If you do not know him, David Kintu Wasajja, who weds Marion Nankya tomorrow, cuts the figure of an ordinary corporate Ugandan man, humble, polite, unassuming. Wasajja was once asked why he would not marry. The reason there were many divorces, he said, was because the best husbands married the worst wives and the best wives married the worst husbands – a down-to-earth argument.
But this is no ordinary David. Prince Wasajja is the youngest son of the late Buganda king, Sir Edward Mutesa II. His mother, Ankole Princess Winfred Keihangwe, was an expectant mother when government forces raided the Kabaka’s palace at Mengo on May 23, 1966.
Because of her pregnancy, Keihangwe could not flee with the Kabaka, and was arrested and jailed at Luzira prison, only to be released months later, and in August, she gave birth to Prince David Kintu Wasajja. Among the things that bothered him so much as he fled his (Sir Edward) kingdom was his pregnant Ankole princess, and in fact asked his associates to watch over her.
“He expressed great worry about the expectant princess, and would talk about her almost every day,” recalls Angelina Nabakooza, an elderly woman who, for some days, hid the late Kabaka at her house at Nsambya village in Sembabule district.
While in exile, Mutesa reportedly entrusted the young prince in the care of his great friend, the late Sarah Ndagire, the first female member of the Buganda Lukiiko and ordered that Wasajja be brought up in her home. Prince Wasajja attended Namilyango boys Primary School, Namilyango College school (O-level) and Uganda Martyrs HS Lubaga (A-level).
He then joined Nottingham University in the United Kingdom and later Boston University College (USA) for a master’s degree in Business Administration. He returned to home in 1996; three years after the enthronement of his elder brother Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II as the 36th monarch of Buganda kingdom.
He joined Pan World Insurance Company and later on moved to Celtel Uganda (now Airtel) as the regional Retail manager. He is a unique prince. Of all the 18 children fathered by Sir Edward Mutesa II, Prince Wasajja is the only one that embraced Catholicism instead of the traditional Buganda royal family’s Anglican faith.
Many kingdom officials until recently were not aware that Kabaka Mutebi’s youngest brother was not an Anglican. Despite being greeted with joy, Buganda kingdom spokesman Charles Peter Mayiga’s mistaken announcement that Wasajja was Anglican actually left both Catholics and Protestants confused.
While many Protestants wondered why an Anglican prince had decided to pronounce his marriage vows in a Catholic Church, Catholics were awed that the prince, who frequently attended mass at Lubaga cathedral, was instead an Anglican. Yet Prince Wasajja had always been seen making the sign of the cross, an essentially Catholic practice. Remarkably, Wasajja keenly receives the Holy Communion during Mass, another important practice for Catholics.
“He is a Catholic, he grew up with Catholics and ended up embracing it,” his bride, Marion Elizabeth Nankya says.
Those who attended school with him remember him as a jovial and down-to-earth person. “Surely many of us came to know of his status and connection to the loyal family of Buganda towards the end of A-level schooling,” Fulgensio Mukasa, an old boy of Uganda Martyrs HS Lubaga, recalls.
According to him, the prince was always friendly and social, who would hardly pick a quarrel with anyone. His bride told The Observer in an interview at the weekend that the prince’s down-to-earth personality is what attracted her most.
“Despite his social status, I find him a humble, kind, loving and caring man,” she said.
Currently, Wasajja is the lead research consultant with Buganda Land Board and one of the three attorneys for the Kabaka estates.
Additional writing by Sadab Kitatta Kaaya.