What you need to know:
- After about seven-year absence from his kingdom, Omusinga Mumbere, in July appointed a committee of 60 people to organize his homecoming after the DPP dropped charges against him.
The National Unity Platform (NUP) party Sunday handed over Shs10 million to Rwenzururu kingdom officials organizing the highly-anticipated homecoming fete for Rwenzururu king, Charles Wesley Mumbere.
The Opposition party’s contribution to the October 4, 2023 fete was in fulfillment of a pledge made by NUP principal, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi on August 30 while in Kasese during his national mobilization tour.
Local leaders in Kasese had appealed to Mr Kyagulanyi for support towards the event during his visit in the area.
"I know that you are raising funds to facilitate the king’s homecoming. I have also asked all NUP MPs to support this cause and raise not less than 10 million shillings for the same. I will also add my contribution to that as a sign of solidarity with you, our people," Mr Kyagulanyi stated at the time.
NUP's Secretary General, David Lewis Rubongoya on Sunday handed over Shs 10 million to the Rwenzururu Kingdom secretariat, which is currently operating from Shilloh Hotel in Kasese town following the destruction of the palace during a UPDF raid on November 26, 2016.
Mr Rubongoya said the contribution underlines NUP's commitment to appreciating cultural diversity and fulfilling its promises to the community.
"When the [NUP] president was here last time, the leaders presented the need to support the Omusinga's homecoming and other projects. He [Kyagulanyi] pledged that NUP would make a contribution, and I am here to deliver our initial contribution of Shs10 million. I hope this is evidence that NUP stands firmly in solidarity with the people of Rwenzururu," he said.
Mr Rubongoya also highlighted the need for justice for the more than 150 individuals who lost their lives during the palace raid.
"We understand the trials and tribulations that the king and his subjects have gone through for the last seven years. We appreciate the sorrows and pain that the people have gone through. NUP continues to condemn the humiliation of the king and also demands justice for the so many lives that were lost," Rubongoya added.
Ms Gloria Masika, who represented the Rwenzururu Kingdom secretariat said raising the required Shs9 billion for the homecoming fete and other related activities has been challenging for the officials.
"If there was any other way to acquire this money, we wouldn't have run a fundraiser. However, this is the only way, and yet our collections are still low. We appreciate this Shs10 million from NUP. I am appealing to all other institutions, including DP, NRM and FDC, to also come and support us because Shs9 billion is not a small amount. Let us remember that we are Banyarwenzururu first before we become associates of political parties," Masika observed.
In a later conversation with this publication, Rwenzururu Kingdom Prime Minister, Mr Joseph Kule Muranga said despite running the fundraiser for two months, they have only collected a fraction of the required sum.
"As OBR [Rwenzururu Kingdom], we thank NUP for supporting us. We have written to other political parties to also support us but they're yet to respond. We hope that they respond to us too since time is running out," Mr Muranga said.
After about seven-year absence from his kingdom, Omusinga Mumbere, in July appointed a committee of 60 people to organize his homecoming after the DPP dropped charges against him.
The kingdom is currently running a campaign to raise Shs9 billion to acquire Springs International Hotel as a new palace, finance the coronation anniversary scheduled for October 19, and facilitate the return of the king.
Mumbere had been separated from his kingdom since November 27, 2016, when he was arrested following a raid by security operatives on his Buhikira Royal Palace in Kasese town. The attack led by Brig Peter Elwelu, who was at the time Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) Second Division Commander, left more than 150 people dead, with over 200 others, including Mumbere, facing various charges, including murder, arson, treason and terrorism.
Now, with October 4 set as the date for his return to the kingdom, the Rwenzururu kingdom is striving to make this homecoming a memorable and successful event.