King Oyo Petitions UNHCR Over Rwamwanja

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In short
King of Tooro, Oyo Nyimba Kabamba has petitioned the UNHCR protesting the continued relocation of Congolese refugees to Rwamwanja in Kamwenhe district. King Oyo says that Tooro Kingdom is the rightful owner of the land.

The King of Tooro Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru, has petitioned the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) protesting the continued relocation of refugees to Rwamwanja in Nkoma Sub County, Kamwenge district.

The petition, a copy of which Uganda Radio Network, has seen, shows King Oyo stating that it is unfair for the humanitarian body to relocate the refuges to an area that is under conflict. He also states that it is illegal for UNHCR and government to relocate the refugees, amid a High Court injunction and a parliamentary order halting  the exercise.

In the letter, King Oyo also states that the Government is forcefully relocating the refugees, to the land  that belongs to the   Kingdom of Tooro. The kingdom is in possession of the land title.

In April, UNHCR with the help of the government started relocating Congolese refugees to Rwamwanja, despite a court injunction and the speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga halting the exercise until the parliamentary committee on Presidential affairs completes its investigation on who is the right owner of the more than 40 square miles of land.   

On Thursday, 3400 Congolese refugees were relocated to Rwamwanja.
Steven Nyabongo, Tooro Kingdom regent says that King Oyo reached the decision to petition UNHCR, after the Kingdom officials failed to get audience with President Museveni and Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi.  

According to Nyabongo, progress to meet the president over this matter has over the past two years proven futile.

//Cue in; “that land is in conflict.”

Cue out: “why is UNHCR part of this…”//

But in a telephone interview, Charles Bafaki, a senior resettlement officer in the Office of the Prime Minister says that they are not moved by the petition. He says that Rwamwanja land was gazzetted as a refugee camp in the late 1960s.

Bafaki also says that UNHCR and the Minister of Disaster Preparedness will next week relocate the fourth batch of refugees to Rwamwanja.

Meanwhile, Tooro kingdom officials and residents of Rwamwanja have set Wednesday next week as the day when they will peacefully demonstrate against the relocation of Refugees in Rwamwanja.

Rev. Canon Shem Rubale, the deputy Prime Minister Toro Kingdom says that it is through the demonstration that the government will address the Rwamwanja issue.  

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About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. As a result, he works as a trainer with Farm Radio International (FRI) and chairperson of the Tooro Median Practitioners Association (TOMPA).

Emmanuel Kajubu is the Kabarole URN bureau chief. Kamwenge, Kyenjojo, Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.