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The International Commission on Nobility and
The King and the Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara
(See Additional Articles below)
This kingdom, once the most powerful in East Africa, was created out of a former
empire and is one of the oldest on the continent. It has an inspiring history, a rich culture,
and a bright future.
His Majesty Rukirabasaija Agutamba King Solomon Gafabusa Iguru the First, is the forty-ninth
Omukama of Bunyoro-Kitara. He is the twenty-seventh King (Omukama) of his dynasty, which is the
royal Babiito dynasty.
On July 24, 1993, the Republic of Uganda constitutionally re-established the
traditional kingdoms that thrived in ancient times but had been abolished by a dictator in 1967.
Unlike the broad political power and rights the ancient kings held, the new kings have no
political power per se. However, they serve as titular heads of the various regional governments
in Uganda, as codified in 8(a) of the Fifth Schedule of the Article 178 of the Constitution of
the Republic of Uganda (2005 Amendment). In addition, His Majesty King Solomon Iguru was
specifically recognized as the rightful King of Bunyoro-Kitara by the Supreme Court of Uganda
(see Civil Appeal 18/94 Prince J.D.C. Mpuga Rukidi vs. Prince Solomon Iguru and Hon. Henry
Kajura and All Members of the Committee of Coronation of Prince Solomon Iguru of April 25,
1994). Similar to other reigning monarchs, the traditional kings currently serve as "cultural
" or "traditional leaders
" and are barred from engaging in
politics. As such, these "living symbols
" are an inspiration in remembrance of
the greatness of the past. They are regional heads, reigning and serving accordingly. But King
Solomon Iguru 1st is more. Because his ancestors never renounced their rights, never abdicated
the kingdom, never ceded sovereignty, suffered exile rather than capitulate and concede
anything, they maintained their original royal status and sovereign rights under the rules of
" This is very significant as King Solomon is not simply a
constitutional king. He is also the heir to a dynasty that has kept all its ancient rights
Long before the British ever encountered them, the kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara had all the ancient
trappings of royalty and majesty, including courts, councils, clans, chieftainships, hereditary
officers, territories, ceremonies, recognitions of the equivalency of knighthoods, titles,
crowns, scepters, and other symbols of sovereignty. It was a well-organized and prosperous
kingdom in every sense of the word. (Ibid.) Kingship within Bunyoro-Kitara was determined as
First, the kingship is hereditary in the male line. . . . Succession is not
predetermined; any son of a king . . . may inherit [the throne]: which one does so depends on
the support he can command. Often two, sometimes three or more, eligible princes have competed
for the succession after their father's death. So, in Bunyoro as in some other kingdoms,
there was a period of lawlessness and anarchy between reigns, an interregnum during which
warring factions made life for ordinary people dangerous and uncertain. To them, it was plain
that the maintenance of the kingship was a condition of security and of national well-being, for
when it was suspended the country was reduced to chaos and confusion. (J.
H. M. Beattie, "Bunyoro: An African Feudality?," The Journal of African
History, vol. 5, no. 1, 1964, p . 29)
The ancient succession battles, having caused numerous problems, gave rise to a less aggressive
succession system. In 1933, and re-affirmed in 1955, it was officially proclaimed that the
King of Bunyoro-Kitara could nominate his successor prior to his death from any of the following
(a) The Omukama's sons;
(b) the Omukama's sons' sons;
(c) the Omukama's sons' sons' sons;
(d) the Omukama's brothers;
(e) the Omukama's brothers' sons;
(f) the Omukama's brothers' sons' sons;
(g) other direct male descendants of the Omukama Kabarega. ("The Bunyoro
Agreement," between Bunyoro and the British government in 1933 & 1955)
From the late 1800's, the Kings of Bunyoro-Kitara were:
Omukama Yohana Kabarega CHWA II 1869-1873 deposed and reinstated 1873-1898
Omukama Kabugungu OLIMI VI 1873 (abdicated)
Omukama Yosiya William Karukara KITAHIMBWA I 1898-1902
Omukama Andereya Bisereko DUHAGA II 1902-1924, born 1882, died 1924
Omukama Tito Gafabusa WINYI IV 1924-1967, born 1883, died 1971
The late Omukama Sir Tito Gafabusa Winyl IV, Knight Commander of the Most
Excellent Order of the British Empire, Rukirabasaija Agutamba Omukama (king) of the Kingdom of
Bundoro-Kitara lawfully nominated his son Prince Solomon Iguru on October 22, 1962 by a written
document according to the rules of succession. Upon his death in 1971, Prince Solomon Iguru
". . . was installed as heir . . . to the throne and he duly performed the
requisite ceremonies and rites in accordance with Bunyoro Customs, Tradition and Culture.
(Prince Mpuga Rukidi vs. Prince Solomon Iguru, Civil Appeal 18/94, May 17, 1996, Supreme Court
of Uganda) On June 11, 1994, he was crowned the 27th Omukama in the Babiito dynasty of
As a constitutional honorary king as well as a rightful "de jure
" king, he has
the right to honor others. One ancient honor, called the Omujwaara Kondo (plural form: Abajwara
Kondo), was recognized as an Order. It was ". . . [officially] recognized as an
old-established Order of distinction in the Kingdom [by the British in 1933]. . . . The Omukama
[could] bestow the distinction of membership of this Order upon any . . . who has rendered
service of outstanding merit to the Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara.
