Social and Economic History of Toro Kingdom during the Period 1830-1962

Research Paper (undergraduate), 2014

121 Pages









1.0 Introduction
1.1 Background to the study
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Specific Objectives of the Study
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Significance of the Study
1.6 Purpose of the Study
1.7 Scope of the Study
1.8 Literature Review
1.9 Research Methodology
1.10 Conclusion

2.0 Introduction
2.1 Area of Study
2.2 The History of Social Customs and Institutions of Toro
2.3 Marriage among the Batoro
2.4 Child Naming
2.5 The Rituals Relating to Birth of Twins
2.6 Clans of Toro
2.7 Kinship Attitudes and Terminology in Toro
2.8 Traditional Religion in Toro
2.9 The Organization of Magical Religious Institutions
2.10 Organization of Relationships with Magical Religious Institutions
2.11 The Spread of Western Religions in Toro
2.12 The Impact of Western Religions on Toro’s Culture
2.13 Reaction of Traditional Leaders and Moslems to the Spread of Christianity
2.14 Informal Education in Toro
2.15 The Spread of Western Education in Toro

3.0 Introduction
3.1 Subsistence Farming in Toro
3.2 Productive Systems-Units of Production
3.3 Pastoralism in Toro
3.4 Hunting as an Economic Activity in Toro
3.5 Trade in Toro
3.6 Control of the Factors of Production
3.7 Tea Growing in Toro
3.8 Methods of Production

4.0 Introduction
4.1 Toro and Colonial Economic Policies
4.2 Percentage of County Chiefs by Religion in East Africa in 1924 in Six Regions
4.3 Conclusion

5.0 Introduction
5.1 Conclusions
5.2 Recommendations
5.3 Areas for Further Research


















This dissertation is dedicated to my wife Maureen Tumwine, my parents, Mr. John Kinuge, and Mrs. Violet Kinuge, My daughters, Namanya Pretty Tumwine Miriam and son Tumwine Isaac Praise.


It would be quite injudicious to conclude that this piece of work was as a result of my own efforts. I am sincerely grateful to my supervisor Dr Nathan Sewanyana Senkomago for the parental and professional guidance. I am equally indebted to Dr Cyprian Adupa for the orientation in Research during the first year of study and for the guidance on the must read books.

To my late wife Margret Tumwine for the reminder and encouragement before the cruel hand of the devil snatched her away from me before this work was complete. I long for the coming of Jesus when the mystery of death that has annoyed and disappointed us all will be made plain.

In a special way, I extend my appreciation to Reverend Richard Baguma of the Voice of Toro Fort Portal and Toro Kingdom for allowing me to have an interview with him, and enabling me to access his home library. Without your support, it would have taken long for me to accomplish this work.

To other Members of the History department of Kyambogo University for the counsel and constructive criticism during presentations.

To my research assistants who helped me in editing, and printing this work

To my brothers, sisters and other relatives who missed my company as I concentrated on this piece of work but you remained understanding.

Mr Kahwa Mark of Mountains of the Moon University for enabling me to use the University library and the management of the Ruwenzori information Systems for allowing me to access its archives.

May the almighty God bless you abundantly?


This study attempts to explore the Social and economic history of Toro during the period 1830-1962.

Chapter one analyses the background of Toro as a region in terms of geographic location and tribal composition. It also includes the statement of the Problem, objectives of the study, literature review, Significance and scope of the Study. The chapter also includes the Research questions, methodology, and equally discusses the challenges encountered in the course of the study.

Chapter two looks at the social organization of Toro. It analyses the social cultural beliefs and practices of the Batoro during the period 1830-1962, traditional education, Toro traditional Religion, and the organization of magical religious institutions are all examined in this chapter.

Chapter three analyses the circumstance under which foreign religions such as, Islam, Catholic, Protestant and Seventh Day Adventist religions spread into Toro. The role of Toro leaders as Kasagama in facilitating the spread of western Religions in Toro is also highlighted. The religious apathy which saw Protestant chiefs dominate political positions in Toro in comparison to other parts of East Africa is examined.

Chapter Four reconstructs the economic history of Toro during the period 1830- 1962. The pre-colonial economic activities of the Batoro such as Hunting, subsistence farming, cattle rearing, iron smelting, inter alia are highlighted, the study also examines the processes through which the British colonialists integrated Toro into a world of capitalist economy.

Chapter Five presents the effects of colonial rule on the social and economic life of Toro by 1962. On the one hand, the researcher admits the positive effects of colonial rule which led to the introduction of new crops, and infrastructure development, some of the negative effects of colonial rule are also presented.

Chapter six handles the conclusions and recommendations.



This was a form of marriage among the Batoro common in pre-colonial times. It involved booking of an unborn infant for marriage by the parents of a prospective husband who was still young. (KUSWEERA ENDA). In case the infant happened to be a male after birth, it would be postponed till a female was produced.


