Tanzania chiefs and monarchs (Machifu wa Tanzania)

Tanganyika as it was called over 50 years ago had monarchs, kings, sultans and chiefs ruling the many different tribal communities. These royal dynasties and royal families have existed for centuries and held immense power and influence among their people. Remember they were the negotiators who signed treaties with the colonialists as the heads of these many communities. Some of them even helped a great deal in achieving independence of Tanganyika from the colonialists.

Unfortunately after attaining independence in 1962, they were abolished by the first government of Julius Nyerere. Some of these monarchs entered into the civil service and served their government as cabinet ministers and officers of the government.

While their influence diminished overtime, some tribal communities continued the tradition of crowning new monarchs after one passes on. Their roles today are mainly traditional as heads of these clans or tribes.


Zanzibar or sultanate of Zanzibar was a monarchical Sultanate that was ruled by the al said dynasty who are related to the Oman royal dynasty. In 1856 the Sultanate of Oman and Zanzibar was split into two, with one son ruling Oman and another Zanzibar. The dynasty initially ruled the Zanzibar archipelago and the 16km coastline of Kenya but ceded the Kenya part to Kenya in 1963. The ruled for many years until a deadly revolution on 12 January 1964 by the indigenous inhabitants led to the end of the monarchy. The last Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah Al Said escaped to London with his family but is still the current pretender to the throne as of 2022. The former sultan stone palace is now a museum. After 50 years living in exile in theUK, he currently has been allowed to live the rest of his life in Oman near his royal family members


The Haya tribe are a bantu ethnic group mainly found in tanzania near rwanda and Uganda borders. They were organized into various kingdoms namely: Kiziba, Ihangiro, Kihanja, Bukara, Lesster Kyamtwara, and Bugabo kingdoms etc. After the Anglo-German agreement of 1890, the kingdom of Missenye was added.

1. Kiziba Kingdom, Kagera

 Kiziba kingdom was a precolonial monarchy of the Haya people of Tanzania that existed since 1400s. The Haya people were organized into many kingdoms with different kings, kiziba being one of them. With colonisation and Tanzania independence in 1962, the monarchies and their royal rulers were abolished despite most of them fighting for independence among the political elite. The kings of Kiziba were titled Omukama and belonged to the babiito dynasty which is also related to the Tooro and Bunyoro kitara kingdoms in Uganda.

The current King of Kiziba kingdom, Tanzania is Omukama Lutinwa Mutatembwa II. He is married with three children (two are twins) namely Prince Lennox Lutinwa, Prince Lewis Lutinwa and Princess Eless Lutinwa.

  • …. – ….                Bike
  • …. – ….                Kiziba Kizindo
  • …. – ….                Ntumwa
  • …. – ….                Kanyamaishwa
  • …. – ….                Kibi I Nyakiiru Kaganda
  • …. – ….                Ishamura-Njobe “elya Kiziba, elingome”
  • …. – ….                Ishamura-Nyakabinga “elya Bunyoro”
  • …. – ….                Wanumi
  • …. – ….                Bwanamba
  • …. – ….                Matwi
  • …. – ….                Magembe I (1st time)
  • …. – ….                Kashumba (regent?)
  • …. – ….                Magembe I (2nd time)
  • …. – ….                Muzinga
  • …. – ….                Mwigara
  • …. – ….                Burungu I
  • …. – ….                Magembe II
  • …. – ….                Mboneko I
  • …. – ….                Nyarwangu
  • …. – ….                Mulimpuzi –Regent
  • …. – ….                Ruhangarazi I
  • …. – ….                Nyarwangu II
  • …. – ….                Rutajwaha
  • …. – ….                Burungu II Kakinda
  • …. – ….                Kibi II Rutahirwa
  • …. – 1870                Ruhangarazi II                       (d. 1870)
  • 1870 – 1903                Mutatembwa
  • 1898 – 1900                Rweshabura (in rebellion)
  • 1903 – 1916                Mutahangarwa Karutasigwa
  • 1916 – 1927                Edward George Mboneko II
  • 1927 – 1937                William Mutakubwa
  •  3 May 1937 –  6 Nov 1962  Nestor Lutinwa  
  • Today –   Omukama Lutinwa Mutatembwa II          

