Friday July 11 2014

MPs blame govt for Rwenzori clashes

By Isaac Imaka

PARLIAMENT- Government, the Rwenzururu Kingdom and political elite in the Rwenzori region are to blame for last week’s clashes, MPs said yesterday.

The MPs pointed the accusing finger during a debate which ensued after Minister of Defence, Dr Crispus Kiyonga, presented a ministerial statement on the Rwenzori clashes and the steps government has taken so far.

In his statement, Dr Kiyonga pointed at disagreements over cultural leadership between the Basongora, the Bamba and the Bakonzo.

He also alluded to conflicts over land and economic inequality. “This (the land question) has been longstanding matter which government has been grappling with and of recent Parliament appointed a select committee to follow up the issue. I am made to understand a report will soon be presented to the House,” he said.

Government, the MPs argued, takes the blame because of failure to gather intelligence and prevent the attacks and also because it allegedly took peoples land in the area without compensation.

The Rwenzururu Kingdom was blamed by particularly Busongara South MP Boaz Kafuda because, according to the MP, it was the king’s youth that carried out the attack. The MP told the House that he was “on the ground” as the attacks unfolded and he saw the attackers.

The elites were accused because they harbour selfish political interests and continue fighting each other in the area.

“I find a very big problem in the functionality of this government. After five days since the attack, they cannot account for the missing persons,” said MP Barnabas Tinkasiimire, adding: “Account for where our people are and what compensation you are giving the families of the deceased since you are acknowledging that it was your negligence....”