The privileged class of people in Toro’s social stratification that usually involved the well to do cattle owners who usually dominated the political life of Toro on account of their wealth.

BAIRU. (Slaves)These were the lowest in ranking in as far as the Toro’s social ladder was concerned. They were mainly peasants who worked for the Bahuma on their farms, owned no land, and did not have the opportunity to participate in politics.

CAPITALIST ECONOMY. This is an economic system based on private control of the means of production. A capitalist economy is characterized by a free competitive market, motivated by profit and exchange is by means of money. Before the integration of Toro into a world of Capitalist economy, the means of production were owned communally, there was no competition and exchange was by means of Barter as money was yet to be introduced.

DIVINATION.This involved seeking knowledge by super natural means. It also involved foretelling the future and discovering the unknown through Omen, Oracles, or supernatural powers and was always done by doctor diviners as specialists.

EMBANDWA.This is a Rutoro word referring to the traditional way of worship in which they showed respect and allegiance to ancestral spirits in form of sacrifices, and visiting traditional shrines.

KUBUKARA.A ritual pertaining marriage in Toro in which a father in law held the daughter in law on his laps as he sat on the chair. The mother in law would also do the same to the son in-law as a sign of welcoming them into their respective families.

KARUZIIKA. A separate apartment in Toro palace in which sacred objects as royal spears, beads calabashes, inter alia were kept. It was a strictly controlled place whose entry was only limited to high profile officials in Toro Kingdom.

TOTEM. An important object, animal or plant or any other natural phenomenon which was revered as a symbol of a clan or society and often used in rituals among some people in Toro. It was a taboo for a Mutoro to eat or harm his or her own Totem. If a person ate his/her own Totem, they would face negative repercussions as disease, or even death.



1.0 Introduction

In this chapter, the background to the study, the statement of the problem, specific objectives, research questions, and significance of the study are given. In addition, literature review and research methodology are presented.

1.1 Background to the study

The study was conducted in Toro whose heartland is the present day Kabarole district. During the pre-colonial period Toro was a wide area comprising of the current districts of Kabarole, kyenjojo, Kamwenge, Kasese, Bundibugyo, Kyegegwa, and Ntoroko . After some time Kasese broke away and became an independent political unit and of recent also cultural kingdom under Obusinga bwa Rwenzururu.. Though Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo,and ,Kamwenge are currently independent political Districts but they remain culturally under Toro because they are united by Toro kingdom and do pay allegiance to Omukama of Toro, Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV. Toro lies at the foot of Ruwenzori Mountain along the hilly plateau running east from the extreme west of the lacustrine region towards Mubende according to Steinhart.[1] The kingdom of Toro, the mother of Toro sub region is said to have been formed around 1822 when the first son of Omukama (King) Kyebambe Nyamutukura of Bunyoro called Olimi Kaboyo split the southern part of his father’s kingdom and formed his own which came to be known as Toro.1

The people of Toro are known as Batoro and they constitute 3.5% of Uganda’s total population according to the 2012 census done by Kabarole Resource and research centre. The language spoken in Toro Is called Rutoro and the people of Toro are divided into a number of clans which are distinguished by their respective totems. However the other minority ethnic groups and the biggest second to the Batoro are the Bakonjo most of whom live at the hills of Ruwenzori Mountains, the other groups include the Bakiga, and the Banyarwanda among others.

In Fort Portal municipality, the study was conducted in Toro Kingdom palace which is said to have been founded around (1822.),3 Western Uganda Field headquarters, (S.D.A, 1947), Virika Cathedra (Catholic, 1900), Fort portal Diocese (Protestants, 1905) according to Kabarole Research and resource center (N.G.O 2001), Mountains of the moon University (1998),Nyakasura school(1930), and Butiiti in the present day Kyenjojo district.3

Toro is located about 300 kilometers by road South West of kampala Uganda’s capital. Toro is an important Tourist hub lying west of kasese near Lake Albert in Uganda’s oil corridor.

Toro or kabarole district is boarded by the districts of Hoima, kasese, Bundibugyo, and Kamwenge.

Economically, the Batoro just like other Uganda communities before colonial rule practiced subsistence agriculture. They grew crops such as bananas, yams, beans and maize on small scale. Traditional methods had been based upon subsistence economy with payment in kind and trade through barter.2 Hunting was also an important economic activity.

Toro also had contacts with other communities in Uganda because of the need to access those items which were not produced in Toro due to climate or soil. In addition, other communities like the Baganda and the Acholi depended on Toro for salt which was a scarce commodity in pre-colonial Uganda but could only be obtained from Katwe and Kasenyi which became part of Toro in about 1830 according to Karugire. Toro like other parts of Uganda did not survive colonial rule. The 1900 Toro agreement integrated Toro into the rest of the protectorate and as a result, the British introduced exploitative policies such as Taxation which integrated Toro into colonial economy. Also the British promoted agriculture in Toro by trying a number of crops like ground nuts, Simsim, and coffee, among others but of all these coffee and cotton proved to be more successful.