2. Kianja Kingdom, Kagera

Kianja kingdom is one of the famous organized kingdoms among the Haya people of Tanzania. Exising since 1800s, it was ruled by a king called Omukama. Their most famous King was King Kahigi II who met the German colonialists. His great great great grandson is the current King (Omukama) Hermes Peter Nyarubamba II

  • c.1810 – 1870              Kinyoni Kigaze                       (b. c.1790 – d. 1870)
  • 1870 – 1890                Muganguze Rugamora III Ibare         (d. 1890)
  • 1890 – 1916                Mpinzire Kahigi II                   (d. 1916)
  • 1916 – May 1943            Alfred Kalemera III                  (b. 1872 – d. 1949)
  • May 1943 – 12 Apr 1944     Benjamin Mutembehi Rugomora IV       (b. 1908 – d. 1944)
  • May 1944 – 1958            Bwogi IV                             (b. c.1880s – d. 1958)
  • 1958 –  9 Nov 1962         Petro M.K. Nyarubamba II             (b. c.1940)
  • Today – Hermes Peter Nyarubamba II

3. Rusubi/Busubi – Biharamulo, Kagera

Rusubi/Busubi (incorrectly as Ussuwi) was a traditional monarchy of the Haya people with its royal capital at Biharamulo. It was ruled by a king called Omukama. Its former Omukama was Stanislas Rugaba Kasusura II. The current Omukama is Justin Rutabingwa Kasusura

  • 1853                      Ntare II Muhire                   
  • 1853 – 1854          Rusimbya Rugaba                   
  • 1854                      Ishekanyere II                    
  • 1854 – 1873          Rweswarura Nyamuhanga           
  • 1873 – 1885          Mankorongo                      
  • 1885 – 1928          Kasusura I                        
  • 1928 – 1952          Ntare III                         
  • 1952 – 1962         Stanislas Rugaba Kasusura II
  • Today –   Justin Rutabingwa Kasusura

Photos : Bullet Ruhinda /Facebook

4. Karagwe Kingdom, Kagera

Karagwe was a kingdom found in north west tanzania near the border with Rwanda. It was fromed in 1450 and exsted until 1962 when Tanzania abolished all traditional monarchies. The Kings were called Omukama.

  • Malia
  • Nono
  • Ruhinda I rwa Nyunaki “Kizarabagabe”
  • Ntare I
  • Ruhinda II
  • Ntare II
  • Ruhinda III
  • Ntare III
  • Ruhinda IV
  • Ntare IV
  • Ruhinda V
  • Ntare V
  • to 1725 Omukama Rusatira
  • 1725 – 1750 Omukama Mehinga
  • 1750 – 1775 Omukama Kalemera I Ntagara Bwiragenda
  • 1775 – 1795 Omukama Ntare VI “Kiitabanyoro”
  • 1795 – 1820 Omukama Ruhinda VI Orushongo “Lwanyabugondo”
  • 1820 – 1855 Omukama Ndagara I “Luzingamcucu lwa nkwanzi”
  • 1855 – 1881 Omukama Rumanyika I Rugundu
  • 1881 – 1882 Omukama Kalemera II Kanyenje
  • 1882 – 1893 Omukama Ndagara II Nyamkuba
  • 1893 – 1914 Omukama Ntare VII
  • 1914 – 1916 Omukama Kahigi -regent
  • 1916 – 1939 Omukama Daudi Rumanyika II
  • 1939 – 1962 Omukama Bernardo Itogo Ruhinda VII
  • Today – Omukama Cristian Rumanyika

Omukama Ruhinda VII Bernard Itogo Rweihimba of the Kingdom of Karagwe was born in 1908 and died in 1983. He reigned from 1939- 1963.

