Who Was Harry George Galt, Who Killed Him, From Where and Why?
George Harry Galt was a British colonial officer working as the Sub Commissioner of the Western Province of Uganda, who was killed in Ibanda. He was born on 28 January 1872 in Emsworth in Hampshire in Great Britain.
His first assignment on arrival in the British protectorate of Uganda, was as a tax collector for the Ankole Sub-region. He was later appointed as the sub-commissioner of the Western Uganda province.
He is said to have been a cruel officer who treated the local people harshly. On 19 May 1905 as the newly appointed provincial officer, George Harry Galt forced the local people to carry him on their head from Fort Portal to Ibanda to see his then girlfriend called Kibubura.
When the people got tired they requested him to let them rest, but he refused and ordered them to march on until they reached Ibanda – “Paka Banda” he said in his broken Runyankore, meaning “Up to Ibanda”. The porters complied up to Katooma, 3 km from Ibanda Town after the Kagongo Catholic Church where he stopped and rested in a Government house.
As the locals rehashed Galt’s cruelty, a man named Rutaraka got riled by the officer’s acts and he picked up a spear, headed towards Galt who was sitting in the government house compound and threw it at him striking him in the chest and he died after a short time.
The colonial government who investigated the cause of Galt’s death, thought it was politically motivated and sentenced two Ankole chiefs to death, a penalty which was later cancelled on appeal by the British East African Court.
Fearful of colonial retribution, Rutaraka later committed suicide by hanging. Galt’s body was taken away for burial and the colonial government punished the natives by making them pile stones to cover his blood which had spilled on the ground.
They piled stones making a pyramid-like feature 5 Meters in length and 3 meters in height which stands there up to now in Galt’s memory. It should also be known that those stones were picked from Buhweju hills over 20 kilometers from Katooma.
A street in Mbarara was named after him as George Harry Galt, starting from Stanley Road on Boma hill opposite the Public Library and in Ibanda town the place where he was killed from he doe not have there anything named after him.