The settler farmers were not successful in Toro as the case was in other parts of Uganda. It became difficult for Uganda to become a settler economy since there were several restrictions on buying land and more so alienation was very difficult. Like the rest of Uganda therefore, Toro did not experience white settlers. Any allocation of land exceeding 1000 acres had to be approved by the secretary of state for colonies in London and the settlers had to buy it at high prices. The demand for cash crops had therefore to be fulfilled through local farmers as opposed to large settler plantations.3

Socially, Religion played an important role in the day to day life of the Batoro just as it was among other western Bantu tribes. The Batoro practised ancestral worship which was punctuated by a cultural ceremony called Embandwa (traditional worship). This practice united the Batoro as people from different backgrounds converged for this ceremony. The whole basis of this religion was the strong belief in the continuity of human life.4 The arrival of Christianity in Toro due to the work of Christian missionaries undermined traditional religion in Toro. The Christian revolution in Uganda and Toro in particular, was due to largely the work of British colonialists from Buganda who moved to south western Uganda after 1894.5 In Toro, Christianity was associated with king Kasagama an ally of Buganda and Britain against Bunyoro.6 The first religion to be established in Toro, was Islam which came with the Arab traders who established the first shops in Toro. They established shops along which they put rooms which were used as simple mosques.

The Toro society like other western Bantu societies was made up of a number of clans that had totems. The Toro clans played different roles in the palace for example the Babito clan produced the kings to rule Toro, the Baisanza clan produced the speakers to the Toro Kingdom Parliament, which was called Orukurato. Toro also has a number of fascinating tourist features some of which were/are of great historical importance in as far as the social organization of Toro is concerned. The most important of these are the stalactites and stalagmites/ Amabere or caves which are found at Nyakasura in fort portal Bundibugyo road also popularly known as Amabeereganyinamwiiru. It also has Mountain Ruwenzori with its highest peak margarita among others. All these have endeared Toro to the rest of Uganda and the world at large. Many holiday makers from Uganda and abroad visited and still visit Toro to have a glance at these attractive features.

In as far as education was concerned; Toro had its own system of through which instructions were given to the young to enable them grow up into disciplined people. Before the advent of colonial rule, the clans of Toro through the clan leaders had various mechanisms through which their young were oriented into adulthood.

Communities in Toro the young and old were given skills on how to survive based on the environment. The absence of missionary schools in Uganda according to Tiberondwa did not mean the absence of education. In Uganda, traditional forms of education existed based on tribes and clans.7 Units of clans covered both the theoretical and practical fields of education. One did not have to go to school to be educated. The whole process of living was a process of learning.8

Although Toro is predominantly occupied by the Batoro, it is a multi-ethnic sub region with many other tribes such as the Bakonjo who dominate the Ruwenzori hills then the Bakiga in parts of Kyenjojo, Bunyangabu County and also some Banyarwanda in kijura Sub County. These found their way in Toro due to social economic and political factors. The Bamba were brought under the subjugation of Toro a situation which continued during colonial rule. Like the Bakonjo the Bamba struggled against this domination by Toro.9 There were perceptions of ethnic homogeneity and oneness in Toro. As Carol A. Buchanan put it, what does it mean for a Toro elder to remark that we are the same clan? Specifically what does it signify when Razali Zerisire a Gahi clan’s man observes that in Mwenge County the Gahi are also known as the Bwijwa clan, in central Toro is known as Ihembe and in Nkole as Gahe.10 There is serious connection among each of the clans in Toro with those of the neighboring kingdom such as Bunyoro and Ankole as noted above. This is the implication of the words of Mzeei Zeerisire. The names of these clans and their respective Totems are almost the same. After the establishment of colonial rule, Toro region was isolated from the rest of Uganda. One of the major grievance’s which the Batoro had with colonial rule was that Toro was connected with poor roads and that the Batoro chiefs had not been given mailo land which had been promised to them by the 1900 Toro agreement.

In May 1891 the following the defeat of the Muslims in Bugangaize County which bordered Bunyoro Kingdom under Kabarega, captain, FD Luggard fought in Toro kingdom, defeated Kabalega and helped prince Kasagama the heir to the Toro throne to assume leadership. This was because king Kabalega and the Muslims were a threat to the British occupation of Uganda and so he had to defeat them in order to overcome this threat.11

1.2 Statement of the Problem.

According to Were, the history of western Bantu is still incomplete despite the enormous amount of research already accomplished or already in progress.[1]. Much emphasis among scholars has been put on the political history of Toro which is also not comprehensively handled. This means that most aspects in the social and economic aspects of Toro remain unknown.

