He was born at the home of Sir Albert Cook in Makindye, Kampala on November 19, 1924. He was the fifth son of Kabaka Captain Sir Daudi Chwa II, KCMG, KBE, Kabaka of Buganda, who reigned between 1897 and 1939. His mother was Lady Irene Drusilla Namaganda, of the Nte (Cow) clan. He was proclaimed Kabaka upon the death of his father on November 22, 1939 at age fifteen (15) years. He was installed outside the Lubiri, at Mengo on 26th November 1939. He reigned under a Council of Regents until he came of age and assumed full ruling powers. He was crowned at Budo on November 19, 1942 at age eighteen (18) years.
H.R.H. Mutesa II, Kabaka of Buganda from
the Uganda Independence Souvenir Programme,
printed by the Government Printers, Entebbe
Mutesa was educated at King's College Budo, a prestigious school in Uganda. He became the King of Buganda in 1939 upon the death of his father, King Daudi Chwa II. He attended Magdalene College, Cambridge in England where he joined an officer training corps and was commissioned as a captain in the Grenadier Guards. At that time, Buganda was part of the British protectorate of Uganda.
The years between 1945 and 1950 saw widespread protests against both the British Governor's and King Mutesa's governments. In the early 1950s the British Government floated the idea of uniting British East Africa (Uganda, Kenya and Tanganyika) into a federation. Africans feared that this would lead to their coming under the control of Kenya's white settler community, as had happened in Rhodesia. The Baganda, fearing they would lose the limited autonomy they had under British rule, were particularly opposed.
Image by Betmann/COBRIS
Mutesa opposed the proposal, and thus came into conflict with the British Governor, Sir Andrew Cohen. Cohen deposed and exiled the Kabaka in 1953, creating massive protest among the Baganda. After two years in exile Mutesa was allowed to return to the throne under a negotiated settlement which made him a constitutional monarch and gave the Baganda the right to elect representatives to the kingdom's parliament, the Lukiiko. Mutesa's standing up to the Governor greatly boosted his popularity in the kingdom.
Mutesa returned to Uganda and his throne in 1955. In 1962 Uganda became independent from Britain under the leadership of Milton Obote. Under the country's new constitution, the Kingdom of Buganda was a semi-autonomous part of a federation. The federal Prime Minister was Obote, leader of the Uganda People's Congress, which was in a governing coalition with the dominant Buganda regional party, Kabaka Yekka. The post of Governor General was abolished in 1963 and replaced by a non-executive president, a post that Mutesa held.
The coalition between Mutesa and Obote's parties collapsed in 1964 over the matter of a referendum which transferred two counties from Buganda to Bunyoro.
In 1966 Mutesa's estrangement from Obote merged with another crisis. Obote faced a possible removal from office by factional infighting within his own party. He had the other four leading members of his party arrested and detained, and then suspended the constitution and declared himself President in February 1966, deposing Mutesa. The Buganda regional Parliament passed a resolution in May 1966 declaring that Buganda's incorporation into Uganda had de jure ended with the suspension of the constitution and asking the federal government to vacate the capital, which is in Buganda. Obote responded with an armed attack upon the King's palace, sending Mutesa into exile in United Kingdom via Burundi, and a new constitution in 1967 which abolished all of Uganda's kingdoms, including Buganda.
While in exile Mutesa wrote a published autobiography, "The Desecration of My Kingdom"
Kabaka Mutesa II had 18 children with 11 sons and 7 daugters. their names are mentioned below in no particular order.
Prince (Kiweewa) Robert Masamba Kimera, Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, Prince (Omulangira) Suuna Frederick Wampamba, Prince (Omulangira) Henry Kalemeera, Prince (Omulangira) George Michael Ndawula, Prince (Omulangira) Richard Walugembe Bamweyana, Prince (Omulangira) Katabaazi Mukarukidi, Prince (Omulangira) Patrick Nakibinge, Prince (Omulangira) Daudi Golooba, Prince (Omulangira) Herbert Kateregga,Prince (Omulangira) Daudi Kintu Wasajja, Princess (Omumbejja) Dorothy Kabonesa Namukaabya, Princess (Omumbejja) Dina Kigga Mukarukidi, Princess (Omumbejja) Anne Sarah Kagere Nandawula, Princess (Omumbejja) Catherine Agnes Nabaloga, Princess (Omumbejja) Alice Mpologoma Zaalwango, Princess (Omumbejja) Diana Balizza Muggale Teyeggala, Princess (Omumbejja) Stella Ndagire.