Buganda mourns 'the most brave woman of all time in Buganda Kingdom'

The Buganda Kingdom has organised a committee of five members to give the woman acclaimed for hiding Kabaka Muteesa II at the peak of the Buganda Crisis, a proper send off.

Angelina Nabakooza, Buganda mourns 'the most brave woman of all time in Buganda Kingdom'

109-year-old Angelina Nabakooza passed on Thursday September 29, 2022 at her home in Nsambya village, Lwentare parish, Mitima Sub-county in Sembabule District where she has been the pride and joy of the people of Mawogola County and Sembabule as a whole.

The committee will be chaired by David Kyewalabye Male, assisted by William SK Matovu, Muhammad Sserwadda, Jude Muleke and Joseph Mugaga.

In a statement made on September 29, the Buganda Kingdom information minister, Noah Kiyimba, honoured Nabakooza as “the most brave woman of all time in Buganda Kingdom" for giving Sir Edward Muteesa II a safe haven when his life was in danger from then Prime Minister, Apollo Milton Obote.

In May 23, 1966, Muteesa made a run for it following a confrontation between Idi Amin's troops and the Royal Guards at the Mengo Palace.

According to the reigning monarch, Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, at the time, the Kingdom thought Muteesa had been killed in the altercation in the four days that followed.

“We thought he was dead for three or four days. Nobody knew what had happened to him,” he said in an interview.

Meanwhile, Muteesa's escape journey had taken him down the dirt roads from Lubaga Cathedral heading West. When he reached Ssembabule, he decided to catch a break when one of his aides, identified as Mumiransananfu, established connection with Nabakooza. Safe in the knowledge that her allegiance was to the Kabaka, the two stayed with her for 20 days during which she nourished them.

However, this safety would soon be shattered by the military manhunt that was launched to search for him, and a Shs250,000 (present day Shs60 million) reward for any information about Muteesa's whereabouts.

“The Kabaka appeared two months later, I think in July 1966, in Bujumbura from where arrangements were made to process onward travel papers for him to go to London,” said Joyce Mpanga, an esteemed Muganda.

Although Muteesa died a few years later from alcohol poisoning in London, Nabakooza's act of bravery was forever embedded in Buganda's history.

In March 2009, she was awarded the kingdom's most excellent order of bravery, the Order of the Shield and Spears (Ekitiibwa ky’Amafumu n’Engabo).

Stephen Lwetutte, human rights activist and lawyer based in London, wrote a tribute in rememberance of the life of the Late Angelina Nabakooza.

"An unsung hero until 2009 when she was awarded Buganda’s highest honour, The Order of the Shield and Spears (Ekitiibwa ky’Amafumu n’Engabo), the late Angelina Nabakooza formed an ever dwindling generation of eyewitnesses to the illegal assault on Buganda in May 1966.

It is such a relief that she was honoured in life, along with many others, in recognition of her services to the kingdom, specifically for her role in protecting Ssekabaka Muteesa II for the month he spent in Uganda after Obote’s attack on May 23, 1966, before fleeing into exile.

In so doing, she made and contributed to Uganda’s contemporary history and she would, in normal countries, also be recognised and honoured by the central authorities, since Buganda history is no doubt also Uganda’s destiny. Be that as it may, Nabakooza’s name will forever be etched on Buganda’s collective memory, even in her death!

She has lived an extraordinarily long life and been able to witness that sad chapter in the history of Buganda and Uganda since the criminal attack, but also to have the opportunity, on a happier note, to be honoured by none other than Kabaka Muwenda Mutebi II himself. Rest thee well, our beautiful heroine!’" the tribute reads.

Her grandson, Leo Kayiwa, described her as a source of security and nurturing for her loved ones.

“We will miss our grandma because she has been a rock within our family,” Kayiwa said.

Wamala Kuwatanya Mawogola, a representative in Buganda Lukiiko (Parliament), applauded the deceased for bringing glory to the kingdom and that her act of valour will be remebered for years to come.

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