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Archive for the tag “Banyabindi”

Kabarole Clashes: Guns and Machetes Recovered (Youtube-Clip)

“Security has been beefed up in kabarole district as a joint operation of the police and UPDF continues a search for dissidents believed to be in the hideouts in the hills a day after eight were killed in a shoot out
Bodies of those killed have been retrieved and guns and machetes recovered” (NTV Uganda, 2016)

Press Release: MRG calls on Uganda government to investigate cause of escalating violence in Rwenzori region (04.04.2016)

Kasese attack

Minority Rights Group International (MRG) expresses grave concern about recent clashes between the Bamba-Babwisi and Bakonzo communities in the Rwenzori region, and calls on the Ugandan government to investigate the root causes of the conflict.   The violence has left at least 33 dead, 10,000 displaced and 366 houses burnt.

The first attacks broke out following the declaration of local council election results on 27 February, although many brushed them off as simply post-election violence. However, despite heavy police and military deployment, the killings have continued, with victims including a 13 year-old in Kanyansiri village in Bundibugyo district.

Addressing a press conference, President Yoweri Museveni told media that although his government had never deployed the army to quell a tribal conflict, he was going to now do so.

‘While we understand the President’s urgency to solve this problem, a military solution treats the symptoms not root causes. There is need for genuine dialogue among communities in conflict, mediated by a team of experts,’ says MRG Africa Office Manager, Agnes Kabajuni.

The events playing out in Rwenzori replicate a scenario in 2014, when violence between communities claimed 72 lives.

According to MRG, the causes of the current conflict in Rwenzori date back many decades.

For instance, to solve the Rwenzururu war, a guerilla campaign waged by both the Bakonzo and Bamba to gain recognition and secede from Toro Kingdom, then President Idi Amin negotiated a settlement to create Rwenzori District for the Bakonzo, Semliki District for the Bamba and Kabarole District for the Batoro.

Charles Wesley Mumbere

The Rwenzururu Kingdom, now comprising Bundibugyo, Kasese and Ntoroko districts has since the 1980s established itself as a movement which has continued to pose a serious threat to central government control. In order to calm the ethnic tensions in the region, the government in March 2008, after a ministerial committee recommendation, endorsed the Kingdom of Rwenzururu as a cultural institution headed by King Mumbere.

However, the decision to endorse Rwenzururu Kingdom was done with no prior and adequate consultation of both tribes in Kasese and Bundibugyo, pre-empting demands for recognition of other tribes like Basongora, Banyabindi and Bamba.

‘It is telling to see two groups, which have long co-existed and intermarried, now fighting with each other. At a political level, the government has to facilitate a genuine mediation process involving the Bakonzo under the Rwenzururu Kingdom and the Bamba cultural institution in order that they may peacefully co-exist once more,’ says Kabajuni.

‘As a long term strategy,’ argues Kabajuni, ‘the government has to address the economic marginalization of the communities in the Kasese, Bundibugyo and Ntoroko Districts, caused by historical injustices relating to land, equality, decision-making and economic opportunities for all tribes.’

Notes to editors

  • Find out more about MRG’s work in Uganda
  • Minority Rights Group International is the leading international human rights organization working to secure the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples. We work with more than 150 partners in over 50 countries.
  • For further information or to arrange interviews with our partners in Rwenzori region contact:

Mohamed Matovu, Media Officer, MRG Africa (Kampala, Uganda)

E: mohamed.matovu@mrgmail.org

M: +256 782 748 189
T: +256 393266832
@MinorityRights

Skype: mohamed.matovu

Facebook: www.facebook.com/minorityrights

W: www.minorityrights.org / www.minorityvoices.org

Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu press release: On the Kasese and Bundibugyo skirmishes

Released by Rt Hon Nzaghale Noah, Omulerembera (Prime Minister)

Following the multiple attacks in Kasese and Bundibugyo [on] 5th July 2014, Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu is disheartened and condemns the attackers / perpetrators in the strongest terms possible.

