Rwenzururu Kingdom will not celebrate their Peace Day, an annual event marking 55 years since the Bakonzo and Bamba jointly announced their independence from Tooro Kingdom. Ever since Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere was recognised by the government in 2009, the historic day has been celebrated every June 30th with pomp with thousands of subjects gathering in Bundibugyo for its commemoration. Speaking to URN on phone from Kasese today, Clarence Bwambale, the Rwenzururu spokesperson says that there will be no celebrations to mark the peace day tomorrow because the cultural institution and its subjects are not at peace.
Initially, the Bakonzo and Bamba/Babwisi paid allegiance to Tooro Kingdom until March 1962 when their representatives led by Isaya Mukirania, the father to reigning Rwenzururu king Charles Wesley Mumbere, stormed out of the Rukurato citing continuous oppression from Batooro.
Others who walked out with Mukirania were Yeremia Kawamara, father to the Bwamba king Martin Kamya and the late Peter Mupalya. They would declare independence on June 30, 1962, the same day they waged an armed struggle, the Rwenzururu Movement, against Tooro.
As a result of the fall-out with Tooro, Isaya Mukirania and his colleagues together with recruited fighters hoisted the Rwenzururu flag at Kasulenge Hill in current Harugale Sub County in Bundibugyo district to declare independence of the Bakonzo and Bamba/Babwisi from what they called subjugation from Tooro.
It is this movement that was a precursor to the current Rwenzururu Kingdom.
Ever since Omusinga Mumbere returned from the United States to be recognised by the government in 2009, the historic day has been celebrated with pomp with thousands of subjects gathering in Bundibugyo for its commemoration.
The 2012 event was, however, followed by violent clashes between the Bakonzo and Bamba/Babwisi forcing the Bakonzo to strictly celebrate the subsequent years in Kasese as the government moved to recognise another cultural institution in Bundibugyo.
Speaking to URN on phone from Kasese today, Clarence Bwambale, the Rwenzururu spokesperson says that there will be no celebrations to mark the peace day tomorrow because the cultural institution and its subjects are not at peace.
"I can confirm to you that there will not be peace day celebrations because we generally don't have peace in the region. Our king is still under house arrest although purportedly on bail, our people remain in jail and many families are mourning," Bwambale said.
Bwambale says that the Rwenzururu peace day celebrations are led by the Omusinga but at this time he is not allowed to be in the kingdom as by his bail conditions.
Mumbere, acting prime minister Johnson Thembo Kitsumbire and over 150 people said to be royal guards are facing trial over alleged crimes that include, treason, terrorism, murder, and attempted murder among others in relation to November 2016 clashes in Kasese.
Mumbere was picked from his Buhikira royal palace in Kasese town on November 27, 2016 before it was burned by the Uganda People's Defense Forces in an assault that left more than 100 people dead.
The kingdom spokesperson says that the only thing to be done at midnight is for every subject to pray for the king and his co-accused to be set free and for the souls of those who perished in the palace attack to rest in peace.
Asked about whether the Rwenzururu flag will be hoisted at midnight as a symbol of peace as it has usually been done at Kasulenge Hill, Bwambale says there is no need for that until the king returns to his palace.
He has called upon the religious leaders in the area to dedicate prayers for peace across the region, in the homes of the deceased and between the kingdom and government.