Lubiri is the official residence of the King of Buganda. Culturally and back in time, a new Buganda King, had authority to choose a hill where he would build a new palace different from his father’s original palace.
Mengo palace was constructed by Ssekabaka Mwanga II in 1885, a year after taking over/succeeding his father. He had always admired Nkaawo hill on which members of the Nvubu clan kept their grinding stones, locally known as Emmengo. These grinding stones were used to grind herbal medicine. Mwanga decided to construct his palace at Nkaawo hill and the grinding stones were shifted to another place. It`s from these grinding stones (Emmengo) that the name Mengo was adopted.
In 1966 the then Prime Minister of Uganda Dr Apollo Milton Obote ordered a dramatic attack to oust Kabaka Mutesa II led by Colonel Idi Amin (an army commander under Obote’s government at the time), soldiers stormed the palace and after several days of fighting, Mutesa was forced to flee and live in exile in the UK.
The building was duly converted to an army barracks, while an adjacent site became a notorious underground prison and torture-execution chamber built by Idi Amin in 1971. see more about the torture chamber below.