My article titled “How Rujumbura’s Bairu got impoverished” in the Weekly Observer of December 4-10, 2008 has raised questions that require clarification by looking briefly at the history of the short-lived
The topic has been covered in more detail in chapter 8 of my new book titled “
There is general agreement that the kingdom lasted a short time. The exact period varies. Karugire wrote that it was established around 1650 and lasted 100 years to 1750. Ehret believes it was established in the last quarter of the seventeenth century and lasted until the early eighteenth century. The pastoralist groups lost their special political position, and many returned to the
The people of Mpororo are called Bahororo. The kingdom covered north-north-east of contemporary
When the kingdom collapsed, it left behind dispersed clans and principalities. “The clan chiefs (more so the agriculturalists [Bairu] than the pastoralists [Bashambu]) conserved the memory of this ephemeral kingdom” (Chretien, 2006). Mpororo went out of use and did not figure on any map of
The settlement of Bahororo in Rujumbura is provided by Paul Ngorogoza (19980 and Denoon, in Ugoigwe 1982). Ngorogoza wrote that “About 1750, Kahaya arrived in Rujumbura while he was travelling with one of his sons, Kirenzi, and he found that the county was attractive. He told his son ‘when the Bahinda [ruling clan of Nkore] drive you from Mpororo, come and settle in Rujumbura’…. When Kahaya died, his son continued to visit Rujumbura, but always returned to Mpororo, and died while he was preparing to settle in Rujumbura. The task therefore fell on his son Rwebiraro who came to Rujumbura in about 1800 [at the earliest 50 years after the
Donald Denoon in Uzoigwe (1982) added that “Two or three generations [a generation is about 30 years] later [after the disintegration of Mpororo kingdom], another segment of the Bashambo spread their authority in Rujumbura to the north west, establishing another municipality over a mixture of pastoralists [with short horn cattle] and agriculturalists and bringing with them the identity of Mpororo, despite the fact that Mpororo as a state no longer existed except in memory”.
The three points being underlined here are that – (1) Mpororo kingdom had a short existence and disappeared from the map of