MP Ntabazi is being accused of using Voice of Bundibugyo, a government-owned FM radio managed under the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), to mobilize the Bamba against the Rwenzururu King, Charles Wesley Mumbere.
Bundibugyo Woman MP Harriet Ntabazi has been cited in the clashes between the Bamba and Bakonzo ethnic groups in Bundibugyo district.
Ntabazi is being accused of using Voice of Bundibugyo, a government-owned FM radio managed under the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), to mobilize the Bamba against the Rwenzururu King, Charles Wesley Mumbere.
According to an employee at Voice of Bundibugyo, who preferred anonymity, Ntabazi placed announcements on the radio on Thursday last week, calling all the Bamba in the district to come to the Boma grounds in Bundibugyo town for an urgent meeting.
It is after the meeting at the Boma grounds on Saturday last week that the Bamba youths went wild and proceeded to Mumbere’s palace at Kirindi in Busaru Sub County, and threatened to burn the royal hut, but they faced resistance from the Bakonzo, who were guarding the area.
According to the source, when Mumbere visited Bundibugyo district to celebrate his second coronation anniversary two weeks ago, Voice of Bundibugyo was supposed to broadcast the ceremony live on radio, but Ntabazi allegedly ordered the radio to be switched off, a move that angered the Bakonzo.
She however ordered it back on air when the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi was about to start speaking, but the staff at the radio refused. Mbabazi represented President Museveni as the chief guest at the coronation anniversary.
The source states that Ntabazi called the Office of the President complaining that the Bakonzo were using the radio to impose Mumbere on the Bamba.
According to the source, after the coronation anniversary, three senior managers of the radio were transferred to Kampala under unclear circumstances on orders of Ntabazi, who accused the trio of defying her directives several times.
The transferred employees include Joyce Gunura, the manager, Steven Aguma, the programmes manager and John Kisembo, the assistant administrator.
Ntabazi’s actions have been met with criticisms from both the Bamba and Bakonzo who have accused her of dividing the two communities that have in the past lived together peacefully.
Christopher Kibazanga, former MP for Busongora South in Kasese district and a brother to the Rwenzururu King, says that government should hold Ntabazi responsible if there is loss of lives resulting from the clashes.
Kibazanga says that elders in the district have on several occasions written to her to stop inciting the Bamba against the Bakonzo, but she has refused to listen.
Jane Alisemera Babiiha, the former Woman MP Bundibugyo condemned Ntabazi, saying that as a leader, she is supposed to unite and not divide the people who voted her.
Alisemera also said that all the Bamba and Bakonzo staying in Kampala and in other parts of the country will soon hold a reconciliation meeting in Bundibugyo, to unite the two ethnic groups.
After the clashes on Saturday, Mumbere accused some political leaders of dividing his kingdom along ethnic lines.
When contacted for a comment, Ntabazi dismissed the claims as rumours that do not merit her response.
There is tension in Bundibugyo and Kasese districts as both Bamba and Basongora defy the authority of the Rwenzururu Kingdom. Just a day after Mumbere marked two years on the throne, the Basongora installed their own king and hoisted a separate flag. On Wednesday, the Bakonzo youths invaded Muhokya, the supposed seat of Busongora cultural leader, and took away the flag and royal drums. The jubilant youths later displayed the items in Kasese town before taking them to Mumbere’s palace at Buhikira.
omusinga charles mumbere