Sir APOLO KAGWA, K.C.M.G , M.B.E., was born about 1863. A member of the Nsenene Tribe. His grandfather was Chief Bunya of Bulemezi, Uganda. Young Kagwa was a bright boy and was liked by the missionaries. As a young man he was fond of his people and took great interest in their affairs. In those days there was no end of trouble. Often one tribe made war against another. Often, too, some kings and chiefs were found to be too fierce with their people and this was the case with King Mwanga under whom Kagwa served as a councillor. As time went on Kagwa’s influence with the people grew wonderfully. King Mwanga was not slow to notice this, and he decided to keep Kagwa at his side as his right-hand man; a position of trust and responsibility. Later Kagwa became the leading general of the armies.About 1888 Kagwa held a position equivalent to that of a Prime Minister. It was at this time that his ability as an administrator, a politician, a statesman and a soldier was tested. It was during these troublesome times that he steered the ship of State through very critical periods in spite of the blunders and autocratic attitude of his King. The climax came in 1899 and King Mwanga had to abdicate. Although Kagwa was the opposite of the King, he was as loyal to him as ever, but he made no secret of his convictions and disagreement with the King on certain matters. Everybody, however, agreed that a greater patriot could not be found. When the British flag was unfurled in Uganda in 1893, Kagwa had decided to co-operate with the British officers.
King Mwanga became the father of a son before he abdicated, and this infant son was proclaimed heir to the throne. He was thereafter known as Daudi. Kagwa was one of the three regents who were appointed. In 1902 Kagwa was appointed to represent the tribe at the coronation of King Edward VII. in England. Kagwa made much use of the few monthss he spent in England. He visited many places and made many friends and was admired for his quick intelligence, his dignity and grand physique. The King received him at Buckingham Palace. On his return to his home the British King honoured him by making him a Knight Commander of St. Michael and St. George. The K.C.M.G. is an honour that few Africans have received. As a result of Kagwa’s service to his country, wars ceased and the country prospered. Schools and churches were built in almost every village. Hospitals were opened, and nurses trained; proper roads were made. Indeed, the whole machinery of the nation was brought up to a high standard. Today both the import and export trade have increased most wonderfully.
Kagwa is the author of two very good books. Sir Apolo Kagwa served his people for over 35 years. A great asset to the Church of England in Uganda and did tremendous work for the cathedral at Namirembe. He built a beautiful home not far from that of the present ruler. This great African died in 1927. Through his death the people in Uganda-white and buck, from the Ruler to the lowest individual-have lost a true friend, a leading light and a good councillor.
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