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As both Christianity and
Islam gained a larger foothold they began to congregate into the four
chieftaincies led by Muslims and Christians respectively. The Muslims lived in
Kapalaga and Katege and the Christians were concentrated in Nyonyintono and
Kagwa (Twaddle 58). This clustering allowed Mwanga to effectively play these
groups off one another. According to Twaddle the groupings of Muslims and
Christian within these four chieftaincies led to an increase in insecurity
within the Buganda kingdom which in turn introduced an “unpredictable element”
into the Bugandan political scene under the reign of Mwanga (Twaddle 58).
Within Buganda, there arose four favored chieftaincies: those of Ekisalosalo, Eggwanika,
Ekiwuliriza, and Ekijasi (Twaddle 57). These chieftaincies were given various
rights and privileges by Mwanga seemingly without end. Other Bugandans began
moving into these three chieftaincies and brought their guns with them, a
commodity that was quickly become more and more accessible. These three
kingdoms became more and more powerful and gained substantial amounts of firepower.
These chieftaincies, now powerful well-armed and given preferential treatment, became
quite a powerful force. Furthermore, many of the people living in them and in
many parts of Buganda had memories of severe persecution in the not so distant
past. 

Among
them were many Christians whose loyalty to the state had not always been of the
first priority. Fearing a potential challenge to his reign, Mwanga demanded
that Christians within Buganda apostatize or face the consequences. Many
refused to do so. As a result, Mwanga did just what his father had done when
his authority was challenged by Muslims, he launched a wave of persecution. In
1886 Mwanga gathered together around fifty Christians who were taken to
Namugongo and executed, including many members of his own court. This would
later prove to be a grave political mistake which would have far-reaching
consequences for both Mwanga and the future of the Buganda Kingdom.

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The
first coup to shake the Buganda state occurred in 1888 after concerns by
leading chiefs that they would be lead to their death should they embark on a
planned raiding expedition. The instigators of this plot were the Muslim
leaders Muguluma and Kapalaga, who did their best to rally Christian chiefs and
clans to their banner. This task was not always easy as Catholic and Protestant
missionaries were encouraging their converts not to participate in the
revolution but instead to flee from Buganda. At the time of the revolution,
there were many Christians within Buganda who favored this option. Without
pressure from Muslim leaders it is doubtful whether Christian chiefs would have
taken part in the coup at all (Twaddle 61). However, in the end, Christians
agreed to take up arms and Mwanga was overthrown in a lighting-like
coup that would usher in an era of quick royal succession and religious tension
not previously seen in Buganda.

Next
on the Buganda throne would be Kiwewa, something of a Luke-warm Muslim. He like
other Kabakas before him refused to be circumcised which did not exactly endear
him to many Muslim members of his court, already upset that their victory had
not given them a greater hold over the government. It did not take long for
this alliance between Christians and Muslims to deteriorate. Many Christians
among the Buganda court and elsewhere who had been practicing in secret amidst
fears of renewed persecution now declared themselves openly. Muslims in Buganda
began to worry that their own position may be threatened by this substantial
increase in Christians. Muslim control over the Kabaka was not unassailable due
to luke-warm Kiwewa, combined with a growing number of Christians the Muslim
power dynamic, so short-lived, was now under threat. In the October of 1888,
this growing rift between Muslims and Christians would explode once again into
bloody civil strife and see Kiwewa wrenched from his still warming throne. 

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