BY EDITORIAL TEAM
The streets of Kasese town were today afternoon awash with excited Rwenzururu Kingdom loyalists celebrating the news about Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere regaining his freedom.
Traditional Bakonzo flute seasoned drum sounds blended with rhythmic hits and beats of xylophone characterised the day.
The news had been broken by the Rwenzururu Kingdom Prime Minister, Rt. Hon.
Joseph Kule Muranga about a decision of the Directorate of Public Prosecution to drop charges against Rwenzurururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere—Iremangoma and the Royal Guards he was arrested with.
On Tuesday, when the case returned for pre-trial conferencing, the State represented by Lilian Omara, Marion Benbella and Jackline Okui told court that the accused had applied for amnesty.
She noted that the proceedings are therefore discontinued.
Speaking in response, the trial judge, Alice Komuhangi Kaukha ordered that those on remand at Jinja Main prison and Luzira prison and those on bail should be discharged.
One by one excited Kingdom subjects started thronging Mukirania Street; first to confirm from journalists working with Kasese’s oldest Radio Station—South Rwenzori Messiah Radio about the authenticity of news. Mukirania Street also hosts the private office of the Prime Minister.
The street is also named after Rwenzururu’s first King, Isaya Mukirania Kibanzanga, the father of the current King, Mumbere.
After discovering that the news was authentic, the subjects started performing the seven sets of the Bakonzo traditional dance while emptying jerrycans full of the Bakonzo traditional liquor commonly known as tonto.
Fatuma Muliki, a cassava trader in Kilembe Quarters of the Central Division in Kasese Municipality said the event was so historical prompting her to close her business and first celebrate the “court victory”.
To Yofesi Lhuhalha, a resident of Kalingwe in Kisinga Sub County described the event as the best news of all times as the Rwenzururu community had been left to feed like sheep with no shepherd.
Hon. Ferigo Kambale, the Kasese Municipality Member of Parliament subsequently hailed President Museveni for honouring the plight of the leaders of Kasese and the Rwenzururu subjects at large.
Kambale, however, did not rule out the contributions made by all the leaders at all levels in the district including the L.C V Chairperson, Mr. Eliphaz Muhindi Bukombi, congratulating all he Rwenzururu Subjects for seeing the Omusinga and the Royal Guards attain their freedom.
Hon. Florence Kabugho, the Kasese District Woman Member of Parliament says she is the happiest person seeing the King and the Royal Guards released. Kabugho calls for peace and unity among the Subjects irrespective of their political affiliations.
Johncation Muhindo, the Executive Director at Creations Forum Afrika-CAF, a non-governmental Organisation that has been working on peace building says the release of the king is a milestone in the peace building process within this community.
Muhindo, however, says there is need for government to interest itself further in the Rwenzori region and establish mechanisms for sustainable peace within the community.
He argues that the long-time the King and his subjects have been under incarceration has left not only them but also the entire community mentally bruised.
Robert Mitse, the Administrator of the National Resistance Movement-NRM says the release of the King is the end result of the spirited efforts by NRM leaders to bridge the gap between the Kingdom and Central government. Mitse congratulated the NRM and all the people of Kasese and the entire Kingdom upon having seen the Omusinga attain his freedom.
Zakayo Bwambale who is a cultural devotee in Kasese district says the release of the King will go a long way in supporting efforts to uphold the progress the Bakonzo cultural values and norms; some of which were beginning to vanish because of a vacuum that had been created by his absence.
Martin Safari, the chairperson LC3 for the Central Division in Kasese Municipality says government should expedite the process to have his palace constructed.
It should be noted that the Kingdom has always argued the King cannot return to his old palace at Kibanzanga Road in Muyenga of Kasese town because of a bloodbath that happened in 2016.
The Kasese District NRM Chairperson, Dr. Chrispus Kiyonga has since congratulated the Omusinga and the entire Rwenzururu Subjects for the remarkable achievement.
Hon. Selevest Masereka, the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu Minister for Lands has also asked the Rwenzururu Subjects to celebrate responsibly, adding that they have secured permission from security to have the people rejoice because of today’s milestone in the Kingdom.