Tension in Bundibugyo as non Bakonjo protest Mumbere’s visit

Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi (L) is received by King Mumbere in Bundibugyo last Saturday. Mumbere’s visit to Bundibugyo has resulted into tension between the BakonJo and Bamba community. PHOTO BY GEOFREY MUTEGEKI.

What you need to know:

Protest. A group composed of three ethnic tribes, who say they do not subscribe to the Rwenzururu Kingdom, tried to torch a shrine built by King Charles Mumbere on Saturday at his ancestral home in Busaru Sub-county, Bundibugyo District.

Security in Bundibugyo District has been stepped up following demonstrations and fights by the Bamba-Bawisi and Batwa, ethnic groups in the district who do not subscribe to the Rwenzururu Kingdom.

The demonstrators stormed the streets of Bundibugyo Town on Friday, protesting against the visit of Rwenzururu King Charles Mumbere last week in the area and setting up of a shrine.

The group composed of three ethnic tribes, who say they do not subscribe to the Rwenzururu Kingdom, tried to torch the shrine that was erected by King Mumbere last Saturday at his ancestral home in Kirindi Trading Centre, Kirindi Parish, Busaru Sub-county.

An eyewitness, Mr Ivan Baluku, from the Batwa community said: “We are on tension now, every person is rushing home for his life. So far minister (Information & Communication Technology) Ruhakana Rugunda has held three meetings with different groups but the situation is still tense.”

These tribes are accusing King Mumbere of having visited their territory to perform his rituals and set up shrines on the land and yet they do not belong to his kingdom.

“We have our traditional values and norms and therefore we have never at one time paid allegiance to Rwenzururu Kingdom though we were born from the same area and that we share names,” Mr Baluku said on phone.
One of the Rwenzururu cabinet ministers, who preferred anonymity because he is not authorised to talk to the press, claimed the tension is being perpetuated by a prominent elder who is being influenced by high profile persons in the district to incite violence.”

Last week, the Bamba-Babwiisi elders petitioned the NRM party, saying they are returning the party cards on Friday alleging that government has failed to address their issues with the Rwenzururu Kingdom.

“Owing to failure of government to put interventional measures between the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu and Bamba-Babwiisi cultural differences, the Bamba-Babwiisi community have on June 29 resolved to return the NRM membership cards” reads a letter from the Bamba-Babwiisi Elders Development Association (BEDA) to the Secretary General NRM Secretariat.

The letter signed by the BEDA chairperson, Mr Furigensio Bamwitirebye Furigensio adds: “We further hereby invite you to come and receive the NRM membership cards of the Bamba-Babwiisi on July 6 at Bundibugyo Town square”

When contacted, the District Police Commander, Mr Denis Namuhoza, said there was fighting on Friday among the tribes which do not subscribe to the Rwenzururu Kingdom.

“As I speak now the situation is under control, the shrine has not been burnt but so far one motorcycle is burnt plus other things which can’t be verified now,” Mr Namuhoza said, adding, “We have deployed security personnel in all corners of the district as we wait for the President to come and solve the issue”.

But the Rwenzururu Kingdom spokesperson, Mr David Nguru, had no comment about the fighting in Bundibugyo, saying he was still studying the situation as he was not on ground.

But he later said the Bamba–Bawisi elders are being misled by other people for selfish interests.



The Rwenzururu Kingdom is currently facing stiff challenges in Bundinbugyo and Kasese districts as other ethnic groups; the Bamba-Babwisi and Batwa in Bundibugyo and the Basongora in Kasese contend that they are not subjects of King Mumbere due to their cultural differences with the Bakonzo.
The Busongora have gone ahead to crown their king in Kasese District which the Rwenzururu cabinet has rejected and resolved to nullify it.
District authorities in the affected areas are expecting the President to come and calm the situation.


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