Omusinga Mumbere urges subjects to embrace peace

Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere addresses his subjects at Golf Course in Kasese Town on October 4, 2023. The king urged his subjects to embrace peace and reconciliation.  PHOTO/ALEX ASHABA

What you need to know:

  • The Rwenzururu king urged the ADF rebels to surrender to the government.

Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere has urged his subjects to embrace peace and reconciliation.
During his two-month-long tour of the kingdom which ended yesterday with a visit to Katwe K’abatooro Town Council in the Katswebwemi Chiefdom, the Omusinga (king) urged his subjects to let bygones be bygones.

Mumbere inaugurated his kingdom-wide tours with a visit to Kambasa County on November 22. 

Addressing a rally at Mpondwe-Lhubiriza Playground in Kyanzi Ward of Mpondwe-Lhubiriha Town Council, the Omusinga appealed to his subjects to embrace peaceful co-existence and shun subversive activities. 
Mumbere appealed to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels to abandon their rebellion and surrender to the government. 

“I am disturbed by the continued brutality that the ADF has inflicted on our innocent brothers in Uganda and the DRC. If there are any Bakonzo in the ADF, I urge them to heed my advice so that they benefit from the government’s current amnesty,” he said. 

He said some Bakonzo were hoodwinked into joining the rebel faction, motivated by the purported cause of securing recognition for Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu.

“When a rebel group is aiming at state power, it serves no purpose to kill the people they intend to rule. This is an indicator that they have no plan. In the past, some Bakonzo used to say they are fighting for the recognition of our kingdom, however, there is no excuse for them to continue fighting now.”

Addressing his subjects at Kisinga Playground in Kisinga Town Council on November 24, Mumbere urged them, especially the traditionally conservative Bakonzo, to live harmoniously with all communities. 

“We have lived here long enough, and we need to learn that we are all brothers and sisters. This mountain is wealthy enough to feed all of us; what we only have to do is to discard our differences, be they on ethnicity, religion, or political party affiliation,” he said.

Expressing gratitude towards the government for dropping all charges against him and 217 of his subjects, Mumbere underscored the significance of their freedom in the reconciliation process that has long eluded Kasese and the entire Rwenzori Sub-region. 

Royal guards
During a visit to Busongora County, on November 30, the Omusinga asked the government to help in reintegrating the former kingdom’s royal guards into the community, acknowledging the heavy toll the 2016 conflicts had on this area. 

“I know that most of you were heavily affected by the conflict. However, we need to forgive one another, forget the past, and start a new chapter. The government had placed so many charges against us but it dropped all of them, so we also need to forgive it for whatever mistakes. I also appeal to the government to settle some of these royal guards because the years they spent in prison affected their livelihoods.”

Mumbere has consistently encouraged people to improve their livelihoods by embracing government programmes aimed at poverty alleviation. 

Addressing congregants at Kasese Catholic Cathedral, Mumbere said: “Government recently introduced the Parish Development Model, let’s go and embrace it, even other government programmes that can help us escape poverty. Recently, I learned that some families can’t even afford Shs3,000  in a day. That is quite bad! We need to work hard and break the cycle of poverty.”

The Rwenzururu king also urged his subjects to align themselves with a positive cultural mindset, recognising the vast natural resources in the Rwenzori region. 

“We are sitting on a lot of wealth on this mountain. From minerals to oil and other resources, if we utilized these God-given endowments, we would become very rich. We would even be in a position to support and grow OBR,” he said.

The kingdom has now resorted to implementing a comprehensive five-point programme, aimed at peacebuilding and unity.

The Omusinga  said the programme will shape the kingdom’s agenda for the next seven years until 2030. 

The focal areas of Omusinga’s programme include reconciliation, unity in diversity, peace promotion, socio-economic transformation, and mindset change.

The Rwenzururu Kingdom prime minister, Mr Joseph Kule Muranga, said to successfully implement the king’s programme, there is a need to shift attention, emphasizing rebranding the kingdom. 

He said the strategic move aims to prevent a recurrence of clashes with the government, particularly those experienced in 2016.