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History of the kingdom

Toro is one of the four traditional kingdoms in Uganda located in the western region with Fort Portal Town as its capital . Toro Kingdom was once part of the large empire of Kitara under the reign of the Babito Dynasty.

Culture in the Kingdom
The kingdom enjoys a rich culture of oral tradition, Toro customs which includes respect and value of elders, indigenous handicrafts, patriotism, and very high self esteem. The Royal House of Toro represents the senior line of the Babito Dynasty of Bunyoro-Kitara. The kingdom came into being in 1822 when Prince Kaboyo rebelled against his father King Kyembambe III and seized the premier provinces of Toro and made it his kingdom. He changed his name to Olimi I and reigned over Toro kingdom from 1822 to 1865. King Olimi’s death in 1865 led to succession disputes among his many sons that lasted for nearly a decade.

Invasion of Toro
The Neighbouring kingdoms, Buganda and Bunyoro, intervened on several times on behalf of various contenders for the throne. Bunyoro was however never happy with Toro’s separate existence and invaded it in 1876. After a number of wars with various princes, Bunyoro overrun the Toro kingdom in 1880. The Royal family of Toro fled to neighbouring Ankole. The decision of princes of Toro to flee to Ankole proved fateful as most of them were massacred on the orders of the Ankole Queen Mother. The sole survivor Prince Kasagama fled to Buganda.

Prince Kasagama
In Buganda Prince Kasagama met Lord Lugard who was at the time engaged in operations against the warlike and expansionist ruler of Bunyoro. Lurgard supported the Prince to return to his kingdom and Toro was wrested from Bunyoro and Kasagama was proclaimed as Omukama Kyebambe VI. King Kyebambe reigned for thirty-seven peaceful years.

Rukidi III
Rukidi III succeeded his father in 1928. The first Western educated ruler, he had studied at King’s College Budo and served as an officer in the King’s African Rifles and in the Uganda Police. He too reigned for thirty-seven years dying in 1966.

Patrick Olimi III
Patrick Olimi III reigned for a little over a year before the abolition of the kingdoms. After a long period of exile in Kenya he eventually returned home and represented his country as Ambassador to Cuba. He enjoyed his restoration for a little over two years, dying in 1995 and leaving his throne to his three year-old son Rukidi IV.

Rukidi IV.
The accession of King Oyo to his father’s throne marked the beginning of a challenging and exciting period for the people of Toro, thus becaming 12th ruler of the 180 year old Kingdom. At an infant age of three and half years old, King Oyo of Toro earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest reigning monarch. Being a minor King Oyo was aptly placed under the guardianship of several capable individuals to ensure his smooth maturation into his role as cultural leader of his people. Among his guardians are H.E. Yoweri Museveni President of Uganda; Prince James Mugenyi, his paternal uncle, Princess Elizabeth N. Bagaaya, his paternal aunt and Godmother; and the other kings. To help him rule, King Oyo has three regents charged with grooming and overseeing his growth into the role of King. The regents handled the affairs of the Kingdom until King Oyo was 18 years of age. The three regents included the Queen Mother, Princess Elizabeth Bagaaya, his Aunt and Godmother and President Yoweri Museveni.

Another significant patron of the Kingdom of Toro with once close ties to the royal family was Libya’s late leader Muamar Gaddafi. The young King Oyo named Gaddafi the “defender” of the Kingdom and invited him to attend the 6th coronation anniversary celebrations in 2001. Gaddafi until his death supported the Kingdom of Toro both materially and financially.

Duties of the King
One of the main duties of the King Oyo as a culture leader is to mobilise resources for economic and social welfare programmes in the kingdom. There are various projects in progress and under consideration in the areas of health, education, environment, economic and culture.

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