Amazing ancestry of “abairu” of Ankole revealed.
I was inspired to write this article following the statements by the president of Uganda to the effect that “the people of ankole do not need a king.” The president of Uganda is a well read man and given the growing controversy of these Ugandan “kings”, he must have a strong reason for coming out with such a statement.
In the first place, since museveni is a professed advocate of east African federation, we have always wondered why he brought back majimboism in 1992 by crowning the kabaka of Buganda. We in Kenya, and at least we know that this is the same position of our Tanzanian brothers, strongly disagree with these kingdoms and in the event of an East African federation, it is clear to us in Kenya that this shall be the first institution to go away.
In time, we have learnt to respect that the president of Uganda was created with a unique mind and only God knows how this man reasons things out, because in his own way his positions make sense.
In this particular case, we have been pleasantly surprised to learn that museveni has some deep historical facts on his fingertips and they appear to play a role in his clear rejection of a kingdom status in ankole. For the benefit of those who are interested in history, we provide below only part of this background information, revealing some of the amazing facts of the history of a people that has been concealed for long, and therefore with both hind and foresight, some of the reasons behind the president’s firm position. It all appears to revolve primarily around museveni’s firm commitment, belief and fear of God. Relatedly, we now realize that this is also because of museveni’s shared ancestry with the indigenous people of ankole.
President Museveni stated in the Sunday monitor of 11th April 2010, the people of ankole have been successful without a king. Now if you fill in the blanks of what the president is shrewdly avoiding saying; it is that;-
“These people suffered when a king was imposed on them after the 1905 agreement. When Uganda became a republic after 1967, the abairu of ankole were released from bondage and since then, Bushenyi their nucleus has since grown to become a model district. Can you compare this performance to that of greater Mbarara district which had the benefits of patronage from the imposed king and the colonial government?”
Reason; The “abairu” in ankole are actually descended from “Hebrew”, and an analysis of their current fortunes explain why only the strong abiru Christians are successful on this world. It is their destiny; if the abairu (Hebrews) honor only God, he rewards them; if they serve any other lesser gods or kings, he does not bless them.
The history; you see, most of the people of present day ankole were not part of it until Ankole was forced onto them after 1900. This includes present day Bushenyi, Ntungamo, Rukungiri, and the greater Rukiga (kabala & kanungu). These were all part of Mpororo kingdom and were added to ankole in a manner similar to the way Buganda was expanded from Bunyoro land.
We shall explain to assist those who have forgotten their history. Buganda was rewarded by the colonial government for its role in subjugating Bunyoro, by the allocation of large chunks of Bunyoro to the Buganda kingdom. These were the counties of Bugerere, Buruuli, Bulemeezi, Singo, Buwekula, Buyaga, and Bugangaizi. Don’t get me wrong here; we are not taking these counties out of Buganda but merely stating how they came to be part of Buganda. This history is well recorded here in Kenya since most of the process of the colonization of Uganda was headquartered here. Let us leave this at that, otherwise we shall open many wounds (esp., the fact that Buganda and the colonial government committed something close to genocide in these transferred counties, and forced people to convert from their allegiance to Bunyoro).
After being successful in Buganda, this principle of rewarding cooperative kings was also applied to Ankole.
Now in the case of Ankole, this had never been a strong monarch or kingdom really; the Luo lineage here was so embarrassingly weak that they had even failed to manage their own personal household affairs, a situation that we understand persists in the Ankole royal families to date. In the past, this situation was so bad, that the royals had to stop marrying from the abashambo / abairu groups altogether because these bashambo girls / women have a very strong character and could not be fooled around by weak promiscuous men. We gather from oral history, that there is a mushambo queen who killed a royal, and thereafter this incident, the royals realized that it was in their best interest to avoid that group altogether and find another that could be subservient. That is when they started marrying principally from the bahima groups. These people were predominantly cattle keepers, but what was important at the time is that this group posed no risk to the weak monarch.
Such was the weakness of the Ankole monarch. Anyway, Ankole kingdom, through its own weakness and lack of authority, had by then lost many grazing lands (let us call then counties) to a stronger Buganda. This included the lands of Kabula, Kinoni, Karungi (now called Kalungu) (all these went as Buddu / Masaka region), and Bwera (Sembabule & Mairu – Gomba). Unfortunately, the “king” could only grumble quietly and politely lest he gets a thrashing from the all too powerful Buganda – remember that Buganda had White mercenaries / allies! With guns! So who could touch it, scold it, or complain about its excesses! Everyone neighboring the Buganda kingdom had witnessed the happenings in Bunyoro and the example was a clear message to any who challenged Buganda’s position.