" ("The Bunyoro
" 1955, §12 & 1933, §10) Members of this ancient honor were,
and are, given the hereditary title of "Omujwaara Kondo
which has the equivalency of a knight or dame in the European tradition. The honor of Omujwaara
Kondo is believed to date back to the 1400's, although records were orally kept and are not
The power and right to confer such honors is, of course, fully active today in the King and such
honors have and are being rightfully conferred on worthy individuals from time to time. This
special sovereign authority and right is called a "fons honorum", which is the
right of a sovereign to be a "fount of honor" or a "fountain of
honor" for others. It is a well-known fact that "de jure" or deposed
kings can confer knighthoods and other high honors to others. Brien Horan, JD, legal advisor to
the U. S. Embassy in Paris and Grand Duke Wladimir's personal lawyer, explained:
The exercise of the royal prerogative by the heads of deposed dynasties is discussed in a
number of scholarly articles, including "The Royal Prerogative and its Use by the Heirs
to Former Thrones" by Guy Stair Sainty and "The Social Recognition of Titles of
Honours" by the late Sir Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, 11th
Bart., Ph.D., LL.B, Albany Herald, an article published in Royalty, Peerage and Nobility of the
World (London, 1976), pp. 663-670. See also The Jacobite Peerage by the Marquis of Ruvigny and
Raineval (Edinburgh, 1904), which examines peerages created in exile from 1688 to 1788 by the
deposed senior line of the English Royal House, as legitimist claimants to the throne. The basis
for these many precedents of titles conceded by the heads of formerly sovereign houses is the
juridical notion that de facto loss of sovereignty does not deprive a dynastic head of his
rights as a fons honorum.
Dr. Pangloss declared:
The view that heads of deposed dynasties retain [keep and preserve] the capacity of fons
honorum is well grounded in the laws and customs that have shaped the nature of royalty in
Europe over the ages. In this view, possession of fons honorum is a dynastic attribute
inherited by the head of any sovereign house whether he has reigned or not. . . .
In discussing the rights of H.M. King Kigeli V, the deposed king of Rwanda to grant titles and
orders, Dr. W. H. Jones, declared,
Similarly, the King of Bunyoro-Kitara is granting some of the ancient honors of his kingdom to
those of outstanding merit.
During the time of the reign of Chwa II Kabalega, King Solomon Iguru,
grandfather, the kingdom came under direct and relentless attack, because of the invasion of the
country by agents of the British government in 1872. British domination followed despite the
determined armed resistance of Kabalega and his followers ". . . until in 1899 the
valiant Omukama [king Kabalega] was defeated and eventually sent into exile in the Seychelles
" (Stewart Addington Saint-David, "All All Men: The Changing Role of the
Omukama in Christianized Bunyoro," p. 4: see his article "Crown, Spears and Drums"
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Thereafter, the Bunyoro Kings strenuously resisted and opposed outside rule. None of them ceded
sovereignty, but instead maintained it according to international law principles and by the
rules of "prescription.
" In so doing, they preserved their sovereign rights.
(See: "Sovereignty: Questions
") Hence, the King of Bunyoro today is not just a regional
king as head of the regional government of Bunyoro, but in addition is a true sovereign
" king. As such, he has all the rights of a true "fons
Dr. Stephen P. Kerr, a World Court Litigator and Special International Legal Counsel to the
House of Habsburg-Lorraine, made it clear that, ". . .de jure possession of sovereignty
continues so long as the de jure [deposed or dethroned] ruler or government does not surrender
his sovereignty to the usurper.
" (See "Dynastic Law
(Johann Wolfgang Textor, Synopsis Juris Gentium
, Chapter 10, Nos. 9-11, 1680)
This was once discussed by Thomas Hobbs in the 17th Century. He stated, “His [the
sovereign’s] power cannot, without his consent, be transferred to another: he cannot forfeit it.
. . .
” (Hobbes, Lev XX 2-3) (http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/h
In other words, the consistent resistance of the Kings of Bunyoro-Kitara to colonial domination
means that they never forfeited their sovereignty. They never surrendered and continue to use
their ancient titles along with maintaining their customs, rites, and ceremonies as rulers.
Baroni W. Santos, in his book Treaty of Heraldry, declared:
The doctrine [of dynastic law] and [international] jurisprudence have confirmed that the
territorial power is not necessary for the exercise of the dynasty, for they are inserted in
the person of the sovereign, which keeps the same after the loss of the throne, passing them
regularly to their heirs and successors [ad infinitum or forever].
[In other words] the loss of its territory in no way diminishes its sovereign powers, [in the
least] because these are inherent in the person of the sovereign, transmitting it,
perpetually to their descendants. (Vol. I, 5th ed., 1978, p. 197-198)
Jean J. Burlamaqui, one of the great philosophers in international law wrote, "Every
[sovereign has] a right to succeed in his rank, and transmits this right to his descendants, . .
. though he has never reigned himself, that is to say, the right of the deceased passes to the living
" over and over again from one
generation to another. As long there are living heirs of a dynasty that uses their titles to
preserve their rank, the fons honorum is perpetually and endlessly maintained throughout time.
King Solomon Iguru is a full "de jure" sovereign with all the rights,
privileges and royal honors of such, because both he and his ancestors obeyed the international
jurisprudence which preserves such rights in perpetuity.
Other articles in this section:
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