5. Ihangiro kingdom, Kagera

The Kingdom of Ihangiro was one of the states of the Haya people. It was ruled by kings called Omugabe

  • c.1625 – c.1680           Omugabe Ntare I
  • c.1680 – c.1725           Omugabe Muramira
  • c.1725 – c.1750            Omugabe Buto
  • c.1750 – c.1770            Omugabe Mugunda I
  • c.1770 – c.1835            Omugabe Nyarabamba I
  • c.1835 – c.1855           Omugabe Ruhinda III
  • c.1855 – c.1870           Omugabe Ntare II
  • c.1870 – 1875              Omugabe Katanagi                            
  • 1875 – 1911                Omugabe Rukanya Nyarabamba II               
  • 1911 – 1936                Omugabe Ruhinda IV                          
  • 1936 – 1952                Omugabe Petro Mugunda II
  • 1952 – 2008         Omugabe Sylvester Ntare III                  
  • Today – Omugabe Charles Ntare

6. Kyamtwara kingdom, Kagera

Kyamtwara kingdom was naother kingdom of the Haya people, it was also known as Kabale. The king was locally titled Omukama

  • c.1700 – ….             Omukama Mutashaba
  • …. – ….                 Omukama Lyangombe
  • …. – ….                 Omukama Muhimbira
  • …. – ….                 Omukama Rukamba I
  • …. – c.1820              Omukama Rushuma                           
  • c.1820 – 1860         Omukama Kitekere                            
  • 1860 – 1888            Omukama Kaitaba
  • 1888 – 1895            Omukama Mukotani
  • 1895 – 1901             Omukama Bwahama
  • 1901 – 1916              Omukama Muntu
  • 1916 – 1939              Omukama Edward Lwaijumba                
  • 1939 – 1962             Omukama Gabriel Rugabandana                 
  • 1962 – 2007            Omukama Emmanuel Rukamba II                 
  • Today – OmukamaInnocent Rukamba

7. Ngara bugufi Kingdom, Kagera

  • Today – Devid Baramba

8. Ngara Bushubi kingdom, Kagera

  • protase Nsolo

9. Maruku Bukara Kingdom, Kagera

Maruku was also known as Bukara ruled by a king called Omukama

  • …. – ….                Omukama Kashare Kanyango
  • …. – ….                Omukama Rusembo
  •                              [last before incorporation into Karagwe]
  • …. – ….                Omukama Bwogi I
  • …. – ….                Omukama Nyamigera
  • …. – ….                Omukama Kikuba
  • …. – ….                Omukama Kalemera I
  • …. – ….                Omukama Rukambyai Bwogi II
  • …. – ….                Omukama Mahe Rugamora I
  • …. – ….                Omukama Kasita Kahigi I
  • …. – ….                Omukama Nkwenge
  • …. – ….                Omukama Karumuna Rugamora II
  • …. – ….                Omukama Mpangukano Bwogi III
  • c.1860                Omukama Mwiru Kalemera II
  • …. – 1894            OmukamaBwogi IV
  • 1894 – 1915         OmukamaKishebuka I
  • 1916                     Omukama Kishebuka II   
  • 1916 – 1962         Omukama David Rugamora III
  • Today Omukama Crisipine Mutaremwa Bwogi V

10. Bugabo Kingdom, Kagera

Bugabo is another kingdom of the Haya people. It was ruled by a Omukama

  • 1860 – 1895            Omukama Kahiyoza (Kayoza)
  • 1895 – 1899            Omukama Rutahigwa
  • 1899 – 1910             Omukama Rwakyendera
  • 1910 – 1927             Omukama Rugacwa
  • 1927 – 1937             Omukama Gabriel Rutalemwa
  • 1937 – 1943             Omukama Lweikiza
  • 1943 – 1962             Omukama Galikani Rwegerera

There is still throne succcession issues

11. Missenyi kingdom, Kagera

Also known as Kivumbiro or Buddu, it was renamed Missenyi in 1890. Kings were locally known as Omukama

  • …. – ….                Omukama Wamara (Wakara) I
  • …. – ….                Omukama Kakoko I
  • …. – ….                Omukama Nyamtura I
  • …. – ….                Omukama Lwekika I
  • …. – ….                Omukama Kakoko II
  • …. – ….                Omukama Nyamtura II
  • …. – ….                Omukama Kakoko III
  • …. – 1870            Omukama Kyamkuma I Kaka                            
  • 1870 – 1913         Omukama Lwekika II
  • 1913 – 1919          Omukama Suleiman Kakoko Wamara II
  • 1919 – 1955         Omukama Paulo Rwamujongo Nyamutura III
  • 1955 -2001   Omukama Serapion K.L. Kyamkuma II                  
  • Today Omukama Paul Rwamjongo II


