Posts tagged ‘omukama’

Royal Order of the Omujwaara Kondo

I have written before about the Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara and its peculiar situation of being a fully legitimate kingdom located wholly within the borders of the Republic of Uganda, recognized by the constitution of Uganda.

The Kingdom has instituted 3 dynastic orders of chivalry with the senior most being the Royal Order of the Omujwaara Kondo, originally established some time in the 15th century and traditionally awarded to those who had won major military victories for the Kingdom. Over the centuries, it evolved and by the time of the early to mid 20th century, it had become an “Order of Distinction” as it was recognized in the treaties between Bunyoro-Kitara and the United Kingdom (1933 & 1955). This order, along with all others, continued to be granted until 1967 when the dictatorship of Uganda outlawed the royals and related institutions. It wasn’t until 1994 that the order was restored.

This order is a single grade order, split into two classes with Class I reserved for royals and heads of state while everyone else is admitted into the second class. Both classes have the exact same insignia, depicted above, except that Class I uses gold whereas Class I uses silver. The description of the insignia is:

An eight-pointed Azure star trimmed with stylized lilies with every other lily bearing a strip of lozenges radiating from the center of the insignia. In the circular center, the royal arms of the Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara surrounded by a circle trimmed in lozenges.

What is interesting about the Order of the Omujwaara Kondo is not just that it confers nobility to the admitted member, as there are several chivalric orders around the world that do so but, that this nobility is heritable as is the order itself! Perhaps it is more fair to compare it to a British baronetcy or hereditary knighthood rather than an order of chivalry.

However, as opposed to the rules of inheritance of baronetcies, the rule for the order is that it can only be inherited by the eldest child of the same gender as the bearer. In other words, if a female is awarded the order then only a daughter may inherit it and the nobility that goes with it. Conversely, if there are no children of the same gender, it becomes extinct.

The postnominal of the order is OOKB preceded by the generational number, much like any other title. Therefore, the 3rd to inherit the order would be the “John Q. Doe, 3rd OOKB“.

Another item that differentiates the Order of the Omujwaara Kondo from many other chivalric orders is that in the statutes one finds a set ratio of how many recipients may come from Bunyoro-Kitara (at least 20%) vs. how many from Uganda (at least 30%) vs how many from anywhere else in the world (no more than 50%).

“Omujwaara Kondo” translates to “Coronet Wearer” and this is depicted in the heraldic privileges of those honored to be admitted. All members of the order are permitted to use a coronet (if they already do not have one due to being a titled noble).

Other heraldic privileges:

  • May petition for and be granted supporters
  • May encircle their arms with a blue and red ribbon with the insignia of their class suspended from it

Those so honored, should also know that there are restrictions associated, namely:

  • May not eat potatoes (revoked)
  • May not eat beans (revoked)
  • May not eat “common foods” (revoked)
  • Must visit the Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara at least once

On a personal note, though not honored to have the Order of Omujwaraa Kondo, I am happy to know that the food restrictions have been lifted,in case I ever were awarded it 🙂

Related sites:


Kingdoms within the Republic of Uganda

Typically, republics and kingdoms aren’t compatible and don’t coexist homewever, there are some notable examples around the world that are the exceptions proving the rule.

Some of the better known kingdoms that are part of a republic are those that are within the Republic of Uganda. The kingdoms of Buganda, Bunyoro-Kitara, Busoga and Toro are ancient traditional kingdoms of Africa that long enjoyed local and international recognition, even by the British colonial powers.

Unfortunately, with the political upheavel that Uganda experienced in the late 1960’s the new government of Milton Obote forcefully disbanded all the traditional kingdoms. The constitution introduced in 1967 went a step further and fully outlawed them.

The famously violent regime of Idi Amin of the 1970’s was no better and it wasn’t until the democratically elected government of 1993 re-established them. Then in 1995, the new constitution fully recognized these ancient kingdoms in law and the powers of their leaders or Kings. The 2005 amendment to the constitution re-affirmed the position of these Kings, further confirming their status in Ugandan society.

Though these Kingdoms are fully recognized in law, they are not fully sovereign politically. However, they do have considerable political influence and regularly meet with government leaders.

As mentioned above, the only four kingdoms recognized in Ugandan law are the following:

Buganda is the largest of the subnational kingdoms of Uganda and the namesake of the country and covers about 17% of the population of the country. The traditional title of the King of Buganda is “Kabaka” and the current Kabaka is Muwenda Mutebi II.

Bunyoro-Kitara is the second largest of the Ugandan kingdoms and the only one that was once an empire controlling a large swath of the land that is Uganda today. The traditional title of the King of Bunyoro-Kitara is “Omukama” and the current Omukama is Solomon Iguru I.

Busoga is another ancient Ugandan kingdom that is smaller than those above. The traditional title of the King “Kyabazinga” and the last one to hold the title was Henry Wako Muloki. Unfortunately, there has been strife among the leaders of the Kingdom and a successor has not yet been chosen.

Toro was once part of the Bunyoro Empire and was created in 1830 when the eldest son of the Omukama rebelled and founded his own kingdom. The Kingdom of Toro also names its King “Omukama” and the current holder of the title is Rukidi IV.


Links of interest:


Note: Images from Wikipedia