A look into the Kasese Attacks; Government reasoning does not fit the Rwenzururu Kingdom or Rwenzori CSOs explaination; Gov. Forces seems acting maliciously to me

NBS Rwenzururu

The actions of these Kasese Attacks seems suspicious to me. As it saddens me to know that so many people have lost their lives and that so many people have left their houses. The reports of the reactions from the attacks is that banana-fields have been cleared and houses been burnt down in Kasenyi Trading Centre in Buhobera Sub-County, therefore people have fled the area. With the continuation of the Police and the Army stay heavy deployed in the area.

Certainly the IGP Kayihura commented and claimed that “kirumamutima” youth was behind the attacks in the area. Another claim was that people wanting a Yiira Republic were behind the attacks and therefore the Police and Army went so fierce and aggressive to the citizens.

While a day before the clashes President Museveni happen to speak to fellow locals where President Museveni: “assured the delegation that if a Yiira Republic were ever to be created, it would never ever involve a single inch of Uganda” (Uganda Media Centre, 10.03.2016).

Kasese attack

Yesterday the Rwenzori Fraternity said this was the reason: “The violence that erupted was purely post election violence that came out of a poorly managed electoral process” (…)”The so called Yiira state is a concoction that has no basis and founding among the Population in the region and we are equally perturbed by this malicious propaganda that has no basis but intended to taint and alienate us the people of the Rwenzori region from the Uganda that we have always belonged to and we treasure” (Rwenzori Fraternity, 14.03.2016) .

The first reports on the 11th March from 91.2 Crooze FM:

“Kakurungu says another attack this afternoon targeted Poilce patrol van in Bwesumbu sub county. He says investigations are ongoing, to establish the intention of the group.

Uganda People Defense Forces were backing Police to secure the area, after the declaration of results from LCIII elections.  Announcing some of the successful candidates, Kasese District Returning Officer, Lawrence Mbonigaba announced NRM’s John Musana Katura as Hima town council’s L.C III chairperson elect after winning his closet rival Tom Maate Wabukombi of FDC” (91.2 Crooze FM, 11.03.2016)

What happen on the Kasenyi on the 11th March?

““4 people shot dead following fresh clashes today afternoon between UPDF, police and residents of Kisenyi Town Council in Buhohera Sub-County, Kasese district. The dead are civilians. 2 UPDF soldiers were seriously injured while the area commissioner of police in charge of operations Opolot Jacob was shot and injured“ (NBS TV Uganda, 2016).

Who was shot on Friday the 11th March?

“Friday, security again shot dead four people in Kasenyi trading centre in Buhuhira sub-county after they allegedly attempted to disarm police officers. All the four killed were members of Rwenzururu kingdom royal guards, a non-combat force that guards the kingdom sites in Kasese” (The Observer, 11.03.2016).

What is weird for me is that President Museveni – Mr. Anti-Sectarianism and Anti-Tribalism comes days before and speaks about tribe to locals. Than days after local elections for councilors the Inspector of General Police says the reason for the violence is tribal. While the local CSO Rwenzori Fraternity and the Rwenzururu Kingdom spokesperson is clear that it is not tribal and want answers to why it is guards of the Kingdom who get pointed out and terminated.

While the Police and President Museveni even speaks about a Yira Republic, and the locals does not talk about it. It would be like President Museveni and IGP Kayihura would go to Lira and claim locals there after a brawl after vote rigging was local militias wanting to create at Nile Republic. Just like Joseph Kony of LRA wished to do in 1998, but people tend to forget that kind of thing, right?

So the claim from the IGP Kayihura is very strange and so is President Museveni come in hours before, when all reports looks like tension after the LCIII Councilors elections in Kasenyi Trading Centre and Hima Town. They came in heavy with the Army and Police, while the result seemed planned as it was the NRM who won in an area. Where the FDC has had an stronghold and the only area where all the MPs came from that party, even if had to violent after the tally on the 19th February.

So that this is continuation and surely the NRM and the Government would accept to lose face in the local elections as well. They had to be there and revenge the matter. That what it seems like as the UPDF and UPF knew exactly who they were going against and who they shot. As the men they shot were guards of the Rwenzururu King or Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu. That is suspect actions from the Governmental security organization who blames youth who evens wants to create a new Republic called Yira. The thing about this it is just mentioned by Government Officials in 2014, 2015 and now 2016. Not from the local youths in Rwenzori or by the Rwenzururu Kingdom officials or anybody else, most likely from Government Officials, and not real intelligence on the claims. Just like the claims have been countered quickly by the CSO and the Kingdom yesterday, after the IGP Kayihura explanation of the violence in Kasenyi Trading Centre in Buhobera Sub-County.

This here is not the whole explanation and there is more to the story, but as long as there is targeting certain individuals who belong to a certain level of authority, even a cultural institution as the Rwenzururu Kingdom. That is entity for the people of Rwenzori and the Rwenzori sub-region. That even President Museveni has blessed and was there on the coronation of the king or Obusinga. So that the government security forces targeted a separate group of people and not killing on random or just stopping demonstrations; as demonstrations would mean all kind of people would be hurt and died by the shots fired from the army and police. That was not case it seems after the Kasese attacks.  There were two more people killed that day, as the Kingdom verified four people, while the total killed by the authorities was six. So there was two more and we don’t know their affiliation, but seems like the government had reason for four of them. Especially considering the mediation the day before and with the reactions the announcement of victory in local government elections, as the recent reactions to similar outcome in Bundibugyo, the army and police was more in action and ready to retaliate and address the public with force, as seen on the sad clips where they go in and not to settle or calming the public. Instead going in with intention to intimidate and take people down as they come with machine-guns, AK-47s and in it creating violence, not the story the IGP Kayihura has, that doesn’t fit the other stories. That is worth thinking about. This is not the answer and the whole story, but there is more behind the attack than the IGP want to tell, and there is more than the Kingdom is also saying, while the obvious that the announcement of the elections results that triggered it. Peace.  

