c.1863 to 1953
Church of Uganda (Anglican)
Daudi Mbabi was born at Mutundwe Hill, Busongora, just inside the now Democratic Republic of the Congo border. He was the youngest son of Wamara and Kasemiire—Wamara was the ruler and spiritual leader of several Bahima clans. Mbabi was captured by Kabarega’s barusura c. 1875 and sold by his Munyoro captor to a Muganda who presented him to the mother of Muteza I. When she died he was taken into the household of Mwanga’s mother. When he became a Christian he lost favor, and fled and went as an evangelist to Koki. On his return he was baptized by the Rev. E. Millar in 1893. He went to work for the church at Bombo. In Kampala he was always welcome in the household of Tefire Kisosonkole who was his godfather. As a result of Fisher’s influence he was appointed kawuta (head cook) to Kitehimbwa when he was sent to Bunyoro as Mukama in 1898. Mbabi became very unpopular for obeying British orders and trying to introduce Kiganda etiquette into the Bunyoro court. In 1900 he was made Katambala of Buruli. In 1902 he was transferred to the position of mugema at Pawiri, and was suspended after a fight with the Bachope brought on because he tried to obey government orders about small pox. In 1903 he was appointed sekyoya (sub-chief) at Butiaba, and then mutengesa (also a sub-chief) at Bigando. From this position he was suspended because of a disagreement with his saza chief. In 1906 he was sent to supervise the building of Hoima township, and when the Nyangire rising took place the following year, he refused to take sides. As a reward for his fidelity he was appointed to a subchieftainship in Bugahya. In 1912 he was made regent for Andereya Butetere, one of the sons of Paulo Byabaowezi between whom their father’s domains were divided. From 1918 to 1927 he worked as katabarwa (sub-chief) to the Pokino at Kigaya, and in 1927 he was appointed to a saza chieftaincy, that of Sekibobo, making his headquarters at Kyema. In 1930 he built a new saza headquarters at Pakanyi, and this became his home until his death. In 1933 he was one of the signatories of the Bunyoro Agreement, and in 1935 he was awarded a Silver medal for his services to the Protectorate. In 1936 a reorganization of sazas took place, and he was put in charge of the combined counties of the Sekibobo and the Kangao with his headquarters at Kiryandongo. He retired on pension in 1937, and died in 1953 having been struck by lightning.
Notes (short form; see List of Sources for complete citations):
Based on an obituary in the Uganda Herald, July 25, 1953, written by his son, Solomon Mbabi-Katana.
This biography, written by Louise Pirouet, was included in “Appendix A: Biographical Notes,” on page 413-14 of “The Expansion of the Church of Uganda (N.A.C.) from Buganda into Northern and Western Uganda between 1891 and 1914, with Special Reference to the work of African Teachers and Evangelists” (PhD Thesis: University of East Africa, 1968). Pirouet published this thesis as Black Evangelists (London: Rex Collings, 1978). However, Black Evangelists does not reproduce the detailed biographies, complete with references to sources, found in Appendix A of the thesis. Print copies are available at Africana Section, Makerere University Library (U 02 P57); The Centre for Christianity Worldwide, Cambridge; and a microfilm copy at the School of Oriental Studies, London. [information from Angus Crichton]