1. HERU/ waheru

The Heru are part of the Ha people who lived in many kingdoms including Heru, Manyovu/Nkalinzi, Bushingo, Banyingu, Kunkanda and Muhambwe kingdoms. Mwami or Female King Theresa Ntare iv (TERESIA JOSEPH NDALICHAKO) was the female king of the Heru kingdom, Kasulu District, Tanzania. She was the only female monarch in Tanzania succeeding her father Joseph Ndalichako Rwasa III in 1946 and reigning until 1962. Her son Costa Shinyanga is currently the Mwami or monarch of the Heru. https://theafricanroyalfamilies.com/2020/07/15/mwami-theresa-ntare-iv-of-heru/

2. Manyovu

Manyovu or Nkalinzi is also another Ha kingdom headed currently by Chifu/King Fadhili


The Luguru people are a tribe in Tanzania that still have retained their traditional monarchs. From 1906 they were called sultans until the abolition of the traditional leaders. Today the leader is mainly addressed as chief or chifu in swahili language.

The late chief or sultan /Ruler Kingalu XIV Mwanabanzi reigned from 1962 until his death in 2015. The late monarch was a close friend of former president Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania who was bestowed with a title by the late monarch. After his funeral his successor was immediately installed as the new monarch, chief Kingalu xv.


The most famous monarch was chief Mkwawa who reigned from 1855-1898. He is famous for his skull which was taken to Germany during the colonial era after he shot himself to resist german rule and arrest. His skull is currently on display at his museum at Iringa, Tanzania.

The current chief (Mtwa) or monarch is Chief Adam Abdul Sapi Mkwawa Mfwimi ii. He became monarch in 2015 after the death of his father at the age of 13 and officially installed in June 2020 after reaching adulthood. He is a descendant of the famous chief Mkwawa.

CHAGGA / waChagga

The Chagga were organised into many chiefdoms headed by monarchs called Mangi as seen below. The many smaller chiefdoms include Keni, Marangu, Kibosho, Kilema, Machame, Kirua, Moshi, Mamba, Mbokomu, Mwika and Ussere. They later came together to form a Paramountcy headed by an elected Chief called Mangi Mkuu

1. Marangu

Paramount chief or Mangi mkuu Thomas Marealle of chagga tribe of Tanzania. (1915-2007). He was selected Mangi Mkuu for all Chagga chiefdoms. He attended the British coronation of Queen Elizabeth together with his wife (mkamangi). He later served as UN diplomat after indepndence and abolition of traditional monarchies. He was succeded by his brother Mangi Frank Marealle who is Mangi of Marangu.

2. Moshi

Moshi is now a big town in northern Tanzania located on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. The famous Mangi (Monarch) of Moshi was Mangi meli who was hanged by the germans for resisting colonial rule. His skull has still not been returned.

Photos: Deutsche Fotothek

UKEREWE (Kerewe) people

Bukerewe kingdom existed from 1600s by the Kerewe tribe or Wakerewe people. They largely are found on the ukerewe island in lake Victoria which is also the largest lake island in Africa. It has amazing beaches and tourist sites such as the kings palace where you can see royal artefacts and royal graves.

Late Chief Michael Lukumbuzya of Bukerewe kingdom, Ukerewe island, Lake Victoria, Tanzania. He was the 17th king (Omukama) of bukerewe or ukerewe from 1938-1981. Tanzania usually addresses traditional kings as chiefs since independence. He was the son of late16th King Chief Gabriel Ruhumbika who reigned until 1938. After the abolition of the traditional monarchies of Tanzania after independence, he entered public service serving as ambassador of Tanzania to USA, Mexico and world bank, later ambassador to Sweden, Denmark, Finland etc and last ambassador to Canada. He died in 1981. His son is the current 18th chief of Ukerewe and lives in Austria.

