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By Arye Oded (Israeli Ambassador to Kenya) King Mutesa I (1856-1884) of Buganda introduced far-reaching religious, social, and administrative reforms in his kingdom. He was motivated by various factors. This shrewd king eager for knowledge strove to strengthen his kingdom by utilizing the superior technology that he discovered among the Arab traders and the Europeans which visited him. His foreign policy was to gain the friendship of the Sultan of Zanzibar and the support of the Arab traders; from these he hoped to obtain weapons to establish his authority over his neighbours and prevent a possible Egyptian inversion from the North.
The Abayudaya of Uganda Out in the green, rolling hills of eastern Uganda, near the city of Mbale in the shadow of Mount Elgon, the Abayudaya Jews live as Ugandans always have, supporting themselves through subsistence farming and struggling against the elements to bring in the next harvest. These rural Ugandans share much with their neighbors; the surrounding fields bursting with mango trees, sugar cane, banana trees and cassava, the frequent communal festivals to celebrate birth, marriage and death, the uncertainty of rapidly changing national politics and the exhaustion of poverty.