Country Listing

Uganda Table of Contents



The Toro Kingdom evolved out of a breakaway segment of Bunyoro some time before the nineteenth century. The Batoro and Banyoro speak closely related languages, Lutoro and Lunyoro, and share many other similar cultural traits. The Batoro live on Uganda's western border, south of Lake Albert. They constitute roughly 3.2 percent of the population, but the Toro king (also called omukama) also claims to rule over the Bakonjo and Baamba people in the more fertile highlands above the plains of Toro. These highlands support cultivation of coffee as well as cotton, rice, sugarcane, and cocoa. Jurisdictional disputes have erupted into violence many times during colonial and independent rule and led to the formation of the Ruwenzururu political movement that was still disrupting life in Toro in the late 1980s.

Toro is a highly centralized kingdom like Buganda but similar in stratification to Bunyoro. The omukama has numerous retainers and royal advisers. Chiefs govern at several levels below the king, and like the kabaka of Buganda, the Toro ruler can appoint favored clients to these positions of power. Clientship--often involving cattle exchange--is an important means of social advancement.

Data as of December 1990