Today in History: Omukama Kabalega Meets Emin Pasha

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22nd September 2020.

Today marks 143 years ever since Omukama Kabalega met Emin Pasha at Mparo.

Emin Pasha (28th March 1840 to 23rd October 1892) was a Governor of the Egyptian Province of Equatoria on the Upper Nile, who came to Bunyoro to convince Omukama Kabalega to accept colonialism.

Emin Pasha spent over 30 days in Bunyoro trying to convince Omukama Kabalega to accept colonialism, having arrived on the 22nd September 1877, a suggestion that Omukama Kabalega rejected.

Their meeting point has been preserved by Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom which erected a monument. Found at Mparo grounds, then Omukama Kabalega’s main palace,
The monument is a cone-shaped structure.

A closer analysis of the palace reveals that Kabalega met Pasha behind the palace, something which was unusual then. Dr. Yolam Nsamba, a cultural historian says such a gesture meant Kabalega was suspicious of Pasha’s intentions and he didn’t welcome him with an open heart due to the colonial agenda Pasha came with.

Omukama (king) Kabalega is widely known or remembered for openly resisting British governance in his Kingdom Bunyoro and in Uganda in general after the British Colonial Government allied within Buganda Kingdom to fight his Kingdom for opposing Colonialism.

Motivated by the need to weaken the only remaining independent and wealthy monarchy in the region, the British colonial government waged war on Bunyoro-kitara kingdom in  1880, causing great loss of life, damage and unnecessary suffering to the people of this once-mighty and prestige Kingdom.

Having put up and sustained fierce resistance for close to 9 years, upon betrayal of his close allies, Omukama Cwa II kabalega was captured in April 1899 and exiled in Seychelles where he survived for 23 years. In 1923, he was set free to return to his kingdom, but later died on his way in 1923 at a place called Mpumudde, in present-day Jinja District of Uganda.

Omukama Kabalega’s legacy still lives on. We welcome you to visit Bunyoro and explore the vast historical tourism sites therein.

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