The Queen Mother of Buganda

Because of the extraordinary feat and unusual good luck of giving birth to a king, the Namasole (the formal title for the king's mother) was afforded very high respect and honor throughout the kingdom. The Namasole was given a palace of her own to live in and various chiefs to serve her. In fact the head of her chiefs was also called a katikkiro. This should not be confused with the king's katikkiro who headed the kingdom's government. Despite her numerous previledges however, the Namasole had no formal role in the governance of the kingdom. In fact since Kimera's time to that of Ssuuna II, the Namasole was not allowed to even set eyes on her son who had acceeded to the throne. One of the Namasole's brothers, given the title Masimbi would go to visit the king on Namasole's behalf and return with news of the king's health etc..

An interesting point here is that whenever Masimbi went to visit the king, he would carry a shield and two spears. This was supposed to symbolize Masimbi's readiness (and hence the readiness of all the king's maternal relatives) to fight in defense of their "son" if need be to ensure that he retains the throne. Another of the Namasole's brothers, given the title Ssaabaganzi had the responsibility of consulting traditional doctors and oracles in all matters concerning the king's health to help ensure his continued well-being. The need for this is not evident since the Kabaka had his own doctors but he did it nonetheless.

The Namasole together with 9 of her sisters and 9 of her brothers formed a team that was called "Bannakazadde ba Kabaka". They used to be scattered in various parts of the kingdom and served as listening posts to try and forestall any plots on parts of civil chiefs to rebel against the king, or worse still any attempts by a prince to dethrone the king. (The backbone of an Internal Security Organization :-)).

Finally, the Namasole was not allowed to remarry. The theory was that they did not want the king to have to call another man (especially not a commoner!) his Daddy since one can ascend to the throne only when one's Daddy is dead. Also they did not want the king to have brothers who were not of the royal lineage which would tend to confuse future successions. Hence the saying "Kabaka taddwaako mukopi" - meaning that the king cannot have a commoner for a sibling. Mutesa II was the first king to dispense with this custom when he gave permission for his mother to remarry. Even then, this led to considerable uproar in the kingdom. To quel this, the official duties of the Namasole were transferred from Lady Namaganda to her older sister, Perepetwa Nnaabaweesi.