This study is therefore an attempt to bridge the gap that exists by attempting to reconstruct the social and economic history of Toro during the period 1830-1962. Toro as a region had a very serious connection with the rest of Uganda in pre-colonial times due to the fact that salt a principal commodity upon which trade evolved in Uganda was found in found in Toro at Katwe and Ki biro. The Batoro also engaged in other economic activities such as hunting, brewing, basket weaving, inter alia all of which need special in depth study. Mention has been made here and there by a number of writers about Toro but no comprehensive study has been undertaken in the social and economic history of Toro.

Socially, the Batoro had practices which kept intact the Toro social cohesion to the extent that they could not be eclipsed by the western cultural practices that came with colonial rule. For example child naming rituals, traditional marriage, inter alia, hence such are worth of studying in detail thus further justifying this study. It is this historical gap that this study attempted to bridge.

1.3 Specific Objectives of the Study

In this study, the main objectives were three:

1. To investigate the Social organization of Toro during the period 1830-1962.
2. To examine the social organization of Toro during the period 1830-1962
3. To assess the effects of colonial rule o Toro’s social and economic history.

1.4 Research Questions.

In undertaking this study, I was guided by the following questions.

1. How was Toro organized socially during the period 1830-1962?
2. What were the main economic activities of the people of Toro during the period 1830-1962?
3. How did the establishment of colonial rule affect Toro’s social and economic organization?
4. How were young ones instructed in Toro before the introduction of formal education?

1.5 Significance of the Study.

The study will:

1. Guide the policy makers by identifying further Toro’s economic potential.
2. The study will be used as basis for future researchers in Toro’s social and economic history.
3. This study will contribute to the growing body of literature on social and economic history of Uganda.

1.6 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to examine the social and economic history of Toro during the period 1830-1962.

1.7 Scope of the Study

Geographically, the study was carried out in the major Sub counties of Toro region which were selected from the three major counties of the greater Toro such as Mwenge, Bunyangabu. The area is blessed with fertile soils and favorable climate receiving two rain seasons a year. This area was chosen because of its rich history and connection with the greater Bunyoro Kitara Empire from which it split around 1830. It was from this time that the foundation for the social and economic History of Toro was made. Toro is also blessed with the Ruwenzori Forest and the associated national park which has made it pivotal in Uganda’s Tourist sector.

The study was made from Historic sites such as Amabere Ganyinamwiiru, saaka Crater Lake, Religious places such as Virika cathedral in Fort Potal, Kagote S, D.A church, and St John cathedral, Education institutions as Nyakasura School, Kyebambe Girls School, Kibiito SecondarySchool, St Adolf Tibeeyalirwa Secondary School, and Toro Kingdom.

The time scope ranged from 1830 -1962. The year 1830 was chosen as the starting point of this study because it was the year when Toro kingdom started having broken away from Bunyoro. The year 1962 was also chosen as the end point because it was the year when Uganda achieved independence hence transition from pre-colonial and colonial Uganda to independent Uganda.

1.8 Literature Review

Literature on the social and economic history of Toro is available but no attempt has been made to put together an in depth analysis of the social and economic history of Toro during the period 1830-1962. A lot of gaps have been realized in the analysis below and at the same time attempt has been made to bridge them.

According to Tiberondwa, traditional forms of education in many parts of Uganda were based on tribal and clan units covering both theoretical and practical skills.[13] whereas his observation is vital to this study, it does not go into the details of how the traditional education was imparted in Uganda and Toro in particular thus a justification for this study.

Commenting on the composition of the people of western Uganda, Were noted that, the term western Bantu refer to the Bantu speaking communities of East Africa to the West of the Rift Valley. In Uganda this group comprises of the Banyoro, Batoro, Baganda, Basoga, Banyole and Bagisu.[14] since the Batoro are part of the Western Bantu community, Were’s comment is relevant to this study though to a very small extent since he does not go into the specific details of each community in terms of social and economic organization. By concentrating on the social and economic history of Toro, my study is an attempt to bridge this imbalance.

Highlighting on the economic organization of Toro, Karugire noted that, in the South West in the present Toro district, important trade connections developed around the salt mines of Katwe and Kasenyi and this trade fanned out in many directions. This observation though vital to this study, does not bring out a true picture of Toro’s economic organization. There is also no mention of the factors which facilitated this trade, mode of exchange, and means of transport. This study has attempted to bridge such an imbalance.

According to Steinhart, Toro district lies at the foot of Mountain Ruwenzori along the hilly plateau running east from the Western most limits of the lacustrine zone towards Mubende Once the heartland of Kitaran Empire.[16] He goes further to explain how Toro seceded from Bunyoro and became an independent Kingdom. This analysis is only vital because of giving insight about the geographic location of Toro and its origin. However, Steinhart makes no further attempt to delve into the social and economic organization of Toro after its final secession from Bunyoro which this study has attempted to do.