So when the British went to ankole, they pacified it by giving it almost the entire loose confederation of Mpororo kingdom and that was more enough. This included Bushenyi, Ntungamo and Rukungiri, and would have included Karagwe; only that according to the partitioning of Africa, the land below this parallel that marks that border between Uganda and Tanzania had been allotted to Germany.
In addition to being given a large kingdom to rule over, the weak monarch in Ankole was aided with expatriate administration from Buganda to shore up their rule over the old and new kingdoms. This is the origin of the Baganda settlers in many parts of ankole.
Now just tell me; where the Ankole monarch was coming from, what more could they want or ask for? They had just jumped from almost collapse to paradise! So they went to sleep and really have never understood the fundamentals of managing society. Speke to any of the royals and all you can hear is some reference to their rights to have their monarch restored and nothing about the people’s well being.
But when you speak to the people, what you shall hear however, is that following the advent of colonization and balkanization with ankole, the indigenous people were now being referred to as abiru! That was the surprising turn of events; the presumably harmless bahima had brought up reference to these indigenous people as abiru. So where did the term come from?
What the royals of ankole did not realize was that these presumably harmless bahima have a long heritage themselves. These hamites of ankole also trace their ancestry to the Luo, and all of these together from Cush (– son of Ham, son of Noah) from present day northeastern Sudan, where they had an extensive kingdom. And their affinity for power dates back to those days when Cush ruled over Egypt. This shall be the subject of another day but this detail of migrations and empires is well recorded in African history and in the bible (Genesis; 10 all).
Now, it transpires that that during the time when the Hebrew were slaves in Egypt, the reigning monarch was Cushitic (read “Luo”). History; According to Egyptian archeological findings (reference to Microsoft Encarta encyclopedia 1999), the Hebrew people were a group of tribes of Semitic stock that, according to (Egyptian) tradition, migrated from Mesopotamia to Palestine during the 2nd millennium BC. Some scholars, however, trace their origin to the Wilderness (that is, the Sinai) rather than to Mesopotamia.
These two views may both be true because according to the bible (Genesis 11; 31 – 32) Abraham the founding father of the Hebrews came from Mesopotamia.
And then for the second view, the biblical story of the exodus is quite well known to everyone; the Hebrews moved to Egypt, where they were enslaved. When released from bondage in Egypt under the lawgiver Moses, they journeyed through the Wilderness and thereafter, under Joshua, conquered and settled in Palestine. It is during this exodus time that there were offshoots of the main group that either did not leave with Moses, or deserted the main group somewhere in the Sinai desert. This group went south eventually settling in the hinterland of what is referred to in the bible as Ethiopia but we know as Africa.
So it is quite established that the term Hebrew is applied in the Bible to Abraham (see Genesis 14:13). What most people don’t know is that the term “abiru” / “habiru” is actually the same as “Hebrew”. The Encyclopedia states – and this is most amazing part – that;-
“Although denied by some scholars, the Hebrews are the people called Habiru or Habiri in the tablets found at Tall al ‘Amârinah, Egypt; written about 1400BC, these were found in 1887. This assumption coincides with biblical tradition; the Amarna correspondence, however, makes no reference to the origin or ethnic character of the Habiru. In Genesis 40:15, Joseph explains to the Egyptians that he had been kidnapped from “the land of the Hebrews”; in Exodus 2:6, the daughter of Pharaoh recognizes Moses as “one of the Hebrews’ children.” The implication of these sources is that in early times the Israelites were known to foreigners as Hebrews. In later times the Israelites applied the name to themselves, as in Jonah 1:9.
So you now know how the bahima knew that these habiru are supposed to be their slaves – because that is what they were in Egypt. The bahima knew that these habiru were there slaves in Egypt, and believed they still had to be overlords over them. Wrong. Because subsequent to the Egyptian episode of their lives, God had broken that bondage of slavery, provided that the Hebrews / Habiru stick to a certain formula – observe the Ten Commandments, and the most important ones being the 1st two commandments. Once these are fulfilled, then no one could be allowed to lord it over the Hebrews / abiru.
