EFFECTS OF THE KABAKA CRISIS OF 1953

EFFECTS OF THE KABAKA CRISIS OF 1953

In 1952 Sir Andrew Cohen was appointed as the new Governor of Uganda.




Misunderstandings soon cropped up between him and Kabaka Muteesa II of Buganda and this made Cohen to depose the Kabaka.

On 30th November 1953, he deported the Kabaka to London where he lived in exile till 1955.

The political confusion surrounding the deportation of the kabaka is referred to as the “Kabaka crisis”.

EFFECTS OF THE KABAKA CRISIS OF 1953




  • The crisis seriously undermined and terminated the Buganda Agreement of 1900. By disrespecting each, both the Kabaka and Governor Cohen broke the Agreement and rendered it null and void.
  • Kabaka Muteesa II was deportated to London where he stayed for two years till 1955 when he returned.
  • The crisis led to strained relations between the British and the former Baganda collaborators because of the deportation of their kabaka.
  • The kabaka crisis influenced the British to speed up the independence of Tanganyika more so because even in Kenya the Mau-Mau rebellion had broken out at the same time with the Kabaka crisis.




  • The crisis led to wide spread anger and discontent within Baganda and fuelled the growth of Baganda sub- nationalism. All Baganda’s including those who had served as the British puppets were demanding for the return of thier King.
  • Muteesa II became a hero since the number of Baganda had the monarchy at heart; Cohen had hoped that his exile would please some Ganda. However, he was proved wrong because the exiled King became more popular and indeed a hero. He remained the King of the Baganda even in his absence he was not replaced.
  • The crisis led to country wide protests, for the first time in history other tribes of Uganda cooperated with the Baganda in demanding for Buganda interests – return of the exiled Muteesa II. This proved a key step in the forging of national unity.




  • The crisis led to the rise of a self styled prophet – Kibuuka Kiganirwa Omumbale who operated from the hills of Mutundwe. He claimed divine powers from the Ganda gods and ancestors. He assured his followers that his prayers would secure the return of the Kabaka.
  • UNC became militant and radical in demanding for the return of the Kabaka. In 1954 it boycotted Asian and British shops, buses. This was intended to pressurize the British to return the Kabaka. This won support for UNC which had originally been suspected of trying to undermine the Kabaka’s powers.
  • The Young Baganda elites in the Lukkiko formed a committee which they sent to London to demand for the return of their Kabaka. The delegation which was led by Ignatius Musaazi included Eridadi Kironde, Thomas Makumbi and Apollo Kironde. However the colonial secretary rejected their requests.
  • The British stationed their troops at Mengo to prevent a possible Baganda riot. Similarly a state of emergency was declared in the Kingdom but the Baganda remained firm and united in their demand for the return of the Kabaka.
  • New political parties were formed during the crisis period for example DP was formed in 1954 and Progressive party in 1955. They demanded for the Kabaka’s return and the independence of Uganda.




  • The crisis led to the fleeing of Ignatius Musaazi to exile in Sudan for fear of being arrested and accused of the 1954 UNC boycott on Asian and European business.
  • The crisis led to internal divisions within the UNC between those who supported and those who did not support the UNC delegation to London. This later led to the splits within the UNC.
  • The crisis led to a breakdown in the speed process of independence which Cohen had wanted. The relationship between the Baganda and Cohen remained cool.
  • Other kings in Kingdom areas lived in fear unable to predict Cohen’s next step.
  • The labor party criticized the ruling conservative party in Britain of interfering in the cultural affairs of the Baganda in the House of Commons; a stormy debate erupted between conservatives and the labor party representatives.
  • The crisis led to the formation of the Keith Hancook Commission which studied the origins of the crisis and provided solutions. Professor Keith Hancook and his committee tried very much to restore the relationship between the British and the Baganda.
  • Th crisis resulted into the signing of the Namirembe Agreement 1955 by which the tensions between the British and the Baganda were eased. The position of Baganda and the Kabaka was discussed at length.




  • The Namirembe Agreement of 1955 recommended the return of the Kabaka and it modified the 1900 Agreement.
  • The crisis resulted into agreement that Buganda was to be part of the Uganda protectorate and the Kabaka was to become a constitutional monarch.
  • A ministerial system was introduced compromising of Africans, one European and one Asian.
  • An appointments’ Board was set up to appoint chiefs in Buganda. However the governor had powers to approve the appointment board.
  • Buganda was to adopt direct elections in future elections.
    NB: In all the conflicts it is importatant to note that Buganda has never outrightly come out to aske for a secession but it has always demanded for a federo status and a favored position in the politics of Uganda . This is the case to date.

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