Karugire further observed that, in the South west in the present Toro district, important trade connections developed around the salt mines of Katwe and this trade fanned out in many directions. There is therefore need to find out the extent to which Toro formed the axis upon which pre-colonial trade was based. This study has attempted to answer this question.

Advancing further the need for further study into the history of Toro, Were noted that, the History of Western Bantu is still incomplete despite the enormous amount of research already accomplished or already in progress. Even where the research has been done, there many important gaps which no individual researcher can be expected to solve within a short time.[17] this proves further the significance of a comprehensive study of this caliber in the social and economic history of Toro . By fostering research in the social and economic history of Toro this study is just an attempt towards the bridging of this historical gap as noted above. Deliberating on the spread of Christianity in Toro, Tidy observed that,

In Toro Christianity became associated with Kasagama an ally of Buganda and Britain against Bunyoro which had dominated Toro for centuries. [18]

Tidy does not explain in detail the circumstances under which foreign religions were introduced in Toro and the impact they had on traditional religion a gap which this study has addressed.

Were described how religion played an important role in the day today life of Western Bantu peoples to whom the Batoro belong. According to him religion was at family level and ancestral worship was common.[19] He also hinted on beliefs in life after death and the importance of ancestral spirits

On the same subject above, Kinuge a respondent noted that the pre-colonial Batoro had a number of gods whom they worshiped as representatives of God (Ruhanga). He gave mention of gods such as Ndyoka, Karubanga, Rwakaikara among others who performed different roles. There is therefore clear agreement between Kinuge the respondent and were that the Batoro were religious people even before the arrival of Western religions. From this study, it can rightly be argued that the spread of Western religions in Toro did not mark the introduction of religion in Toro since the Batoro already practiced their own traditional religion. In this study I have dug deep into other traditional religious beliefs of the Batoro and the impact of Western Religions on Toro traditional religion.

Ssekamwa highlighted on the origins of Toro Kingdom and showed how Toro Kingdom was curved out of the Kingdom of Bunyoro in 1830 by prince Kaboyo an elder son of the ruling Omukama then kyebambe Nyamutukura. [20] SSekamwa however concentrated on the origin of Toro and didn’t give any mention on the social and economic organization of Toro. This study makes an attempt of bridging this gap.

Sogay gave a brief account of how Toro was colonized by the British. He went further to assert that the rulers’ of Toro and Ankole accepted British colonial rule because the agreements left them with considerable powers and because the British helped them against their enemies.[21] Although this observation holds relevance, it does not address the gist of this study since no attempt is made by Soggy to analyze the social and economic history of Toro in detail which gap this study has attempted to bridge.

According to Olive, during colonial rule, education on one hand and economic developments were put in the hands of private enterprises of Christian Missionaries and commercial companies. This led to the rise of private schools. He indicated that, the basic question in the social and religious history of any society at the beginning of the colonial period was whether it was swimming with the tide of advancing colonialism or against it [23]. This observation is general to the entire Uganda protectorate and Africa in general but relevant to this study as many respondents hinted on the fact that Christian Missionaries were the pioneers in the establishment of Western type of education in Toro. John Bahemuka one of the respondents for instance informed me that Bagaaya Primary School, Nyakasura School, in Toro among others were built by protestant Missionaries.

There was escalation of violence in Toro by 1895 as noted by Steinhart. On the 16th of January 1895, Mwenge was invaded by Nyoro military force and Byakweyamba Kasagama’s arch rival was forced to flee and the church at Butiiti his capital destroyed.

The purpose of this expedition was to meet an approaching arms caravan and it was led by Rwabudongo the commander of the then Barusuura Royal regiment.[25]. This was however more of a political part of Toro’s evolutionary process. No mention is made by Steinhart regarding the Social and economic history of Toro the cornerstone of this study. In this ambitious, study an attempt has been made to bridge these gaps.

Captain FD Laggard played a significant role in the maintenance of Toro which was seriously challenged by Kabarega of Bunyoro who wanted to recover it .Steinhart reported that Lugard used a force of Sudanese garrisons who came to be known as Abanubi to fight against Kabarega and safeguard Kasagama. He further noted that as long as the Sudanese garrisons guarded the fledging kingdom from being overrun by the most powerful Nyoro armies, Kasagama was bound to be beholden to the British policies.[26] Though this statement b Steinhart is of a political nature it’s important to this study in a sense that the Sudanese garrisons who were used by Lugard to save Kasagama formed part of the Toro Nubian community hence in his study, an attempt has been made to find out more about this community in terms of Toro’s social organization.

