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State asks court to disregard Mumbere application for bail relaxation

FILE PHOTO: Rwenzururu King, Charles Wesley Mumbere

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Government has challenged an application by the Rwenzururu King, Charles Wesley Mumbere, who battling terror charges, seeking to relax his bail terms. Judge Eva Luswata of the international Crimes Division of High Court released Mumbere on bail in January 2017.

She however, restricted Mumbere’s movement to Kampala, Mukono and Wakiso districts, directed him to report to court once every month and cautioned him against making statements that might incite violence among his subjects.

Early this year, Mumbere applied to court to relax his bail terms to allow him to travel to Kasese district, report to court at least once every three months and fly outside the country for eye surgery.

Among other reasons, he pleaded illness, the all-round surveillance by Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence to the extent that he cannot even be allowed to visit church, healthy club and host visitors freely.

Through his lawyer, Samuel Muyizi noted that despite being granted bail, he appears to be in prison since he cannot perform some rituals required of him as Rwenzururu King.

However, on Tuesday, State Prosecutor, Marion Ben Bella asked the International Crimes Division presided over by Justice Margaret Oumo Oguli to reject Mumbere’s application, saying none of his rights are being violated.

She explained that despite his stay in Kampala, Mumbere has been able to perform his roles as Rwenzururu King for instance reshuffling his cabinet. She presented a letter issued by Mumbere on June 12th, 2017 informing the Gender, Labor and Social Development Minister, Janat Mukwaya about the new cabinet appointments in his kingdom and other administrative structures.

Marion noted that Mumbere is running his duties smoothly and peacefully, saying there is no justification for him to go to Kasese. Concerning the security at Mumbere’s Kampala residence, Marion told court that Under the Institution of Traditional or Cultural Leaders Act of 2011 government is mandated to provide Mumbere security as a King regardless of the type of the force offering the protection.

She asked court to disregard Mumbere’s claims that his visitors and signatories are blocked from accessing him. Mumbere’s lawyer Muyizi said that the submissions made by the state are unfortunate, since they already confirmed that there is peace in Kasese.

Justice Oguli has now set October, 21st, 2019 to deliver ruling on the application.

Mumbere was arrested following a raid by the army on his palace on November 27th, 2016. He was picked up together with 203 royal guards. They were arraigned in court on 41 charges related to terrorism, aggravated robbery and murder among others and were remanded to prison.

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