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Updates on the skirmishes in Kasese and Bundibugyo – (3 Kingdoms: one recognized by central government in Kasese District)

Well, if you are still interested in different sources on the Rwenzori – Obusinga bwa Rwenzururu and the Kasese and in Bundibugyo attack. Then I got some more for you today from different articles. After the tragic attack which killed 93 people and here is the new quotes and information on the sad event that happen in Kasese and Bundibugyo.

Kasese District Police Commander Michael Musani Sabila commented to media that Rwenzururu PM Nzaghale is now released from prison. Sabila continues: “We are still holding three other Rwenzururu officers” (…)”There is a high security alert to counter any further threats” (…)”Registration centres for the ongoing national ID project have also been provided with extra security to ensure the process is not disrupted “ (…)”A good number are calling us, expressing their willingness to surrender, saying they were deceived into taking up arms against the State” (Thwaite, 2014).

The three that still arrested:

–          Kingdom Enviroment Officer: Erisaniya Mberemu.

–          Information Minister and Kingdoms Spokesman: Joshua Kalimwithako Baluku.

–          Chairman of the Rwenzururu Esyomango S’Obusinga(Youth Wing): Mitusera Isebayanda

(Thwaite, 2014)

The Inspector of General of Police Kale Kayihura said: “We have different categories such as actors, planners and organisers who will be handled accordingly to their actions against the State. We have reinforced our system, we shall not leave any stone unturned” (…) “We have released on police bond the two kingdom officials as our investigations into the matter continue. We arrested them because they were implicated”.  He also said that he was disappointed with the Obsuninga bwa Rwenzururu (Mugume, 2014).

MPs of all political parties are critical of the ethical dived between Bakjona cultivators and Basongora cattle keepers. Defence Minister Dr. Crispus Kiyonga comments: “some people in our society still hold firm beliefs in witchcraft, can easily be duped into criminality and can be very callous in causing death to their brothers and sisters”. Even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon says: “we must not be left to utter the words ‘never again,’ again and again” (…)”indeed; the world has yet to fully overcome its divisions, its indifference, and its moral blind spots. For if not checked, ethnic conflicts are contagious and can spread quickly like cancer cells and eat all the progress achieved over the years” (Mugerwa, 2014).

In Kasese district it would be three kings alone in the groups of the Bakonzo, Basongora and Bayabinindi. This would be:

–          Rwenzururu Kingdom of the Bakonzo with Mr. Charles Wesley Mumbere (Only recognized cultural leader by the government).

–          Basongora People has recognized as their cultural leader: Mr Ivan Rukirwa Bwambale (not recognized by the government).

–          Bayabindi People has recognized as their cultural leader: Mr Elisha Mugisha(not recognized by the government).

(Katusabe, 2014)

In Bundibugyo there you have the kingdom of the Bwamba which actually recently got recongnized by the government. This was as an opposite too the Rwenzururu Kingdom. Bwanba is made for the ethnic groups of Bamba and Babwasi, the issue in the district is that is also having a great number of Bakonzo (Katusabe, 2014).

Ms Polly Namaye deputy spokesman of the Uganda Police has recently addresses the matter and about the issue of the king in custody: “free and there has not been any attempt by the police to summon or arrest him under any circumstance”. She also said: “to have the king summoned the police will not desist (from executing its duties) but will do so in the interest of protecting the lives and properties of all Ugandans equally” (Katusabe, 2014).

Mr Mugisha the Bayabindi leader says: “These activities were carried out by the Bakonzo” (…)”We had informed the authorities that such attacks would happen but our advice was not taken seriously. It could easily be discerned from what many Bakonzo leaders had been saying that an attack on us was imminent. We live in fear” (…)”commemorating the deaths of our people who were killed during the Rwenzururu uprising between 1964 and 1981” (…)”we are different from Bakonzo” (…)”For us we are Bantu-speaking people and we don’t have much in common with the Bakonzo. They therefore targeted us because they associated us with the enemies (the Batooro)” (…)”The army and the police deployed heavily to protect our function; we even had people from State House” (…)”had threatened that if our function took place they would fight” (…)”When they failed to stop the function they diverted their anger to state institutions” (Katusabe, 2014).