There have been events that took place prior to this that were seemingly ignored but which could have been the precursor to yesterday’s attacks in Kasese and Bundibugyo.

a) Since the 20th June 2014, a provocative announcement by Mr Byabashaija Augustine Amooti was aired on various radios in the region calling upon the Banyabindi Community to come to Muhokya, Kasese to commemorate a 50th Anniversary of the massacre of the Banyabindi by Rwenzururu fighters.

As Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu we objected to this claim which never actually existed at all because some Banyabindi were part of the struggle, actually some Banyabindi constituted some of the Royal Guards of the Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere Irema-Ngoma while in the Mountain. The Banyabindi were never targeted at all during the 20 years of fighting (1962-1982).
b) On 2nd July 2014, between 11pm and 5am unknown thugs attacked the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu Royal Palace on Kibanzanga Road Kasese Municipality and attempted to climb the perimeter wall but were repulsed by the Royal Guards.
Bad elements could have used this misunderstanding as an opportunity for them to launch their attrocious attack because of the fertile ground that seemed to exist.

His Majesty Omusinga Charles Mumbere Irema-Ngoma commissioned a Peace team to promote a harmonious co-existence between the Bakonzo and the Bamba/ Babwisi following the misunderstandings that arose from the hurried recognition of the Obudhingiya Bwa Bamba. His Majesty conveyed his congratulatory message to the Omudhingiya and called upon the two societies to continue to live in harmony and mutual respect.

At the time of the attack, some of the members of this peace team were still in Bundibugyo and were under attack by the invaders. This was rather their second visit on the same matter and the mission had shown positive results.

We are equally suprised by the turn of events in Bundibugyo. The skirmishes in Biganda, Kitswamba sub country are a long standing dispute over land. This issue has been going on for many years and has taken many forms. It is a usual re occurence following the imbalance in land allocation between the cultivators and cattle keepers. Either of the warring parties may cuase an attack.

We call upon the Government both local and central to address these issues promptly to avoid suspicion and escalation of the problems outlined above. We call upon the Banya Rwenzururu to remain calm and promote peace, unity and tranquility all over the Rwenzoori region.

HABWA KAYINGO N’OBUSINGA BWETHU

Link:

http://www.observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=32640:obusinga-bwa-rwenzururu-press-release-on-the-kasese-and-bundibugyo-skirmishes-&catid=74:breakingnews&Itemid=117

President Museveni’s statement: On the recent attacks by some schemers in Kasese and Bundibugyo

Statement

by

H.E. Yoweri K. Museveni
President of the Republic of Uganda

on
The recent attacks by some schemers in Kasese and Bundibugyo

7th July 2014

Nantabulirwa yasabala na bwabbumba:  Whatever a man sows that is what he will reap.

Uganda started off her Independence, in 1962, on a very weak foundation.  This was, mainly, because of bad politics pushed by opportunistic sectarian groups and manipulated by external interests.  The sectarianism, as we have pointed out many times, was based on religion, tribes and gender chauvinism (marginalizing the women).  There were only three women that I remember in the Independence Parliament of 1962 to take one example.  Within four years of Independence, the then Prime Minister had to abolish the 1962 Constitution because of the contradictions that were getting ever sharper.  Earlier on, there had been the conflict on the “lost counties” of Bunyoro.

A lot of blood was shed in the 1966 crisis, resulting in the abolition of the Kingdoms.  Eventually, Amin made a coup detat in 1971 and more sectarianism was generated and much more blood was shed between 1971 and 1979.

The late Mwalimu Nyerere, writing about Uganda, said of that period as follows:  “If the Ugandans thought they were on the frying pan under Obote, they found themselves in the fire proper under Amin”.  That was the perfect description of that time.

