Bamba, Bakonzo Clash Over Mumbere Shrine

3778 Views Bundibugyo, Uganda

In short
The clashes started on Friday afternoon when the Bamba tried to burn down a shrine that was constructed for the Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere. The shrine is located in Kibindi village in Busaru Sub County. The Bamba are the majority in the district.

Clashes have broken out in Bundibugyo district between the Bamba and Bakonzo ethnic groups.

The clashes started on Friday afternoon when the Bamba tried to burn down a shrine that was constructed for the Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere. The shrine is located in Kibindi village in Busaru Sub County.  The Bamba are the majority in the district.

The Bamba were also angry that Mumbere visited Bundibugyo on Sunday to celebrate his second coronation anniversary without seeking permission from the Bamba. The ceremony, which was held at the Boma grounds in Bundibugyo town, was attended by the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, who represented President Museveni.
 
In 2010, Mumbere, who had been in exile for decades, was installed as the Rwenzururu cultural leader.

But earlier in 2009, the Bamba elders had denounced Mumbere and said that they will never pay allegiance to him. They also requested government to order Mumbere not to visit the district, because he isn’t their King.

The elders under their association, Bundibugyo Elders Association (BEA), also returned more than 1000 National Resistance Movement party cards, because President Museveni had failed to address the Bakonzo- Bamba conflict, even after writing to him.

According to the Bundibugyo District Police Commander, Dennis Namuhoza, when the Bamba got to know about the shrine, a group of seventy youths walked to Kibindi village armed with sticks and stones ready to burn the shrine.
 
However, they found a group of Bakonzo youths, who were protecting the shrine. Namuhoza says that the Bamba started pelting the Bakonzo with stones forcing the latter to retaliate.

The Bakonzo were overpowered and they called police who rushed to the Kibindi shrine.

Angered by the presence of the police, the Bamba informed their colleagues in Bundibugyo town, who burnt two motorcycles belonging to two Bakonzo businessmen in the town. They then proceeded to Bundibugyo main market and burnt stalls of Bakonzo traders.

DPC Namuhoza, however, says that no one was injured in the clashes. He says that the police and the UPDF will remain at the shrine until the situation normalizes.

On Friday evening, Ruhakana Rugunda, the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, held an emergency meeting with Bundibugyo Elders Association led by their chairperson, Fulgensio Bamwitirebye.
 
The clashes between the Bamba and Bakonzo come less than a week after the Basongora ethnic group in Kasese district installed their cultural leader, King Ivan Bwebale Rutakirwa, a move that was condemned by the Rwenzururu leaders.

 

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, agriculture 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. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.