The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, yesterday directed the Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs to present a report of its probe into the killings in November 2016 when the army raided the palace of Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere in Kasese District.
The directive came after Kasese District Woman Member of Parliament, Ms Winfred Kiiza, asked whether Parliament was proceeding properly without a report being presented three years after the attacks.
“Last year, we raised the same procedural matter, the chairperson of the committee said she was ready to present the report to the House. She pleaded with the sitting Speaker then that she only needed time to be put on the Order Paper, and she presents the report,” Ms Kiiza submitted.
She wondered why the Committee would not ask for additional time if the report was not ready last year.
“I ask whether it is not procedurally incorrect that a matter that came three years ago, can’t be handled by this House. Otherwise the people of Kasese, Bundibugyo and Ntoroko may end up thinking that it is this House sitting on that report,” she added.
The Speaker, who did not open any debate about the matter, directed the Committee chaired by Ms Doreen Amule (Amolatar District Woman MP, NRM) to make the report available so that it is discussed by the House.
Today marks exactly three years after the army under the command of the current commander of the Land Forces, Lt Gen Peter Elwelu (the then commander of the army’s 2nd Division), raided Buhikira Royal Palace, arresting King Mumbere and close to 200 others. More than 100 people including civilians and royal guards were killed in the two-day raid.
The first assault was on November 26, when the army raided the kingdom’s administration office in Kasese Town where eight of Mumbere’s guards were killed.
In the aftermath of the attacks, Parliament directed the Committee then chaired by Mityana District Woman MP Judith Nabakooba, to investigate what the area MPs had reported as a “massacre”.
However, Ms Amule told Daily Monitor yesterday that she has nothing to present to the House in regard to the Speaker’s directive because she never received the report from Ms Nabakooba.
Ms Nabakooba was not available for a comment as her known telephone contact was unavailable.
MPs threaten action
The Kasese Parliamentary caucus led by Ms Winfred Kiiza yesterday vowed to announce “the next cause of action” if the government does not resolve the issues surrounding the delayed trial of the king and his co-accused persons.
King Mumbere was charged in the Jinja Magistrate’s Court in December 2016 together with 201 others but five of them have so far died in prison. Whereas the king, his former acting prime minister, Mr Johnson Thembo Kitumbire, and six juveniles are out on bail, about 190 others remain on remand in Kirinya Prison in Jinja District despite being committed to International Crimes Division of the High Court to stand trial on charges of treason, terrorism, murder and aggravated robbery, among others.
Addressing journalists at Parliament yesterday, MPs Kiiza, Robert Centenary (Kasese Municipality), Godfrey Atkins Katusabe (Bukonzo West), Harold Tony Muhindo (Bukonzo East) and William Nzoghu (Busongora North) said, trial has been long overdue.