Kasese MPs petition gov’t over delayed trail of Mumbere, royal guards

Frigo Kambale, the Kasese Municipality MP and Sowedi Kitanywa, the Busongora North MP addressing journalists at parliament.

By URN

A section of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Members of Parliament from Kasese District has called for a speedy trial of Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere, the King of Rwenzururu and his royal guards. 

It is close to years since Mumbere and over 200 of his royal guards were arrested on 27th November 2016 when the army attacked his Palace in Kasese, leading to the death of more than 100 people.  

Mumbere, the then Prime Minister Johnson Thembo Katsumbire and royal guards were arraigned before court, remanded to Luzira prison on 41 counts of treason, murder, terrorism, attempted murder and aggravated robbery.

The King was later in January 2017 granted bail by Judge Eva Luswata at the International Crimes Division of High Court but restricted his movements to Kampala, Mukono and Wakiso districts and also required him to report to court once every month. Mumbere was also cautioned against making statements that might incite violence among his subjects.

A section of the royal guards was also in December 2020 granted bail but others remain in prison with no certainty when the case will be concluded.

MPs from Kasese district have expressed concern about the delayed disposal of the case. They argue that it is an infringement on the right to justice and right of association.

Speaking at a press conference in Parliament on Monday Frigo Kambale, the Kasese Municipality MP said that 9 royal guards have since died and that the recent death was registered on 17th August 2021.

Kambale called for a speedy trial to avoid uncertainty and despair among the people.

Sowedi Kitanywa, the Busongora North MP also implored the court to ease the bail conditions of the accused and also bail the remaining 78 royal guards who are still behind bars. 

He said that the stringent bail conditions of the Omusinga and his Prime Minister have curtailed their freedom and also stopped Mumbere from carrying out his cultural duties since he is not allowed to access his Kingdom.

Mumbere has never stepped in Kasese since his arrest. He was expected in 2019 when the court Okayed his travel to attend the burial of his mother but he later cancelled the journey. MPs say that the continued restrictions on King Mumbere have affected proper service delivery and development in the region.

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