His father was also the mastermind behind the palace located at Bukindo which was built in 1927/1928 under an Italian architect.

Photos: TZembassy, Ukerewetourism, utaliiukerewe

ZANAKI (WaZanaki) people

Chief Japhet Wanzagi Nyerere is the current reigning monarch of the Zanaki tribe of Tanzania. He succeded his late father in 1997 after the death of his father late Chief Edward Wanzagi Nyerere who himself had succeded his late father King( chief) Burito Nyerere in 1942. He is th grandson of late King Burito Nyerere of Zanaki tribe of Tanzania. He is also the nephew of the first president of Tanzania Julius Nyerere. Chief Japhet Wanzagi Nyerere is married to one wife.

Julius Nyerere, first president of Tanzania was the son of late King (chief) Burito Nyerere of Zanaki tribe of Tanzania, one of the smallest tribes of Tanzania. His father King (chief) Burito Nyerere reigned for 30 years from 1912 to 1942. His mother was the fifth of 22 wives of late King Burito Nyerere.


The Sukuma people of Tanzania are a bantu ethnic group and are the largest ethnic group in Tanzania. They were organized into 52 clans or chiefdoms each headed by a chief or monarch called Ntemi/Mtemi. During colonial era they selected one of their own as paramount chief for colonial independence lobbies.

1. Busiya / busiya, Sukuma people

Busiha is an area inhabited by the Usiha subtribe of Sukuma people of Tanzania. They have always had a monarch since the ancient times which exists to today. The most famous chief monarch of busiha is late chief David Kidaha Makwaia. Born in 1922 to late Chief Makwaia mwandu, he studied in makerere University and oxford University. He succeeded his father in 1945 as chief of Usiha. David Makwaia later became paramount chief of the Sukuma tribes federation oversseing over 50 chiefdoms. In 1948 he was elected to the legislative Council for 10 years. The role he played in helping Tanzania attain a independence is usually overshadowed due to the fact that the first government abolished the role of chiefs.

He was among the few African royals who attended the British coronation 1953 in London and is a member of order of the British empire. He moved to Nairobi for business but later returned in 1975. He was quite popular and was at once seen as a possible president for Tanzania by the colonialists. He died in 2007 leaving his wife and four children and is buried in his Ibadakuli state house site . His son Edward Makwaia succeeded him as chief of Usiha.

2. Bukumbi, Sukuma people, Mwanza region

Their late monarch was Ntemi Ilago Charles Kafipa/Kaphipha who died in 2021. He was crowned in 1944 to succeed his late father Ntemi Shimbe Anthony at the age of 16/17. His father was Ntemi Shimbe Anthony Kaphipha reigned from 1915 to 1944,while his grandfather Minzimalulu reigned 1896 – 1915. He was monarch for 77 years, married to Ngole (Queen) Mary Kaphipha with children.

3. Bujashi, Mwanza

Bujashi is another chiefdom of the Sukuma people located in Mwanza . Its monarch is called Mtemi. The current Mtemi is Charles Dotto Itale


Ngoni people of Songea, Tanzania are descendants of Ndwandwe people of South Africa who escaped Shaka zulu mfecane wars led by Zwangendaba and moved to south of Tanzania. Inkosi Ya Makhosi Zulu Gama 1 is the current chief. His descendant Inkosi Mputa Gama was hanged among other chiefs and general public for resisting Gerrman Colonial rule during the Majimaji rebellion in 1906


Sultan (Kolo) Othman Hamza Malilo II is the current reigning monarch of the sultanate of Kienembonwe, Ujiji town in kigoma region. It is inhabited by the manyema people


Chief Rocket Mwashinga is the reigning monarch of the Safwa people of Mbeya region in Tanzania. He is famously known for rocking his natural dreadlocks


The Namwanga people of southern Tanzania are ruled by Paramount Chief Jubeck Chipanzyamakandi Mkoma the 27th. After the establishment of colonial borders a population of left in Zambia and others in Malawi. Those in Zambia Nkonde area are ruled by a chieftainess Nawaitwika (always a woman) appointed by the Paramount chief of Tanzania. There are also senior chiefs under them.

