The UPDF has recalled Lt Col Martin Kamya, who was retired in May 2014 and installed as traditional leader (Omudhingiya) of the Bamba/Babwisi/Vonoma in the troubled Rwenzori sub-region.
President Museveni, also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, made the announcement during a media briefing on Monday at State Lodge in Njara, Fort Portal District.
This was after he had toured the scenes of tribal clashes in Bundibugyo District where Kamya’s chiefdom is located.
“The army can recall you anytime to the force so long as you are still in the army age bracket. Going for further training is in his own interest,” Mr Museveni said, adding that further training will enhance the king’s career prospects.
Lt Col Kamya was at the rank of Major and deployed as an intelligence officer in Karamoja before he was recognised by government as king.
Mr Museveni then promoted him to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
On the clamour for the so-called ‘Yiira Republi’, the President advised the Bakonjo in DR Congo to push their government to join the EAC so that they can integrate easily with their brothers and sisters in Uganda.
“I want to tell everyone that no inch of Uganda can be let go,” Mr Museveni said.
The biggest number of Bakonjo live in DR Congo but annually travel to Kasese for the coronation anniversary of the Omusinga of Rwenzururu Kingdom, Charles Wesley Mumbere.
The ‘Yiira Republic’ is fancied by some Bakonjo as a state that would cover part of Uganda and Congo but other tribes in the region reject the idea which is said to be partly fuelling the ongoing conflict.
Mr Museveni, who blamed cultural, political and religious leaders for not doing enough to end tribal clashes in the Rwenzori sub-region, said government would resort to the strong-arm military approach to calm tempers.
“I have decided to deploy the army in the mountains to hunt and flash out the attackers since their actions are intolerable,” he said, warning local leaders to desist from inciting the sections of their community into killing innocent Ugandans.
After the July 5, 2014 attacks in Bundibugyo, Kasese and Ntoroko districts that left over 90 people dead and several others injured, government gave amnesty to over 400 people who had sought haven in the mountains fearing arrest.
However, Mr Museveni warned that government will follow the attackers for justice to prevail.
“I want to tell you that attacking the army is not a good enterprise; ask those who tried to tell you where they are,” he said.
He also warned leaders, who he said were giving conditions to government about the end of the conflicts, saying “I have told the two groups (Bakonjo and Bamba) that monopoly of force is solely in the hands of UPDF.”
Meanwhile, the Rwenzururu king, Charles Wesley Mumbere has called for an independent inquiry into the Rwenzori clashes.
Mr Mumbere, who has been accused of fuelling attacks, said he doubts whether the Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura, can play a neutral role in the inquiry.
While addressing Christians who gathered for prayers at St Paul’s Cathedral in Kasese on Monday, Mr Mumbere said Gen Kayihura alone will not solve the outstanding clashes in the region unless he endorses an independent commission of inquiry, alleging that those against Obusinga Obwa Rwenzururu are the ones taking malicious reports to government implicating the kingdom in the clashes.
Lt Col Martin Kamya
Background. In May 2014, Lt Col Kamya was installed as traditional leader of the Bamba, Babwisi and Vonoma people after he had been retired from the army.
By Felix Basiime, Enid Ninsiima, Moris Mumbere & Scovia Atuhaire