 1900 Buganda Agreement. E.g It made the Kabaka a constitutional monarch.
  • Buganda was accepted to remain with its legislative council together with its members as representatives to the general legislative council.
  • A state of emergency was declared in Buganda region in which many Baganda strikers were arrested by the colonial government.
  • It led to hatred of the British and white men in general by the Baganda. i.e the crisis destroyed the relationship between them.
  • Men in Buganda allowed their beards to grow long and wore bark clothes as a sign of mourning.
  • The federation of East Africa was not to be imposed on Buganda and other regions 

Qn :     What were the effects of the 1953 Kabaka crisis?