Photos: Songwe.go.tz , SongweShindani

SHAMBAA PEOPLE / SambaaShambalaSambala or Sambara

Kimweri Mputa Magogo (1914 – 20 September 2000) was a traditional leader of the Shambaa people of the Usambara Mountains in Tanzania. He was the last of his dynasty.


Chief Elias Waziri Mkongwa of Bena people of Tanzania, Njombe region passed away in September 2021. His sub chief is to be crowned as royal monarch chief of the Bena .


The current holder of the chief of Sangu/wasangu is Chief Salehe Merere VIII. Behind him is the old palace which is in ruins


The Nyamwezi people were organized into various smaller monarchies considered to be chiefdoms. They included Ulyankuru, Ugunda, Kiwere, Uyowa, Busagari, Unyanyembe, Ngulu, Karunde
Ibili, Bukumbi, Mwakarunde, Karitu, Puge, Mwangoye, Busongo, Nyawa, Unyambiyu,
Ndala, Usumbwa, Lunguya, Busangi, Ngaya, Ngogwa, Mpunze, Bulungwa, Ukune, Kahama, Ushetu, Ukamba, Mpunze, Uyogo each with its own monarch called Mtemi. Below are some

1. Unyanyembe

Unyanyembe was a traditional monarchy now considered a chiefdom of the Nyamwezi people of Tanzania. Their monarch was called Mtemi which means Chief or king or ruler. Their most famous monarch was Abdallah Said Fundikira III who died in 2007. Currently the throne is held by 20th Chief (Mtemi) Msagata Ngulati Said Fundikira since 2007. He is also the vice chair of all royal chiefs of Tanzania.

Photo: Zanzinews, EastafricaTV

2. Ngulu

Ngulu located in Sikonge was a traditional monarchy of the Nyamwezi people ruled by a monarch called Mtemi/Ntemi. Its 26th Ntemi was Haroun Msabila Lugusha (1920-died 2001) who reigned from 1940 to 2001. A graduate of agriculture at Makerere, he was the first African to be appointed Deputy Speaker of the Tanganyika Legislative Council and later asisistant minister for local government. He attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and received a coronation medal, MBE. His son is the 27th Ntemi Kimwaga Mhalule Lugusha.


Fipa people (WaFipa) in swahili are a bantu speaking group in South western Tanzania particularly based in Sumbuwanga, Nkasi and Rukwa regions. It was ruled by a monarch called Mwene. Current Monarch is Mwene Aldolf Wangao Kapufi IV.

2. Nkasi

Current Chief is Malema I Richard Sinyangwe


Nyiha people are Bantu people found around Mbeya region in Tanzania. They were governed into various chiefdoms or kingdoms notably headed by a monarch called Mwene. Three of the most powerful included Mwene Nzunda, Mwene Mwamlima and Mwene Nzowa. The current Mwene is Mwene Nzunda


Gogo/Gongwe (Wagogo) are an ethnic group found in Dodoma region, Tanzanias capital city. Its most famous monarch was Mtemi Daudi Mazengo Salomona Chalula who ruled for 84 years dying at the age of 106. He was also invited to bless the independence celebrations. The name Ikulu used today as substitute for State house was originally used for the palace of the monarch – Mvumi Ikulu. Their current Monarch is Mtemi Mazengo II.


Hadzabe are a hunting and gathering community living in Tanzania. Their current monarch is Chief Edward Mkumbo.


Paramount Chief Mugenyi Senge Mugenyi Ndovu of Singida region is the overall senior chief of all chiefs in this region.

Photos : Diramakini


1. Unyikungu

Chief Singu Missanga Senge is the current monarch of Nyikungu chiefdom of Nyanturu people


Bondei are a bantu ethnic group closely related to the Shambaa people. They were named Bondei to mean valley(bonde) in swahili by the Klindi dynasty. Its famous chief (Mtema) in 1958 was Erasto Andrew Mbwana Mang’enya who served as an ambassador and UN representative

Tanzania Embassy




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  1. This website is very useful and informative. I am happy that a person like you, committing yourself and your time to educate us.
    Be blessed. And keep your work ip.!!

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