Lubiri Memorial Day in Buganda Date in the current year: May 24, 2024

Lubiri Memorial Day in Buganda Lubiri Memorial Day is observed on May 24 in Buganda, a traditional kingdom located in present-day Uganda. On this day in 1966, the royal compound of the king of Buganda was destroyed during the Battle of Mengo Hill.

Buganda is one of the oldest traditional kingdoms in Africa. It was unified in the 14th century by the first kabaka (king) of Buganda Kato Kintu. Originally a vassal state of the Kingdom of Bunyoro, it grew to become the dominant power in the region in the 18th and 19th century.

As a result of the Scramble for Africa, Buganda became the heart of the British Protectorate of Uganda in 1894. The name “Uganda” given to the protectorate by the British actually means “Buganda” in Swahili. The British expanded the territory of the protectorate beyond the borders of Buganda, but the kingdom remained the administrative, economic and cultural center of Uganda.

In 1939, Edward Frederick Mutesa became kabaka of Buganda as Mutesa II. At first, he had a neutral relationship with the British Governor of Uganda, and many of his subjects felt that the king was uninterested in their welfare. This changed in 1953, when the British government came up with the plan to unite Uganda, Kenya and Tanganyika into one federation. Mutesa demanded that Buganda be separated from the rest of the protectorate. In response, the British Governor deposed and exiled him to London.

Mutesa was allowed to return to Buganda in 1955. Seven years later, Uganda gained independence from the United Kingdom. In 1963, Mutesa became the first president of Uganda and at the same time remained the ruler of the semi-autonomous Kingdom of Buganda within Ugandan federation. At first he had a good enough working relationship with Prime Minister Milton Obote, and the two formed a coalition. However, the coalition collapsed in 1964, and Mutesa and Obote’s mutual estrangement began to grow, resulting in a political crisis.

In February 1966, Obote deposed Mutesa and declared himself the new President of Uganda. In May, Buganda left the federation and demanded that the federal government vacate Kampala, which was simultaneously the capital of the Kingdom of Buganda and of Uganda. In response, Obote launched a military attack on Lubiri, Mutesa’s palace in Kampala’s suburb of Mengo.

Obote’s troops attacked Luburi on May 22, 1966. Although Mutesa’s supporters tried to protect him, two days later the palace was surrounded and set afire. Mutesa had to flee the country, and Buganda lost its autonomy, which led to a long-lasting conflict between Budangan monarchists and the government of Uganda. The Kingdom of Buganda was eventually restored in 1993, but its autonomy is now purely cultural.

May 24, the anniversary of the Battle of Mengo Hill and the destruction of Lubiri, is observed in Buganda as Lubiri Memorial Day. It is marked with remembrance ceremonies attended both by local politicians and by representatives of the central government. On the occasion of the observance, Bugandan politicians deliver speeches emphasizing the importance of preserving Budanga’s natural and cultural identity and, at the same time, peaceful coexistence and cooperation with other traditional kingdoms of Uganda and the Ugandan government.

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Lubiri Memorial Day in Buganda, holidays in Uganda, holidays in Buganda, regional observances, Kingdom of Buganda