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Why Uganda’s DP can only be saved by the Catholic Church – PART 2

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This is a long history which we have broken down into 6 PART

Why Uganda’s DP can only be saved by the Catholic Church – PART 2

Why Uganda’s DP can only be saved by the Catholic Church – PART 3

Why Uganda’s DP can only be saved by the Catholic Church – PART 4

Why Uganda’s DP can only be saved by the Catholic Church – PART 5

Why Uganda’s DP can only be saved by the Catholic Church – PART 6

At the time Emin Pasha was in Sudan’s Equatorial Province planning to annex Bunyoro and Buganda for Turkey.  To forestall this, the IBEA company hastly despatched Capt. F. D. Lugard to Buganda.  He came with a Strong force comprised of Somali and Swahili soldiers but above all he had the infamous Maxim Gun that could fire 500 rounds per minute. Without seeking permission from Mwanga, he set up his base at Old Kampala. A few days later he forced Mwanga to sign an agreement placing Buganda under the protection of the IBEA.  Around the same time Bishop Tucker arrived to become the first Anglican Bishop of the province of Uganda.  The majority Catholics converts had the unbaptised Kabaka Mwanga and more white missionaries while the minority Protestants had the powerful Apollo Kagwa and Captain Lugard.

Lugard wrote to the arms dealer, Charles Stokes to stop supplying Mwanga with arms before he helped beat off a Muslim invasion from Bunyoro.  He went to Ankole and signed a treaty with the King stopping arms from reaching Kabalega and in Tooro he reinstated King Kasagama who had been deposed by Kabalega.  He enrolled the Sudanese troops (that had been disbanded by Emin Pasha) into the services of the IBEA Co.  By late 1891 IBEA had become cash strapped and Lugard was ordered to wind up and leave Uganda.

The Protestant Bishop Tucker raised the money from CMS to fund Lugard’s stay in Uganda.  Bishop Tucker feared that Lugard’s departure would strengthen the Catholic; French and posed a potential for the Germans to make incursions into Uganda. Cecil Rhodes the British agent in Rhodesia (present day Zimbabwe and Zambia) also contributed cash to IBEA for Lugard’s continued stay in Uganda.  In England, the CMS went on a rigorous campaign to rise funds and drum up support for turning Uganda into a British colony.

With growing influence of the Protestants, the Catholics accused Lugard of partisanship in settling disputes between Protestants and Catholics.  Earlier on, Mwanga had defiantly pulled down IBEA flag before he defiantly led a jubilant procession of his Catholic subjects to attend a Catholic service on New Year day at Rubaga.  On January 1892, a Protestant grabbed a gun from a Catholic.  The affected Catholic waylaid another Protestant from whom he also grabbed a gun and ran away with it.  The Protestant whose gun had been grabbed pursued the Catholic gun grabber and the in the process the Protestant was shot dead.  The Catholics refused even to handover the corpse to the Protestants for burial. The Catholic Mwanga ruled in favour of the Catholic assailant but though reluctantly pressed by Lugard, Mwanga later allowed the corpse to be returned but tension was rising.

Lugard had exercised restraint owing to the fact that most of his Protestant troops had gone to Kyagwe and Bulemezi.  Amidst growing tension, on the night of 22nd January 1892 Lugard issued a few guns to Apollo Kagwa for the Protestant troops.  The Catholics came to know about it and the following day the Catholic and Mwanga army assembled at Mengo and Rubaga hills in battle formations.  Lugard issued more arms to the Protestants and war broke out.  The Catholics took an early advantage against the militarily weaker Protestants at Namirembe hill. Lugard with his Maxim gun intervened on the side of the Protestants.

The Catholics who had not anticipated Lugard’s siding with the Protestants devastatingly lost the war within a few hours of its commencement. The victorious Protestants pursued the fleeing Catholics, burnt their homes, burnt Rubaga Catholic Church and the Mwanga’s palace at Mengo.  In the fracas, the Catholic Dr. George was killed but Lugard managed to rescue the white Catholic priests.  Mwanga fled to Bulingugwe island in Lake Victoria while the majority Catholic converts took refuge in Buddu, Masaka.  That is why to this day, Masaka has a strong Catholic presence and a DP strong hold.  At the time, Buddu was extending to some parts of present day Tanzania up to River Kagera.

At Bulingugwe Island Mwanga was joined by his Catholic army chiefs, Stanslus Mugwanya and Gabudyeri Kintu and a sizeable number of Catholic fighters.  With Lugard’s blessing, Catholic Bishop Hirthe travelled to Bulingugwe Islands in order to convince Mwanga to return to his throne but Mwanga defiantly refused.  At the time Buganda lacked royals and Lugard turned to Mwanga’s uncle, Nuhu Mbogo (whom the Muslims recognised as their King) with proposals for him to be installed as King of Buganda.  The Protestants vehemently protested to the extent of writing to IBEA with suggestions to have Lugard replaced by “a God-fearing man”.

On 30th January 1892, Lugard sent Captain Williams to attack Mwanga at Bulingugwe Island.  With the Maxim gun mounted at Munyonyo beach to provide covering fire, the Protestant and Sudanese troops set off in a fleet of canoes for Bulingugwe Island.  During the attack, Mwanga and his close ally, Bishop Hirthe escaped to Bukoba in the German territory while his Army Commander Gabudyeri Kintu escaped to Buddu, Masaka.  The attacks and plunder by Protestant troops in various parts of Buganda continued unabetted and it is estimated that the entire campaign claimed 700 people.

In Kampala, the Protestants moved to consolidate their victory; Apollo Kagwa took over the reign of power in Buganda with the tittle of Ssebwana (protector of kingdom).  He appointed only a Protestant administration. From Bukoba, Mwanga found his way to Buddu and regrouped his fighters. Lugard couldn’t afford a Buganda Kingdom without a King and he once again initiated secret talks with Mwanga. The Catholic Bishop Hirthe and his group wanted Mwanga to fight on and forcefully regain his throne.  Tired of Bishop Hirthe’s manipulation, on 30th March 1892 Mwanga stealthily handed himself to Lugard and his Protestant collaborators and was reinstated to the throne.

The Catholic Bishop Hirthe suggested to Lugard to have all Buganda territory divided between the Catholics and Protestants.  By agreement, Buganda territory was divided amongst the three religious factions; the Catholics were allotted 8 counties, the Protestants took 10 counties and the Muslims were allotted 2 counties.  Ssese Island was exclusively shared between the Catholics and Protestants.  This territorial redistribution led to major emigration of native people who preferred to live with people and under chiefs of their religious affiliation.

Captain Lugard left Uganda and was replaced by Sir Gerald Portal who on the advice of the Protestant Bishop Tucker took down the IBEA flag and raised the British flag, Union Jack on 1st April, 1893.  The British government had sent Gerald Portal to inquire into the viability of making Uganda a British colony but instead he had been influenced by the Protestant white missionaries to arbitrarily and illegally rise the British flag.


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