Nabudere, observed that Toro never managed to break away from Bunyoro until the British colonialists moved in to establish a separate kingdom out of the squabbles of the claimant to leadership.[27] Nabudere equally gives a brief account of how Toro seceded from Bunyoro but does not go into the aspects of Toro’s social and economic organization, which gap this study attempts to bridge.

Nabudere further noted that Toro was a communal society organized on clan basis. Each clan had its own elected head that settled its own disputes. He further showed how the Bamba were latte brought under Toro’s subjugation which continued even under British colonialism. Like the Bakonjo, the Bamba struggled against this domination. The Bakonjo who were latter brought under Toro during colonial rule were similarly an agricultural community inhabiting the Eastern slopes of Ruwenzori [28]

Nabudere therefore brought out the gist of this study which has made an attempt to analyze further the social and economic organization of Toro.

1.9 Research Methodology

The qualitative method was used in collecting data for this study. Data was collected from selected sub counties in the three major counties of Toro. The research was explanatory in nature involving the reconstruction of historic material and analyzing it thematically. Qualitative research approach is a method of inquiry employed in many different academic disciplines especially the social sciences. It is explorative in nature and involves understanding phenomena and answering questions by analyzing and making sense of unstructured data. It is designed to reveal a targeted audience range of behavior and the perceptions that drive it with reference to specific topics or issues. The qualitative research design was used because it is the most appropriate method of collecting historical data since it gives an opportunity for the respondents to build on each other’s comments or ideas and in the process more information can be obtained. It also enables the researcher an opportunity to probe further hence going beyond the initial responses thus its relevance to a historic study of this nature.

A descriptive Research design on the other hand is a method of collecting information by interviewing or administering questionnaire to a sample of individuals. (Orodho,12. The major purpose of the descriptive design is to describe the state of affairs as it exists hence it was deemed important to this study which is aimed at describing the social and economic organization of Toro as it was during the period 1830-1962.According to Orodho and Kombo [14], it can be used when collecting information on people’s attitudes, habits or social issues hence it was inevitable to use it in this study. It also enabled me to use checklists and interview guides to get data.

The primary respondents to this study were the elderly people of Toro in the age brackets of 50-80 years. These included retired and active civil servants, Religious leaders, and former or active leaders of Toro Kingdom. The elderly people were mostly used because they could provide primary information of the events in Toro before and during colonial rule as many of them existed during the time of colonial rule.14 people were selected from each of the seven sub counties of Toro using the Snowball sampling technique. Snowball is supported by Amin [15] and it is usually ideal for locating individuals for the study where the researcher begins with a few individuals who are knowledgeable about the problem being investigated. Snowball method of sampling was used to select elders who lived during the time of colonial rule and the few who were existing in the pre-colonial period. This was done by presenting an introduction letter from the university to the relevant authorities in each of these sub counties who would then direct me to the potential respondents. In all, 100 people participated in the study. These included 28 retired civil servants, 14 religious leaders, 14 serving head teachers, 14 retired head teachers, 14 serving Toro kingdom officials, two retired Toro Kingdom officials, and 28 lay elderly people of 80 years of age. The description of the total population and sample size is illustrated as follows:

Table 1.1 Description of respondents.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Interview Guide

Different interview guides were formulated to capture information from different targeted respondents as retired civil servants, active and retired religious leaders. Toro Kingdom officers, the serving district local government officers, as well as Toro elderly people of 80 years of age and above. The use of the interview guide was because it helped to generate data through probing. In -depth interviews also guarantee an immediate feedback. Using this instrument, information about the social and economic history of Toro during the period 1830 to 1962 was generated. In addition the information about the effects of colonial on Toro’s social cultural organization was also generated using this method.

I also employed the purposive sampling which is defined by Creswell [16] as a sampling method where the researcher uses his/her common sense or personal judgment to select participants from whom to collect information. This was mainly used to select respondents who were not necessarily elders but young people who for one reason or another, were expected by the researcher to have relevant information to this study.

Data was collected through interviewing, and use of material through observations , available secondary data was also used where the researcher made use of various libraries such as the Kabarole Resource and research Centre Ruwenzori information systems, among others.

Observation check List

An observation checklist was formulated to guide field observation. The choice of this method was due to the fact that it helped to guide what was happening in real life situation, classify and record pertinent findings related to the study according to 9Creswell. Besides, some aspects of the study required the researcher’s observation in order to explain the impact of colonial rule on Toro’s social and economic organization. These aspects included, Cultural objects as spears, calabashes, traditional dresses, the cultural sites as the stalactites and stalagmites of (Nyakasura Amabeere ganyina Mwiru), the tea plantations, the different crops and fields among others. These were captured through Camera photograph and presented in findings to confirm on ground assessment of Toro’s social and economic organization. A sample observation checklist is attached to this study.

The main sources of secondary data included internet surfing, Toro public library archives, Mountains of the moon University library, Kabarole Research and Resource Centre, Ruwenzori information systems, among others.