Some of us have the advantage of having been old enough to know and understand everything that was going on and yet we were young enough to live for long after 1962 as we have done.  Initially, we, as youth, belonged to those sectarian parties ─ I being in Democratic Party (DP) and some of my colleagues being in Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC) and Kabaka Yeka (KY).  However, by 1965, we had started developing grave doubts about the direction of that blind, irresponsible, opportunistic sectarian politics. As students, that is how we founded the nucleus of the third force ─ a non-sectarian student body.  That student Movement, during Amin’s time, metamorphosed into FRONASA that was part of the coalition that fought Idi Amin and, eventually, evolved into NRM.  Right from the beginning, we opposed and despised sectarianism because it was illogical and, obviously, run counter to the interests of the people.  As we have said, repeatedly, the core interests of the people are prosperity and security for each individual family and for the entire society.  When we talk of prosperity and security, we mean prosperity through production, not through parasitism.  When we talk of security, we mean security in pursuing one’s legitimate interests.  Legitimate interests mean working, utilizing our legitimately earned assets and enjoying the fruits of your labour.

There are, of course, other interests such as cultural, spiritual, etc.  However, the core ones and on which all the other interests depend, are prosperity (especially economic) and security of person and property.  Prosperity through production means producing and selling what you produce.  Your allies in that battle are the people who buy what you produce.  The recent insecurity in South Sudan showed the importance to producers of markets.  Many businesses suffered.  The prices even went down.  The insecurity in Eastern Congo or Kenya usually has similar effects on the producers’ prosperity. Recently, I was in Kanungu and found there prospering farmers because there is now, again, some security in Eastern Congo.  Even before colonization, there was interdependence among the tribes ─ as far as the forest of Congo, South Sudan and the East African Coast.  It was only some of the tribal chiefs that were inconveniencing this trade as was observed and recorded by the early European travelers ─ John Speke and Henry Stanley.

Therefore, those who have been in the habit of pushing for sectarianism are the real enemies of not only security but also the prosperity of the African Peoples, the Ugandans inclusive.  It is this firm belief of ours that propelled us to sow the mustard seed of non-sectarianism that, eventually, became the mighty tree of NRM/NRA and the present peace in the whole country.  It was on account of our non-sectarianism and always working for the unity of the people that, starting with a small force, we were able to build a very powerful force.  That force enabled us to win all the wars we fought, bring democracy to Uganda as well as peace and development.  In bringing democracy, we also restored the rights of the different cultural groups in Uganda, if they so wished, to restore the traditional cultural institutions or even create new ones on condition that they did not meddle in partisan politics, administration and legislation.  Why did we insist on this?  It was for two reasons.  First, in a democracy, the population govern themselves ─ through elections.  They are not governed by anybody else except themselves.  Yet, when you hear some of the spokesmen of the cultural institutions that we restored speaking, they speak as if it is not the people that govern themselves.  Worse still, some of the cultural institutions have, for some time now, been acting counter to our message of non-sectarianism.  They have been actively fomenting sectarianism and tribal chauvinism ─ acting and talking as if the only thing that matters are certain tribes to which the respective traditional leaders belong.  Yet, the NRM, the Bible and the Koran as well as common sense hold that all people are born equal and must be treated as such.  We have repeatedly and politely pointed out this point.  Yet, some elements among the cultural institutions have also been repeatedly uttering sectarian and chauvinist words and also acting in that manner.

This now brings me to my two statements above ─ the Luganda proverb that says: “Nantabulirwa yasabaala na bwa bbumba” and the Biblical statement that “whatever a man sows, that is what he will reap”.  The Luganda proverb refers to somebody who defied all the advice and decided to use a clay canoe to cross a body of water.  The consequences were disastrous for him and for those who travelled with him in the clay boat.

