Tuesday, 11 September 2012

MPs investigate Kasese conflict

The parliamentary committee on Defence and Internal Affairs is investigating the cause and devising possible solutions to the ethnic and land tensions in Kasese District.
The disputes are between the cultivators who are mainly ethnic Bakonzo and pastoralists, largely ethnic Basongora.
The seven-member committee chaired by Mr Milton Muwuma (Kiguli South), started investigations on September 6, with a series of public consultations.
However, on the set-off of the inquiries, the district vice chairperson, Mr Tadeo Muhindo, stunned residents and MPs when he claimed the district had no tribal tensions.
Mr Muhindo said government should not be misled by politicians who want to use the alleged tribal tensions for their own selfish gains.
“The district is calm but we only have the problem of population increase. But I appreciate the fact that all tribes have constitutional rights of freedom of expression,” Mr Muhindo said, angering the municipal mayor, who quickly refuted the remarks.
“Nobody should deceive you that there is no problem in Kasese. The problem is there. Imagine a group of civilians attacking the whole police station. Leaders are shying away from the truth,” Mr Kabyanga Kiime said, adding that if not addressed, the tribal tensions will cause more bloodshed.

Kasese RDC Milton Odongo asked the committee to interprete thoroughly Article 246 of the Constitution to the people, saying it has caused a lot of misunderstanding between the the two tribes after the installation of the Busongora king Rutakirwa Ivan Bwebale Rwigi IV.
“These conflicts have escalated because government has not solved issues of land, district splitting,’ Mr Odongo said. Meanwhile, at Nyakatonzi Sub-county, Isebantu Erisa Mugisa Ateenyi, the self-proclaimed cultural leader of the Banyabindi, wondered why government gives a lot of attention to the Omusinga.

“Government is deceived that if it doesn’t consult the Rwenzururu King Charles mumbere, decisions can’t be made. This is a total lie. He is like me. I am also a cultural leader. We have suffered for 50 years under the Rwenzururu struggle,” Mr Mugisa said.
The minority communities, comprising of the Basongora, Banyabindi and Bakingwe told the committee at Nyakatonzi that the best way to solve the tribal conflicts in Kasese was to give them their own district so that they can manage their own business without being marginalised and oppressed.
Mr Muwuma promised that the committee will present their findings to Parliament.