Ankole Kingdom || Omugabe of Ankole || Ankole Royal Family, Uganda

Ankole Kingdom was a traditional monarchy of BanyaNkore people of Uganda that has existed since its formation in the 1400s. BanyaNkore People are a Bantu ethnic group currently living in Uganda. They speak the Runyankore language that is closely related to other neigbouring great lakes region tribes.Kaaro Karungi was the actual historical name of the kingdom in the 17th century. The word Ankole is a corrupted name by white colonials who could not pronounce the word Nkore.

In the early 1910s, The british illegally annexed other kingdoms and merged into the Nkore Kingdom to form the larger Ankole Kingdom. These kingdoms had their own Kings and were independent from each other. Infact history susggests that culture did not permit kings from seeing each other. These kingdoms include:

  • Mpororo kingdom 6 states per 6 sons of King Kahaya
    • Kingdom of Igara – 1914
    • Kingdom of Nshenyi – 1901
    • Kingdom of Rujumbura
    • Kingdom of Kajara -1914
    • Kingdom of Obwera – 1901
    • Kingdom of Rukiga
  • Kingdom of Buzimba – 1901
  • Kingdom of Buhweju – 1901
  • Kingdom of Kitagwenda -1911
  • Kingdom of Bunyaruguru – 1901
  • Kingdom of Ibanda – 1901
  • Kingdom of Busongora – 1922. 2012 reproclaimed itself
  • Kingdom of Kakende – 1904
  • Kingdom of Mitoma

The traditional Kingdoms were abolished in 1967 by the Milton Obote after he overthrew Kabaka Muteesa II of Buganda who also served as first president of Uganda as a country. In 1993 and 1995 constitution, the NRM government restored the Kingdoms after overthrowing President Idi Amin. However only three kingdoms were restored and Ankole was not due to various differing reasons by different Pro and anti monarchist groups. To this day Bahinda and bahororo/Bahima tribes can’t agree on whether or not they want their kingdom back. At the height of the disagreement, two groups, the Nkore Cultural Trust and the Banyankore Cultural Foundation, were formed in support and against the restoration, respectively. Different royal members are also contesting the throne

However, this post majorly focuses on the main line from Kahaya, Gasyonga and Barigye

The flag of the Kingdom of Ankole/Nkore of BanyaNkore people of Uganda (Obugabe wa Ankole)


Royal Titles

  • King – Omugabe
  • Queen – Omwigarire
  • Prince – Omunyiginya
  • Princess – Omunyiginyakaze
  • Prime minister – Enganzi
  • Parliament – Rukurato

List of Ankole Kings

  • Ruhinda (c. 1430 – 1446)
  • Nkuba (c. 1446 – 1475)
  • Nyaika (c. 1475 – 1503)
  • Nyabugaro Ntare I (c. 1503 – 1531)
  • Rushango (c. 1531 – 1559)
  • Ntare II Kagwejegyerera (c. 1559 – 1587)
  • Ntare III Rugamaba (c. 1587 – 1615)
  • Kasasira (c. 1615 – 1643)
  • Kitera (c. 1643 – 1671) (joint ruler with Kumongye)
  • Kumongye (c. 1643 – 1671) (joint ruler with Kitera)
  • Mirindi (c. 1671 – 1699)
  • Ntare IV Kitabanyoro (c. 1699 – 1727)
  • Macwa (c. 1727 – 1755)
  • Four joint rulers (c. 1755 – 1783)
    • Rwabirere
    • Karara I
    • Karaiga
    • Kahaya I
  • Three joint rulers (c. 1783 – 1811)
    • Nyakashaija
    • Bwarenga
    • Rwebishengye
  • Omugabe Kayunga (c. 1811 – 1839) (joint ruler with Gasiyonga I)
  • Omugabe Gasiyonga I (c. 1811 – 1839) (joint ruler with Kayunga)
  • Omugabe Mutambuka (c. 1839 – 1867)
  • Omugabe Ntare V (c. 1867 – 1895)
  • Omugabe Suleiman (Solomon) Kahaya II (1895 – 1944)
  • Omugabe Gasiyonga II (1944 – 8 September 1967) Died 1982
  • Omugabe Ntare VI/John Barigye, 1993–2011 (Titular king)
  • Omugabe Charles Rwebishengye, 2011–present (Titular king/crown prince)

