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Why Rwenzururu king is not free yet

Time is flying by for the prisoners. Yet the court system remains unmoved, following its usual rigorous rituals that require parties to argue their case before a judge.

Although the crimes for which the accused face charges were allegedly committed over five years ago, the prosecution side has taken years investigating them. This could be followed by a convoluted referral system as the case moves to an appropriate trial court. The large number of suspects, with each one’s file having to be ready and sanctioned compounds the delay. Then there are the operational roadblocks, such as when a critical judicial officer handling the case takes leave from work. Besides, the courts in Uganda suffer serious case backlog and the reasons for higher case backlog have not spared the Rwenzuru kingdom case.

The main reason why the trial (of Omusinga and his subjects) has not taken place is because there are negotiations with government underway. This is what has made the trial process to move on slowly, says Alfred Makasi, Rwenzururu’s legal advisor.

Makasi is describing a common practice whereby there was an opportunity for an out of court settlement of a case . The leadership of Obusinga bwa Rwenzururu (OBR) opted to give this a try. A team from OBR and the central government has been working behind the scenes to have a negotiated settlement of this matter.

In the negotiations among the demands the OBR put in place was the need to facilitate the construction of the home of the king that was destroyed in the attack by the army and the unconditional release of the jailed royal guards arrested in 2016.

Indeed, the Rwenzururu prime minister recently announced that the Government of Uganda had purchased land in Kasese district where a home for the king will be constructed. Also, government agreed to release the royal guards in a phased manner. From the look of things, it would seem the talks are bearing fruits. But there are detractors.

“For instance, when some information leaked that Omusinga was about to be released, some people from Rwenzori mountains wrote to the President arguing that that would be a mistake to release a rebel,” Makasi told The Independent; adding that: “Since then we decided to be very discreet. OBR presented its side to the government and we are waiting for Government to decide.”

Makasi urged the lovers of the OBR to keep calm and keep peace to allow the conclusion of the negotiation. “Even when faced with provocation, they should remain cool. Those spreading false information about OBR should stop but even in such situations our people should remain peaceful,” Makasi said.

Rwenzururu kingdom has now embarked on a rebranding initiative. Among the recent activities was the planting of trees to save the environment during the commemoration of the coronation of its king on October 19. The kingdom has also circulated its officially recognised flag.

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One comment

  1. But what kind of administration of justice do we have in this country; where hundreds of citizens are perennially rounded up in a military raid (not the Police), and indefinitely locked up for the last 5 years and counting?

    And what justice will those who were tortured and/or died behind bars without trial get? In the political history of this country, quantitatively and qualitatively; the NRM leadership has excelled in mass illegal arrests, abduction (drone) torture, imprisonment and/or deaths of suspects in prison without trial, extrajudicial murder of suspects and malicious prosecution.

    In other words, how will Mr. Museveni/NRM leadership escape the accusation (legacy) about its negative 36-year Human Rights violations (crime against humanity)?

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