Prime Minister Prof Apollo Nsibambi of Uganda shocked his family and Baganda, in general, when he disowned his supposed cultural norms and declared a daughter his heir (musika). Nsibambi, who is reported to be fighting a bout of severe depression, chose a conference on population policy at Sheraton Kampala to declare his daughter, Rhoda, his official musika. Among Baganda, it is taboo for a person to have a musika who is not of the same sex and clan.
One Muganda elder who went to Mengo School with Nsibambi, told this reporter that Museveni’s prime minister is a very selfish man. Quote: “Since he was a small boy Apollo has been a self-centered ‘kabandabe’ (show-off) person. In primary school, he used to do very selfish things such as telling lies about classmates to gain teachers’ favors. Even at university level, he relied more on people manipulation skills than on his raw brains. His problem now is that today’s Baganda see through him, and his master Museveni knows it too. It is the ‘kabandabe’ inferiority complex mixed with insecurity that made him name the daughter as a musika. But now it is the daughter and her husband and children who will be stigmatized for the rest of their lives. Can a 70 year old be more selfish than that?”.
Every Muganda like Nsibambi belongs to a clan; the clan of his or her father. In Baganda culture, an adult person never fully dies because after his or her death a person of the same clan and sex is selected to become the deceased’s musika. Typically a person chooses their heir. Their child, grandchild, brother, cousin or nephew for men. And a sister, cousin or niece for women. This custom is called okusikira (to replace). It is so important to Baganda that even if a 10 year old female cousin becomes musika to the mother of a 46 year old, he publically refers to her as “my mother”.
It is important to note that the okusikira custom is independent of property inheritance rights. For hundreds of years Baganda men without have willed large proportions of their wealth to their daughters without naming them the musika. Baganda women have historically done it even more, often giving virtually everything to their daughters and sons and only a token of appreciation to the official musika.