Mr Bwambale the in-charge project desk at the Justice and Peace Commission in Kasese which isn’t agreeing with Mugisha is saying: “During the Rwenzururu war starting in the 1960s, our fathers knew that they needed guns to fight to break off from Tooro” (…)”So how can you convince me that in the year 2014, the kingdom of Rwenzururu would organise an attack on a military barracks executed by stick-wielding thugs? It doesn’t make sense”  (…)”like his king has argued, that the attack could have been planned by anti-Rwenzururu people to discredit the kingdom. We were unable to establish whether this is one line of investigation the police is following” (…)”Muhindo and all the others should not have died” (…)”it should look at more strategic interventions to address the problem” (…)”There is a danger in the message which the government seems to send to those people who intend to be recognised as cultural leaders” (…)”they seem to be saying that once you fight and win recognition we put you on payroll” (Katusabe, 2014).

Mr. Mumbere says: “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the institution of traditional leader or cultural leader may exist in any area of Uganda in accordance with the culture, customs and traditions or wishes and aspirations of the people to whom it applies” (…)”It’s natural resources, especially in the lowlands, which is causing trouble in Kasese especially” (Katusabe, 2014).

Mr Mugisha gives his thoughts on why they should get recognized: “We will stop being marginalized” (…)”we have a very big problem with land; our people have been sidelined. Look at me, I am the king of the Banyabindi but I live on a small plot” (…)”Ibuga Prison farm has a lot of vacant land” (…)”let the government take some of my people there” (Katusabe, 2014).

Rev Can Cornelius Matte the dean of St. Paul Church where he discusses the issues of the Bakonzo. Mr Matte says: “problem of resources is getting worse” (…)”We have had land conflicts in the area for some time but we never predicted that this thing would become this dangerous. We are living in a corridor between national parks, prison and mountains. People are now desperate and something very small causes a very serious reaction. People are now like hungry dogs” (…)”Every year we send people to theological colleges and we have some other opportunities. We ensure that we send a Munyabindi and Musongora. This year the only one we have sent to university is a Musongora” (Katusabe, 2014).

Dr. Kizza Besigye has new comments on Rwenzururu:

“This is not tribal violence as government claims. Why is it only the Police and UPDF being targeted as if they are tribes? It’s because people are fed-up and feel that these are agents of the bigger problem up there” (…)”This situation in western Uganda cannot be detached from the problems in the whole country. The causes are not a local dynamic as it has been reduced but rather a political time bomb government is sitting on”. He describes President Museveni as “king of sectarianism”. Besigye is also addressing Kiyonga actions: ““Kiyonga was there when they carved out Ntoroko for the Batuku from Bundibugyo for the Bamba and have plans to further divide Kasese into four other constituents for the Basongora and other small tribes they want to create” (Musisi, 2014).

 

Links:

Katusabe, Ruth & Mukiibi Ssrunjogi Misari Thembo Kahungu, Eriasa – ‘Inside the melting pot of Rwenzori region’ (13.07.2014) Link:  http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Inside-the-melting-pot-of-Rwenzori-region/-/688334/2381740/-/wckx5vz/-/index.html

 

Mugume, Colleb &  Ninsuma Enid – ‘Police to screen Kasese, Bundibugyo attackers’ (13.07.2014) Link: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Police-to-screen-Kasese–Bundibugyo-attackers/-/688334/2381922/-/fvvkg0/-/index.html

 

Mugerwa, Yaslin – ‘MPs unite against Rwenzori attacks’ (13.07.2014) Link: http://www.monitor.co.ug/OpEd/OpEdColumnists/YasiinMugerwa/MPs-unite-against-Rwenzori-attacks/-/878670/2381556/-/us815oz/-/index.html

 

Musisi, Fredric & Tumwine, Albert – ‘Govt to blame for Rwenzori attacks’ – Besigye’ (13.07.2014) Link:http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Govt-to-blame-for-Rwenzori-attacks—Besigye/-/688334/2381860/-/dvi3k0z/-/index.html

 

Thwaite, John B. – ‘Kasese attacks: Rwenzururu premier released’ (12.07.2014) Link:http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/657452-kasese-attacks-rwenzururu-premier-released.html

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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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