Effectively and to cut a long story short, the abairu of ankole, who are descended from the Hebrews, could only be successful if they – like the Jewish brothers – recognize their relationship with God the almighty as per the commandments delivered to Moses. i.e., if they recognize the sovereignty of God the almighty who delivered them out of bondage, and if they bow to no other gods. If they do this, God blesses them. If they don’t, then tribulations and damnation as promised in the commandments.
Fast forward; when Moses delivered the Hebrews he told them to serve no other God. So, given his knowledge of the facts, when Museveni restored kings in Uganda, he was clear in his mind that his cousins the abairu shall not be put under any other king but God. (Exodus 20: 1 – 17, and Deut 5: 1- 21). Recall that Museveni is very well remembered for his strong Christian values when he was young. Whilst he claims to have disagreed with his religious leaders somewhere down the line, he has never renounced his commitment to Christian values and principles – especially the Ten Commandments. In addition, the president has all the statistics in front of him; ordinary accident reports and even intelligence reports have already shown that most of the people who break commandment number 2 by visiting shrines and honoring those pagan gods are always getting into problems.
On the contrary, it is also interesting to note that a lot of the emancipation of ankole has come from Christianity; most of Ankole rejected all their pagan gods in-mass and embraced Christ. If you speak to all the learned elders of Ankole proper (Bushenyi, Ntungamo, etc) you shall discover that most of them went to school because of the churches, the catholic establishments and their provision of free schooling facilities. You shall also discover that that these same people were denied bursaries by the Bahinda / colonial government. A very good case in point was the late Proff Enoch Rukare. In Ankole, the cross over to Christianity was so serious / absolute that most of the names in ankole are now Christian / faith based; Mugisha, Mujuni, Tumwine, Tugume, Kangume, Twinamatsiko, etc. Compare this with Buganda where the names still refer to the pagan gods; Mukasa, Mugerwa, Mpanga, Walugembe, etc. incidentally, it has been proposed by some Christians that this pagan worship in Buganda is the main reason why Buganda is the source of most of Uganda’s troubles, and the reason why baganda die the most in causalities such as accidents.
All this is in addition to the fact above that after release from bondage in 1967, the abiru have demonstrated that they can rise from ash to a strong force to reckon with. So even when you look at museveni’s cabinet, after heavily rewarding Buganda with many positions, most of the positions from his home tribe are actually given to the abiru group, not to the bahima where he is supposed to come from. Well, err sort of; because he actually is descended from both!
Yes; the abiru / Hebrews are museveni’s cousins. Many people have heard by now, that the great leader of Uganda is of very mixed heritage. Well, this appears to be true; and he therefore owes no specific allegiance to any group and can afford to be a national leader. How do you explain the fact that the president’s own brother, general Saleh, is better trusted by the acholi people – simple; that blood is thicker than water. That shall be the chronicle of another day, and only if the president himself prompts us to come out.
So if only most of these facts had come out earlier, then the fortunes of Uganda would be very different from what it is today. But it is never too late for anything; as you can see, the facts about the ancestry of abairu are just beginning to fizzle out of the archives of history, explaining why the abiru people have given birth to some of the most industrious people in the world. It is really a blessing to be one of the abiru / habiru / Hebrew; the people can really work and you can now understand why the success of coffee in Buganda’s plantations only happened after expatriate labor came from these people. You can piece the rest together.
Next time we shall talk about the intercessors for Israel. Did you know that it was not by accident that Uganda was thought of as a possible home for the Jews in diaspora; and that it was the next best location they could accept? And that the difference is that they had selected a place in current day southern mubende district and refused karamoja? Did you know that the Uganda chapter of intercessors for Israel is one of the strongest chapters in the world, and that its strong pillars are all of abairu descent (though with mixed blood but this still makes them descendants of Hebrews)? And that these people are mainly found in the Watoto church, formerly KPC? Did you know that Museveni has privately admitted to prayer groups that he is struggling with corruption and has asked for their help? Did you know that through their prayer it has been revealed that Museveni may be the last president of Uganda and only president of expanded East Africa (including Southern Sudan and Somalia) before Armageddon?
Cest la vie!
Dr Adyeri Muchori
Kisumu – KENYA.
Contact me on; firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Hebrews (people),” Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Dr Adyeri Muchori is retired and hails from / is resident in Kisumu, Kenya. He specialized in African History while in studying and working in Cairo, Egypt.