The Katereke Prison ditch is claimed to have been dug by former king of Buganda, Kabaka Kalema in the late 19th Century. It is a unique relic from a particularly unstable and violent period in Buganda History.
In 1888, strange people claimed to be Muslims had removed Kabaka Mwanga from the throne who was succeeded by Kabaka Kiwewa though his reign was short-lived. After Kabaka Kiwewa, Kabaka Kalema was enthroned.
However, Kabaka Kalema wasn’t so comfortable with his rule and was greatly threatened by his siblings (brothers and sisters) who in turn became his political rivals. It wasn’t long before he ordered his clan chiefs to construct a prison and imprisoned all his siblings (princes and princesses). This prison is the current Katereke Prison ditch.
Despite the horrible action taken by Kabaka Kalema, he still felt threatened even after imprisoning his so claimed rivals. This pushed him further to take away the lives of the prisoners (30 of his brothers and sisters) by sending another order to have them slaughtered. This built fear in the Kingdom especially among his subjects who feared their lives would be taken next. After a year, Kabaka Mwanga returned to the throne and exiled Kabaka Kalema who passed away months after. It’s claimed other royal prisoners were also starved in the prison ditch during the savagery time of Kabaka Kalema’s reign.
Today Katereke prison ditch is an attractive peaceful and shaded site comprising a circular ditch enclosing an area of about 70 meter in diameter. The ditch and bank are impressive earth works about 10 meters from the Top to bottom. Katereke prison ditch is a 30 minute’s drive from Kampala past Buddo on Masaka road. Turn right at Nsangi trading centre (opposite the police post) and follow the dirt road for about 1 Km.