BUGANDA’S ROYAL MILE-Buganda’s ancient thoroughfare

BUGANDA’S ROYAL MILE-Buganda’s ancient thoroughfare

Between Buganda Kingdom’s administrative center (Bulange) and the Official palace of the Kingdom, is a 1.6km road famously known as “Kabaka’ njagala” road or Royal Mile.  The road is an asset and holds a lot of history and heritage of the Buganda Kingdom. When the former King of Buganda- Kabaka Muteesa II visited Scotland, he toured the Royal mile from Edinburgh Castle to the Scottish Parliament Building and replicate the idea of the royal mile trail on the Mengo hill.  

On either side of the Royal Mile, are sculptures representing the 54 clans of Buganda. Each sculpture identifies a clan and its totem and has a tree beside it. There are a total of 54 trees known as Kabaka’ njagala trees. In the middle of the Royal mile is a roundabout made of a sculpture of a long drum known as “Engalabi”. The roundabout has 2 gates on either side and it is only the Kabaka that can go through. In Buganda, the Kabaka has different titles and one of them is “Lukoma Nantawetwa” which means the King can’t go round. This was constructed after Sir Edward Muteesa visited Ethiopia where he got the idea from his friend Emperor El Selassie. 

Inside the “Lubiri”-Palace is an office and the second roundabout before entering through the fence that surrounds the King’s castle. The castle was built by Kabaka Muteesa II though it was later captured by the government of Dr. Apollo Obote. During the political war in the 1970s the palace was stormed by Idi Amin’s soldiers and after several days of fighting the King was forced to exile. A cannon that was given to Idi Amin by the then Libyan President, Muammar Gadhafi exists inside the palace as memorabilia.

After the war, some of the houses were given to soldiers and a site was built as an armory and torture chambers. Site Guides here will lead you to the dark tunnel and in the compound are the remains of the King’s Rolls Royce.  Because of the bloodshed here, the King was forced to shift and stay in another palace but uses the palace here for official reasons.

The Royal Mile has retained historic buildings of Buganda, like the Mwanga II Court, the first flat house, the Sir Apollo Kagwa House where Daudi Chwa became King at the age of 1 year and 3 months was born and the house for the current prime minister.

While in Uganda, one can take one city tour and include a visit to the Palace, and Walk the royal mile as part of the cultural tour.

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