The Royal Order of the Omujwaara Kondo (Coronet-Wearer) of Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom
The honour of Omujwaara Kondo is an ancient one, with the earliest known recipient being Kasaru, the interpreter of Omukama Rukidi of Bunyoro. This is before Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom gained the power and prestige it would have in later centuries. As Omukama Rukidi of Bunyoro ruled until the late fifteenth century, the honour of Omujwaara Kondo is believed to be at least 500 years of age, and it was traditionally awarded to males who won military victories or else were persons of distinction within the Kingdom. However, the actual age of the honour has not been definitively determined. The role has evolved over time, with the honour eventually bestowing upon the recipient control of tracts of land as well as spiritual leadership – called mahano in Lunyoro – over the residents of that land.
Although females were traditionally prohibited from receipt of the honour, males granted the honour of Omujwaara Kondo were given coronets and other regalia and allowed to sit in special areas during Kingdom ceremonies. Recipients were also required to keep the special diet that the Omukama himself also adhered to, wherein common foods like potatoes and beans were forbidden in favor of animal diets. In addition, over time, certain offices of the Kingdom were customarily awarded the honour. For example, the head of the clan of the Omukama’s mother is traditionally awarded the honour as well as the Bamuroga – the Chief Minister of the Palace. As the award of Omujwaara Kondo has been and continues to be hereditary, generations of Abajwaara Kondo have existed alongside the Omukama for centuries.
When the British forcibly conquered the Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara, the honour of Omujwaara Kondo was re-classified as an award system. The Bunyoro Agreements – between the British government and the Omukama – of both 1933 and 1955 recognize the right of the Omukama to continue to grant this “ancient” honour, which is classified in both documents as an “Order of distinction”.
After Ugandan independence, the Omukama (H.M. R.A. Omukama Sir Winyi IV of Bunyoro, Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) continued the right to award the honour of Omujwaara Kondo until 1967, wherein the kingdoms were abolished by Dictator Milton Obote. The Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara was restored on June 11th, 1994 with the enthronement of H.M. R.A. Solomon Gafabusa Iguru I, son of H.M. R.A. Sir Winyi IV of Bunyoro.
Omukama Sir Winyi IV of Bunyoro. After the enthronement, similar to the other traditional honours of Bunyoro-Kitara, Omujwaara Kondo was again awarded and remains so today. However, tragically, many of the names of ancient Abajwaara Kondo recipients were lost during this interregnal period, and the descendants of these ancient honourees – some of whom are now lawful inheritors of the honour of Omujwaara Kondo themselves under the ancient traditions – do not have evidence to substantiate the claim.
The Royal Charter and Statutes of The Royal Order of the Omujwaara Kondo of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom (2010) is a codification of some of the ancient oral traditions of the honour.
It also amends some historic characteristics of the award that have been abandoned in the modern era. In situations where a change was made, care was taken to state the ancient traditions and how they are modernized accordingly today. However, the spirit and general traditions of the honour are intended to remain intact.