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The clans of Busoga origin - Abamenya, Abachimo, Abakhoone and Abachabe - used to be ruled by a ruler with the title of omwami.  Omwami ruled all abakhayo and appointed a council of elders from different clans who judged routine cases with the more unusual and serious ones being referred to him.  Although he was the equivalent of today’s commander in chief, omwami never went to war but simply gave orders and instructions to his men. He was the sacrificial priest bur not a medicine man or a rain-maker. He was usually nominated by the late omwami subject to confirmation by the council of elders.

In the days before their migration from Busoga, omwami wore bark cloth (omuruba). However, when they came to Bukhayo, he wore skin cloaks of various animals because bark trees were not available in Bukhayo. He also had olusimbi (special feathers), eshimwata (crown), brass bracelets, a copper bracelet, and a flywhisk. These insignia were heritable. When he died, omwami was usually buried in a cowhide shroud in a lying position. The hide was that of a cow which had been especially speared for this ritual.