Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Government blocks Mumbere from visiting Bundibugyo

The government has directed the Rwenzururu King, Charles Wesley Mumbere, to cancel his visit to Bundibugyo District to prevent possible tribal clashes between the Bamba / Babwisi and Bakonzo.
The directive followed several meetings which the government held with the Bamba / Babwisi and the Bakonzo in Bundibugyo District over a planned visit by King Mumbere today to attend the annual ‘Peace Day’ celebrations.
The day is marked in honour of the day the Bakonzo and Bamba broke off from Tooro Kingdom over alleged oppression.
The decision
“The government’s decision is final. It is well considered; it is not negotiable and it must be respected. It is taken for the good of everybody and the region at large,” the Inspector General of Police, Gen. Kale Kayihura, said on Friday.
Gen. Kayihura said the government had reached the decision after sensing a security threat and possible ethnic violence given the situation that happened in Bundibugyo last year when a similar function turned violent, leading to loss of lives.
Some Bamba / Babwisi, who question King Mumbere’s jurisdiction over Bundibugyo, are seeking to establish an autonomous Bamba / Babwisi kingdom.
“If the Omusinga (King Mumbere) is a peace maker, why should he want to cause the suffering of many people? We (government) have not stopped his function but we have advised him to take it to an area that has no controversy. Why can’t he celebrate it in Kasese as negotiations continue? We are try to protect the two hostile communities living in Bundibugyo,” Gen. Kayihura said.
However, the Rwenzururu Kingdom spokesperson, Mr Patrick Nyamunungu, said the function would go on as planned. “Rwenzururu Kingdom has never been an arm of government and therefore it (government) has no mandate to decide on her ceremonies and where they should take place. We are a fully fledged cultural institution recognised by government and we cannot be told what to do in our kingdom,” Mr Nyamunungu said.
Bamba, Babwisi object to visit
On March 20, kingdom authorities wrote to the Bundibugyo Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Mr Samuel Kazinga, notifying him of plans by King Mumbere to hold yearly celebrations dubbed “Peace Day” there.
“…Rwenzururu cultural institution is intending to celebrate its Peace Day on June 30, 2013 in Bundibugyo and the function will be in Bughendera County in Ngamba Sub-county,” the letter reads in part.
However, Mr Fulgensio Bamwitirebye, the chairperson of the Obudhingiya Bwa Bwamba Cultural institution protested the visit in a May 11 letter addressed to Mr Kazinga. “The purpose of this letter is to inform you that Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu activities, including the planned visit of King Mumbere to Bundibugyo district is unacceptable,” the letter reads in part.
“Mr RDC, you recall in the meeting we held at State House Entebbe with His Excellency the President on September 18, 2012 … the President condemned the June 30, 2012 incident in Bundibugyo emphasising that the centre of gravity for the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu activities be in Kasese and not in Bundibugyo,” the letter adds.