Last Sunday, a group of people in the Rwenzori region carried out coordinated attacks against security forces and civilians.  Altogether, they carried out 13 attacks as follows:
(i)    At 3.00 pm, they attacked policemen at the weigh bridge, killed 1 policeman, injured another one and took 2 SMGs;
(ii)    At Bigando, a UPDF soldier that was on leave, was killed and all his family burnt in a house;
(iii)    In Bigando, they also killed 6 Basongora civilians;
(iv)    At Karugutu Police post, they injured one (1) policeman and took one (1) SMG
(v)    At Kikyo Police post, they took one SMG;
(vi)    At Kirumiya Police post, they took 1 gun;
(vii)    At Ntandi they took 2 SMGs from Uganda Wild Life (UWA) personnel;
(viii)    At Kibuku, they ambushed soldiers who were taking re-enforcements to Bundibugyo, killed one of them, and took 1 SMG but 3 of the attackers were killed including their so called commander;
(ix)    In Bundibugyo town, they attacked Bundibugyo Police Station, killed the OC station and one policeman and took one SMG;
(x)    They attacked Stanbic Bank but three of the attackers were killed;
(xi)    They, then, attacked, Lakwena style, the camp of 39BN at Kanyamirima, injuring one Captain and killing one soldier but 45 of the attackers were killed and the attack was repelled;
(xii)    Attack on the Palace of the Bamba King saw one gun being taken and one policeman being injured; and, finally,
(xiii)    The attack on the shrine where 2 soldiers were killed and one gun was taken.

This means that 8 members of the security forces were killed and 51 attackers were also killed.  This is a total of 65 Ugandans killed last Saturday by the schemes of some confused or selfish bunch of people.  Fortunately, today Uganda has got a capable State that is able to deal decisively and expeditiously with such schemes although, of course, there was a failure of intelligence.   How did these people weave such a scheme without being pre-empted?  What were the GISOs doing?  However, their main effort, which was to enter the camp of 39BN was decisively defeated.  In their limited thinking, they thought it was a light matter to attack UPDF.

How did all this start?  It started with Mr. Charles Mumbere, now HH Omusinga of the Bakonjo, coming to see me some years ago.  He is the son of the late Isaiah Mukirane who, together with Kawamara, the father of the new cultural leader of the Bamba and Mupalya who died recently, started the Rwenzururu Movement in 1962 against the Batooro domination.  Mukirane, eventually, died in the mountains and left his young son Mumbere.  When Mr. Mumbere came to see me, he wanted to be the King of the Rwenzururu.  I told him that the Rwenzururu had been a Political Movement for equality.  Why did he want to turn a political resistance movement into a monarchy?  His group, however, kept on insisting on the issue of monarchy although there was a big group in Kasese that also opposed the idea.   Eventually, in order to create harmony, we withdrew objections to Mr. Mumbere becoming Omusinga especially after people like Dr. Kiyonga and a large group of people who were opposed to the idea of monarchy, withdrew their objection.  However, the Bamba leaders of Bundibugyo were totally opposed to the idea of the monarchy.

In agreeing to Mr. Mumbere being Omusinga, we, therefore, agreed that that cultural institution should operate in Kasese.  Those of Bundibugyo and other areas that were interested in the Obusinga could go to Kasese.  Even within Kasese, there are other indigenous groups that did not support these ideas.  These are the Basongora, Banyabindi and BagaboWe encouraged HH Omusinga to have dialogue with these groups.  I do not know how far that dialogue has gone.  I have, however, been hearing of some chauvinistic positions from some of those who claim to be supporting Obusinga.  They seem to insist that the Omusinga, apart from the Omukama of Tooro in his area, should be the only cultural leader in the Rwenzori region.  Yet, there are other ethnic groups in the Rwenzori region: Bamba, Basongora, Banyabindi, etc.  They have different ideas about this issue and have, in several meetings with me, made this categorically clear.

On account of those chauvinistic ideas being banded around for so long, it seems some groups hatched this criminal scheme that has caused the death of so many people.  Apart from killing 51 of the attackers, we have captured 65 others.  We shall get to the truth and will punish those involved.  In the meantime, the country should not get anxious about this scheme.  It was defeated right on the first day of its execution even before the full potential of the UPDF has been mobilized.  This scheme is doomed to total failure.  It is amazing how wrong ideas coalesce into wrong actions.  Nantabulirwa ya sabaala na bwa bbumba.  Whatever a man sows, that is what he will reap.

I thank you.

Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Gen (rtd)
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA

Link:

http://www.mediacentre.go.ug/press-release/president-musevenis-statement-recent-attacks-some-schemers-kasese-and-bundibugyo

 

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