Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Rwenzururu loyalists in Bunyangabu district want the government to screen and release the jailed royal guards as a key step in the peace process.
203 Rwenzururu royal guards are being detained at Kirinya Government Prison following the November 2016 clashes between a joint security forces and Rwenzururu Kingdom loyalists at Buhikira royal palace in Kasese town which left more than 150 people dead.
Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere, the Kingdom Prime Minister John Thembo Kitsumbire and six juveniles were arrested after the deadly scuffle and granted bail in 2017.
Government then promised to carry out a screening exercise of the royal guards and free those in prison innocently. The exercise, however, failed to kick off.
During a peace mobilization meeting, organized by Busongora Development Forum (BDF) on Sunday at Bulyambaghu Primary School in Kasenda village of Bukara parish in Kabonero Sub County, a section of residents demanded that the screening process starts.
Bunyangabu district which was recently carved out of Kabarole borders Kasese district. It is also inhabited by several Rwenzururu kingdom loyalists.
Cooks, herdsmen and other palace workers were part of the detained kingdom loyalists.
Ngondi Masereka said there are widows and orphans who were left behind following the attack on the palace that led to death of their husbands and fathers respectively.
Masereka adds that even the immediate relatives that would have helped in taking care of those families were also arrested.
He argues that the only way to salvage those families is to screen the royal guards and free those that are innocent such that they come and take care of their families.
Translation The president should facilitate the release of the King and royal guards because the widows left behind, some of them have fallen sick and we cannot take care of them but if the screening takes place and some of the royal guards are released, even those who are still at large would return to their homes. Zachariah Bakali argues that many children are not in school either due to lack of fees or poor parenting thus posing another security threat to the district in the future.
Translation Truthfully speaking we don’t have leadership concerned about us, at some point we were forced to take royal guards who were returning home to GISO Wakibanahi (GISO in Kasese district) to facilitate the return of these boys. Can you imagine for such a meeting, even nobody from the sub-county leadership is here yet the vice chairperson of the district.
The chairperson of the Prime ministerial commission of the Rwenzururu Kingdom Gadi Mbayahi says that there is need to release not only the royal guards but also the King as a key step in the peace-building processes of the region.
Mbayahi apportioned blame for failure of the screening exercise and or the release of all royal guards on a section of people who dwell in propaganda.
Mbayahi urged the people to have faith in the dialogue committee that was instituted by both government and the Rwenzururu leader whose findings and recommendations, he said, will be essential for peace.