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

Latest updates on Kasese-Budibugyo atttack – Rwenzuri militants (not ADF)

 

It’s been movement on the ground. President Museveni has spoken and the Rwenzuru King has also said his piece. First Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga and then before I tire you, to you sleep. Please continue to read!

Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga put the actual number of deaths during the siege are now 92(Okello, 2014).

Here is his statement to this Thursday in Parliament:

“The characteristic  of the events that unfolded show that 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. The attacks took place on Saturday 5th July between 2 PM and 4 pm in the districts of Bundibugyo, Kasese and Ntoroko. The main targets were police and army positions, wananchi in the case of Kasese, the palace of the Obundingya wa Bwamba and sSanbic bank in Bundibugyo. The attackers were mainly armed with spears, pangas sticks and some guns with the main objectives of getting guns and money. The places attacked in each of the affected districts are; In Bundibugyo the places attacked included; Kanyamirima barracks – 5 kilometers from the town of Bundibugyo, Bundibugyo town where the stanbic bank and the palace of the Omundigyawa Bwamba were key targets. Kirindi shrine,Ntandi and Katumba. In the district of Ntoroko the attacks were at the trading centre of Kibuuku and the police station in Karugutu town council. While in Kasese, the places affected are; a weighbridge opposite KCCL factory on the highway from Kasese to Bushenyi and the villages of Bigando and Ibuga. An estimated total number of 92 people are reported to have lost their lives which include, four police men, three soldiers, three wananchi and 68 attackers in Bundibugyo district, in Ntoroko, one soldier and one wananchi were killed while in Kasese district, 13 people were killed, one police man, one soldier and 11 wananchi lost their lives” (Okello, 2014).

Rwenzuru king Charles Wesley Mumbere statement:

First the Rwenzuru Prime Minister Noah Nzaghale and Minister of Tourism Erisa Mwincubere were taken by the Police at 9 AM at the Office of the Kingdom in Kasese.

The Kings statement: “that the people who attacked on Saturday should be part of his Kingdom’s enemies who did not want him recognized and that they may be looking for means of having the government abolish the institution”(…)”warned government from being biased in handling cultural issues in the Rwenzori region but rather take the task of leading or mediating the reconciliation process”(…)”the decision to arrest the Prime Minister and other officials was hash because no one in the Kingdom including himself is willing to be interviewed at peace as police continue hunting for the wrong elements”(…)”He does not recall agreeing with the president over the matter because his subjects are across the region” (Red Pepper, 2014).

Kings friend Tom Stancy comments: “the United Nations had granted the Bakonzo a state called the Yira Republic. Yira is another name for Bakonzo. On this Mumbere said that document was authored by some of the people who have for a long time opposed the Rwenzururu Kingdom” (Red Pepper, 2014).

Minority Rights Group Africa (MRGA) responds to the attacks:

“Condemns the weekend attacks in Ntoroko, Kasese and Bundibugyo districts in Rwenzori region in Western Uganda which claimed the lives of at least 72 people, including numerous civilians, two soldiers and three police officers”(Matovu, 2014).

Jolly Kemigabo MRGA Office Manager says: “We all know there are historical injustices suffered by some ethnic groups like the Basongora who lost land, but the government has failed to resolve their issues”(…)”The government, with the involvement of all stakeholders, has to push for peaceful co-existence while addressing deep-seated inequality and discrimination leading to the political and social exclusion of minority ethnic groups”(…)” Such steps should include resettlement or compensation for evicted communities, and the economic empowerment of marginalized groups” (Matovu, 2014).

President Yoweri Museveni blames security agencies:

“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?” (Kasasira, 2014). Veteran Security Chief David Pukol commented: “What had become of our intelligence agencies? May be everybody is looking at Kyankwanzi resolution, President Museveni’s fifth term and they have forgotten about Al-Shabaab? This intelligence failure has baffled us. It sends a wrong message” (Kasasira, 2014).

I will keep you more updated when I see more news or reports on the matter that fits.

Peace!

 

Links:

Kasasira, Risdel (10.07.2014) – ‘Rwenzori attacks: Museveni blames intelligence organ’ (the Citizen.co.tz) Link: http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/News/Rwenzori-attacks–Museveni-blames-intelligence-organ/-/1840340/2378786/-/qvgdu8/-/index.html

 

Matovu, Mohammed (10.07.2014) – ‘To calm ethnic tensions in Rwenzori region, government has to address specific needs of ethnic minorities’ (Minority Rights Group)

Link:http://reliefweb.int/report/uganda/calm-ethnic-tensions-rwenzori-region-government-has-address-specific-needs-ethnic

 

Okello, Dickens Honeywell (10.07.2014) – ‘Kiyonga: Why Rwenzori Militants Attacked Defence Installations’ (Chimpreports.com)

Link: http://chimpreports.com/index.php/mobile/special-reports/23361-kiyonga-why-rwenzori-militants-attacks-defence-installations.html

 

Red Pepper (10.07.2014) – ‘Rwenzururu King Speaks Out On Rwenzori Attacks’ (Redpepper.co.ug)

Link: http://www.redpepper.co.ug/rwenzururu-king-speaks-out-on-rwenzori-attacks/