During the study, a number of problems were encountered:

- Literature on the social and economic history of Toro was not easily accessible in public libraries. To address this problem I had to visit the archives of Toro Kingdom and Kabarole research and resource center.
- Ethnic bias between the Batoro and the Bakiga in kyenjojo and Kamwenge. It was difficult to induce the Bakiga to cooperate especially after realizing that am a Mutoro owing to the land conflicts in areas of Kyenjojo between the Bakiga and the Batoro. I solved this problem by educating them about the need to be united since both the Batoro and Bakiga are Ugandans.
- Some of the people interviewed like retired officials of Toro kingdom were too old to remember factual information. This was solved by cross checking the information provided by different respondents.
- Some people were unwilling to be interviewed due to suspicion owing to the history of political instability in this area in relation to the A.D.F rebels. This was reduced by showing to them the introduction letter from Kyambogo University and seeking guidance from the local authorities.

1.10 Conclusion

In this chapter, the introduction, literature review, and the Methodology of stud have been presented. The chapter has also analyzed the problems encountered during the Study, objectives, Significance of the study, scope and methodology. A total of 70 respondents were consulted and are the basis of study findings to be presented in the next chapter.


1. Edward Steinhart, (1977), Kingdoms of Western Uganda, Fountain publishers, P24
2. Samwiri Rubaraza Karugire,(1980), A political history of Uganda, Heinemann, P26
3. Atienno Ohiambo et-al, (1967) a history of East Africa, long man group,P127
4. Ibid P129
5. Gideon’s S Were, 1968, History of East Africa, East African publishing house, P190.
6. Michael Tidy Et-al, 1981 A History of Africa, Great Britain, P177
7. Ibid P177
8. Ado k Tiberondwa, (1977),Missionary Teachers as agents of colonialism, P1
9. Ibid P1
10. Orhodo and Kombo, 2003
11. Creswell
12. Dan Wadada Nabudere, (1980),Imperialism and revolution in Uganda, P12
13. Caro A Buchanan, (19780, Perceptions of ethnic interaction in East African interior, international journal of Historic studies volume 2 no 3.
14. Gs Were,(1968), East Africa through a thousand years, Evans Brothers Limited, P168
15. Donald Kisilu and Delno L.A. Tromp (2006) Proposal and Thesis Writing
16. Op cit P3
17. Op cit P 170
18. Ibid P28
19. Ibid P24
20. Ibid P171
21. Michael Tidy with Donald Leeming,(1981), A History of Africa, Volume 2, P177
22. Ibid P189
23. J C Ssekamwa, 1971, A sketch Map history of East Africa, Makerere University Printery, P120
24. J O Sogay Et-al, (1978), History of Africa, Evans Brothers, P252
25. Rolland Olive and Anthony Atmore, 1967, Africa since 1800, Cambridge University Press,P45
26. Ibid P46
27. Op cit,P107
28. Op cit P12
29. Ibid P13
30. Ibid P46



2.0 Introduction

This chapter reconstructs the history of Toro in terms of social organization during the period 1830 to 1962. It’s an attempt to answer the research question, which stated, how was Toro organized socially during the period 1830-1962? It also highlights on the geographical location of Toro, impact of Western religions on Toro’s Social organization, it reconstructs the customs of the Batoro, naming rituals, marriage and traditional religion, inter alia during the period 1830-1962.

2.1 Area of Study

Toro is found in western Uganda at the foot of the Ruwenzori Mountains along the hilly plateau running East from the western most limits of the lacustrine zone toward Mubende once the heartland of the kitaran empire. According to Steinhart, by the early nineteenth century when Toro established its independence from Bunyoro, the empire was declining. The language of the Batooro is Rutoro and is considered as one with the language of the Nyoro court. The Batoro were predominantly agriculturalists growing a number of crops such as matooke, beans, Cassava, among others. They also rear animals on small scale and large scale. The Batoro in the Present day Ntoroko district are exclusively cattle keepers because of the Semi-arid nature of the climate and poor soils. There some minority ethnic groups that found their way in Toro either for economic or social political factors. These include the Bakiga, the Banyarwanda, and the Indians who inhabit Fort Portal town mainly for trading purpose.


Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source: Kabarole resource and research center. Accessed on the 19th/July/2014

2.2 The History of Social Customs and Institutions of Toro.

This section sought to provide an answer to the research question, “How was Toro organized socially during the period 1830-1962

As already observed Most of the Batoro lived in the plateau counties of Burahya, Mwenge, Kyaka, Bunyangabu counties, Bwamba and Busongora counties though the latter two were majorly inhabited by the Bamba, and the Bakonjo which were hither to under Toro. All these territories were under Toro by 1830 when prince Kaboyo the favorite son of Nyakamatura the first son of Kabarega took the south western part of his father’s kingdom and formed his own. Toro was and is not a homogenous sub region inhabited by the Batoro only. It is/was inhabited by a number of non Rutoro speaking people.