Omugabe Kahaya II Suleiman

The late Omugabe Kahaya II Suleiman Edward was the king of Ankole/Nkore kingdom, Uganda from 1895 until his death in 1944. H e ascended to the throne at the young age of 18 and is historically known for his massive height of two metres. He had one son Solomon Mirindi but was succeded by his cousin. King Kahaya was the first photographed King of Ankole. Omugabe Kahaya II ruled from Kamukuzi Hill in today Mbarara City where the royal palace buildings are located.

Photos ; Courtesy

Omugabe Gasyonga II Charles Godfrey 1945-1967(died 1982)

Late HM Omugabe (King) Gasyonga II Charles Godfrey of Nkore /Ankole kingdom, Uganda (reigned 1945- died 1982) and wife Omwigarire (Queen) Constance Ndyomwishiki. He succeeded his cousin, the late King Edward Sulemni Kayaha II who died without a male heir. In 1953 the Omugabe attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and made an extensive tour of the United Kingdom

Photos: Tuvuge Inka

Omugabe Crown Prince John Patrick Barigye Ntare VI from 1982 (crowned 1993) – 2011

Late HM Omugabe (King) John Patrick Barigye Ntare VI of Nkore/Ankole kingdom of Banyankore people of Uganda was born in 1940 to late HM Omugabe Gasyonga II Charles Godfrey of Nkore and Queen (omwighirire) Constance Ndyomwishiki.

He was the only Ugandan traditional king that was not reinstalled back after reinstating of the traditional kingdoms of Uganda in 1993/1995. His 1993 coronation was nullified by the yoweri Museveni government for unknown reasonable reasons. He was schooled in the UK and served as ambassador of Uganda to the Vatican and West Germany. Barigye was married twice with thirteen children. He passed away in 2011 and was succeeded by his son Crown Prince Charles Rwebishengye.

with Queen Denise Kwezi

Photos: our heritage Afrinational

Omugabe Crown Prince Charles Aryaija Rwebishengye -2011

He is the second eldest son of late Crown prince John Patrick Barigye and was named heir after the death of his father in 2011. He was installed heir at a royal ceremony at Muhabura royal palace in 2011. Prince Charles Aryaija Rwebishengye is a law graduate

Photos ; Coutersy

Mugaba Kamukuzi royal palace

Mugaba royal palace located at Kamukuzi hill in Mbarara city, Uganda was the official residence of the king (Omugabe) of Ankole/Nkore Kingdom of Banyankore people of Uganda. Inhabited since 1900 by King Kahaya II, the modern stone palace was built by King Gasyonga II in 1950s. Inside the royal compound is the king Gasyonga modern palace, the king Kahaya stone palace, a milk house, a drum house which housed the royal drums. nearby is also the King’s lake where the King Kahaya II swimmed and bathed. Nkokonjeru royal tombs are also nearby.

The palace had been neglected for many years until 2020 when the government of Uganda renovated it to become a royal tourism centre showcasing Nkore royal gallery and throne instruments. The Ankole Kingdom is the only of the five Kingdoms that were not restored by Museveni government due to mixed feelings by the public. Omugabe Gasyonga II heir Prince John Patrick barigye and his family live in their Muhabura private royal palace

Photos Courtsey

Nkokonjeru Royal Tombs

The Ankole royal tombs are located at Kakiika in Mbarara district in a village called Nkokonjeru, 3 kilometres from the Mbarara city. They contain the tombs of the kings of Ankole, Omugabe Edward Solomon Kahaya II who died in 1944 and Omugabe Sir Charles Rutahabaa Gasyonga II who died in 1982, Omugabe John Patrick Barigye Ntare VI, princes, princesses and royal family members.

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