The spiritual, or supernatural, king is represented by the Royal Drums, regalia called Mujaguzo and, as they always exist, the Buganda at any time will always have a king. Mujaguzo, like any other king, has his own palace, officials, servants and palace guards. The material, human prince has to perform special cultural rites on the Royal Drums before he can be declared king of the Kingdom of Buganda. Upon the birth of a royal prince or princess, the Royal Drums are sounded by drummers specially selected from a specified clan as a means of informing the subjects of the kingdom of the birth of a new member of the royal family. The same Royal Drums are sounded upon the death of a reigning king to officially announce the death of the material king. According to Buganda culture, a king does not die but gets lost in the forest. Inside Buganda's royal tombs such as the Kasubi Tombs and the Wamala Tombs, one is shown the entrance of the forest. It is a taboo to look beyond the entrance.
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Buganda has no concept equivalent to the Crown Prince. All the princes are equally treated prior to the coronation of a new king following the death of a reigning monarch. However, during the period of a reigning king, a special council has the mandate to study the behavior and characteristics of the young princes. The reigning king, informed by the recommendation of the special council, selects one prince to be his successor. In a secret ceremony, the selected prince is given a special piece of bark cloth by the head of the special verification council. The name of the "king-to-be" is kept secret by the special council until the death of the reigning king. When all the princes and princesses are called to view the body of the late king lying in state, the selected prince lays the special piece of bark cloth over the body of the late king, revealing himself as the successor to the throne.
-Kabaka Mutesa II.
By tradition, Baganda children take on the clan of their biological fathers. It is a common misconception that the Kabaka (king) of Buganda takes his clan from his mother. Some go as far as saying that Buganda's royal family was matrilineal. Neither of these assertions is true. The Kabaka has his own clan which is called the royal clan "Olulyo Olulangira". Members of this clan are referred to as abalangira for males and abambejja for females. The misconception arose in part because the royal clan has no totem which is something that all other Baganda clans have. However, the totem should not be confused with the clan. The totem is just a symbol but the clan is a matter of genealogy. The royal clan has its own genealogy traced along the patrilineal line, extending all the way back to Kintu.
The firstborn prince, by tradition called Kiweewa, is not allowed to become king. That was carefully planned to protect him against any attempted assassinations in a bid to fight for the crown. Instead, he is given special roles to play in the matters of the royal family and kingdom. Thus, the name of the possible successor to the throne remains secret.
The following are the known Kings of Buganda, starting from around 1300 AD.