The Buganda Royal Mile, locally known as the “Kabaka’njagala Road” meaning “the King-loves-me” is a straight path connecting the Buganda royal palace and her parliament (administrative seat). The name Kabaka’njagala came into existence because the road was aligned with huge candlenut trees (kabaka’njagala in Luganda) that Kabaka Mutesa II distributed to his subjects to plant. Fifty two (52) candlenut trees were planted, each representing a clan in Buganda Kingdom.
The candlenut tree (Aleuritesmoluccanus) is a native plant in Asia, especially China where it is used for varnish, food, and in other places, as a property-line manager — because their silvery under-leaf made the trees visible and easy to distinguish from a distance. Here in Uganda, candlenut tree seeds are used as an improvised toy to play a marbles game locally known as “Dool”.
Along the Royal Mile, you will see the Buganda court house. It is a custom in Buganda that the king’s palace and the court house face the same direction because the Baganda believe that the King’s spirits walk in a straight line so there should be no obstacle in the King’s way.
The Buganda parliament was initially confined within the palace premises and its seating was carried out under a big tree, later upgraded to a small room. While in exile in Scotland in the 1950s, Kabaka Mutesa II admired the architectural design of the Scottish parliament. He promptly obtained a copy of its plans and used them to build the current Buganda parliament on return. He also picked up the idea of the Royal Mile, which is a long historical road that connects the Holyrood Palace to the Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, brought it to Buganda and created a Royal Mile that is exactly one mile to connect the Buganda Royal palace to the parliament.
Just halfway between the royal palace and the parliament is an interesting round-about where only the Kabaka is allowed to drive through. This round-about is not a mere ordinary place but a place highly respected with significant symbols of different meanings in the Buganda kingdom. The Kabaka’s round-about has a special cleaner to keep it clean, a gate that is always kept locked with a guard on a stand-by to open when the Kabaka is nearing to go through it and close after. With this arrangement of the Kabaka passing straight through the round-about, he attained a name “Lukoma Nantawetwa” meaning “the king does not go around the round-about”.