The Bamba for example lived and do still live in Bwamba county to the North West, most Bakonjo live along the slopes of the Ruwenzori in the counties of Burahya ,Karugutu, and Bwamba to the North some live in Bunyangabu county on the east of the Ruwenzori and in West and Busongora to the west. The Bamba Batooro and Bakonjo differ significantly in physic, language, and culture although most are conversant with Rutooro language

This is proved by the words of one of the Konjo elder on the east of the Ruwenzori:

“Bakonjo and Bamba never had any tribal, customary, social, psychological, connection, in fact the Bamba are much nearer the Batoro socially by intermarriage and hereditary tribal connections “[1]

According to Tailor [2], Toro society comprised two distinct ethnic groups these were the light skinned sharp-featured slender Bahuma who were a very small minority and the dark skinned Negroid were more heavily built Bairu.”2

The Bahuma who traditionally were pastoralists and who did not engage in cultivation are said to have lived on the Semlik valley and Busongora plains and parts of the plateau especially Mwenge and Kibaale where extensive grazing was available. The Bairu were traditionally cultivators mainly and lived on the plateau.

Tailor emphasized that it is difficult to find people of the traditional appearance of the Bahuma and who claim to be Bahumas by birth. These are to be found on the Semlik plain and here and there on the plateau. This area is also commonly known as Butuku in the present day Ntoroko district. Most Batoro say that Most Bahumas left Toro when they lost their cattle to various epidemics. This is repeatedly mentioned with reference to Busongora where there is almost no single cow and parts of Mwenge which is now thickly cover with bush and devoid of stock.

A mention was made of some Batoro many of whom may not possess the traditional Bahuma features and own no cattle but claim to be Bahumas by descent. This is understandable as intermarriages between the Bairu and the Bahamas were allowed according to Brian.3

2.3 Marriage among the Batoro.

This is further attempt to provide an answer to the first research question, about how Toro was organized socially during the period 1830-1962.

Marriage was a very important institution among the Batoro. Parents played a very important role in the marriage of their children. Polygamy was allowed as long as someone had the potential to take care of many wives. Most Batoro who had a lot of wealth in form of land and cows were forced to marry many wives who would take care of their wealth. They advised their sons to marry as early as possible to avoid temptations .Parents also searched marriage partners for their children. Parental involvement in the search for marriage partners for their children according to most interviewees enabled their children to get disciplined girls since they knew better their backgrounds. One respondent called John Bahemuka indicated that his father in law rejected all men who wanted to marry his daughter and opted for him because he knew his background so well.[3]

Having identified the potential marriage partner, the next important step was payment of dowry. This was in form of goats, cows, and latter money after its introduction by the colonialists. Some Batoro according to some informants would accept food such as bananas especially during famine as dowry. According to Tailor, in a census of 120 marriages in Mirongo County in 1951, the average payment was 118s. In the pre European period payment was in cattle, goats and other objects, dowry was contributed by parents and relatives of the family.[4]

The marriage ceremony in the case of normal first marriages involved lengthy preliminaries at the home of the bride between her father and relatives of the groom and representative of the groom. Formal engagement, the settlement of the bride price amount the choice of the wedding day all would be concluded only after many visits and many substantial gifts of beer. Significant of these visits was Okweranga or introduction one of the ceremonies in Toro that survived being eroded by the onslaught of western cultural values as a result of colonialism. A group of elders would be sent from the groom’s home to negotiate and agree on the actual amount and property to be paid and as dowry and after which specific date would be fixed for the payment of bride price. The payment of bride price was a big ceremony punctuated by dancing (Orunyege), singing and eating.


1 Samuel Rubaraza Karugire, (1980) A political history of Uganda, Heinemann, 26.

2 Odhiambo Atieno (1977), A history of East Africa, Long man Group, 127

3 Ibid Page 129

4 Gideon’s S were,(1968) Survey of East African History, East African publishing house Nairobi, 190.

5 Michael Tidy et-al(1981), A history of Africa, , Great Britain, 177

6 Ibid page 177

7 Ado k Tiberondwa (1977), Missionary teachers as agents of colonialism, , Kampala, 1

8 Ibid page 1

9 Dan Wadada Nabudere, (1980) imperialism and revolution in Uganda, Tanzania, 12.

10 Carole A Buchanan, (1978) perceptions of ethnic interaction in East African interior. International journal of historical studies volume 2 no 3.

11 G.s were et-al, (1969) East Africa through a thousand years, Evans brothers limited, 168.

12 Orodho, 2003

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Social and Economic History of Toro Kingdom during the Period 1830-1962
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Tumwine Jesse (Author), 2014, Social and Economic History of Toro Kingdom during the Period 1830-1962, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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