Uganda @60: Kasese Residents Want Mumbere, Royal Guards Freed

With only a few hours to the commemoration of Uganda’s 60th independence anniversary celebrations, the political leaders and residents of Kasese District, say there is nothing for them to celebrate because of the continued restrictions on their cultural leader, detention of relatives, and political repression.

The former Kasese municipality MP Robert Centenary told URN in an interview that from rule of law, politics, and economy to security, education, and healthcare, the country has failed to live up to the dreams of its founding fathers at the dawn of Independence in 1962. He criticizes the government and courts of law for failing to handle the issues of the Rwenzurur King Wesley Mumbere and the royal guards expeditiously.

Centenary says that for subjects of Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu-OBR cultural institution there is nothing to celebrate since the NRM leadership has not lived up to their expectations. He thinks this is the right time that the current government should reflect and take action against human rights abuses.

William Nzoghu, the former Busongora North MP, says that it was regrettable that 60 years after the nation’s independence, Uganda was still grappling with leadership challenges.  He also criticizes the current government for suffocating the political space and denying other political actors from contributing towards the socio-economic development of her people. 

“It’s laughable if we have to even think there is independence to talk about, the ongoing incarceration of our people, clearly explains to you if we are to celebrate or not,” Nzoghu said. Eng. Ronald Kabuku, says that the OBR subjects cannot tell the fate of their king and relatives for the last seven years.

Kabuku prays that the President forgives the victims of the 2016 incidents that saw security over the Kingdom palace like he has pardoned other elements in the recent past.

Ibrahim Mumbere, a resident of Kicwamba Town Council, says that the only gift the NRM government can give the people of Kasese is releasing their King and the remaining royal guards.

For Florence Kabugho, culture is one of the elements that should define independence, however, the OBR subjects have lost the full meaning of culture in the last seven years since their king was arrested. She demands the government free the group for the sake of peace and harmony among the Bakonzo. 

In his radio broadcast message last month, Mumbere said the military and the political leadership have vested interests in the ongoing court case against him and it will only take the two to regain his freedom. More than 100 people lost their lives during the joint security attack on Mumbere’s palace in Kasese town, in November 2016.

Mumbere and more than 100 royal guards were arrested and subsequently charged with several offenses including treason, murder, attempted and robbery before Jinja Chief Magistrates’ Court. Mumbere, his Prime Minister Johnson Tembo Kitsumbire, and six others were granted bail in 2017. 

As part of his bail conditions, the court barred Mumbere from accessing Kasese, Bundibugyo, and Kabarole districts for fear of interfering with the investigations. In January last year, the Jinja High Court released 132 royal guards on bail. 

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