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Hoima/Bunyoro Background

Hoima City is the central economic and cultural hub of Hoima district, one of the districts forming Bunyoro-Kitara kingdom in Western Uganda. Bunyoro kingdom was one of the most powerful kingdoms in Central and East Africa from 13th century to the 19th century. Originally the kingdom was known as Kitara and its people referred to as Abakitara or Abanyakitara, It was a very extensive, prestigious, and famous kingdom at the height of its power. It extended as far as Madi and Bukidi in the north, Kavirondo in the east, Kiziba, Karagwe, Rwanda, Kigezi as well as Northern Tanzania (around the present Bukoba region) in the south; to the westward, it encompassed the Ituri forest and the lands of Bulenga – all of which now belong to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Isingo (Ssingo) and Bwera (Buddu) also formed part of the kingdom. But slowly the kingdom declined as parts of it were captured by some warlike ethnic groups. Some parts too, became independent kingdoms under some rebellious princes during the reign of king Nyamutukura between 1786 -1835. The height of this decline continued with the coming of the Europeans.

The history of Bunyoro (meaning Bunyoro-Kitara) goes as far back as between 2,000 and 3,000 years ago with the Batembunzi followed by the Bacwezi and presently the Babiito.

Batembuzi dynasty: Batembuzi (Batembuzi means ‘harbingers’ or ‘pioneers’) were actually the founders of the Bunyoro Kingdom. Their reign dates back to the time of Africa’s Bronze Age and there were 22 kings in total who ruled over Bunyoro with Isaza being the last of the Batembuzi.

Bacwezi dynasty:  The Bacwezi migrated into Kitara from the Northern direction most possibly from the empire of Ethiopia. Some sources believe they came as traders from the areas south of the Nile and west of the Sudan probably from Egypt or Abyssinia. Boats and musical instruments – drums, guitars (‘Endingidi”) found in both Bunyoro and Buganda also testify to the Egyptian presence since similar items are found in Egypt as well.

In addition to founding the empire of Kitara, the Bacwezi are further credited with the introduction of the unique, long-horned Ankole cattle, coffee growing, iron smelting, and the first semblance of organized and centralized government, under the king.

The Bacwezi are also believed to have disappeared south wards and when the Europeans first came to the lacustrine regions, people mistook them for the Bacwezi.

Babiito dynasty: The Bacwezi dynasty was followed by the Babiito dynasty of the current Omukama of Bunyoro-Kitara. Modern day historians place the beginning of the Babiito dynasty at around the time of the invasion of Bunyoro by the Luo from the North. The first Mubiito (singular) king was Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi I, whose reign is placed around the 14th century. To date, there have been a total of 27 Babiito kings of Bunyoro-Kitara of them being the famous Kabalega (1869-1898). Kabalega was followed by Kitahimbwa (1898-1902), Duhaga II (1902-1924), Winyi IV (1925-1967) and   Solomon Iguru I – 1994 to present. Since from 1967 until 1994, the monarchy was discontinued by the Ugandan government under the leadership of His Excellence Milton Apollo Obote.

Hoima municipal council was elevated from a town council to a municipal status in 2010.