A poison scare has this morning forced the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) to switch off water in Kasese Municipality. Kasese District Police Commander Michael Musani Sabila says unknown people told locals that the water had been poisoned by â€˜enemiesâ€™ of the Bakonzo and Rwenzururu Kingdom. NWSC area Manager for Kasese, Stanley Kamugisa, says samples of the water have been taken to NWSC laboratory in Kasese town for testing, which will last for three hours.
The NWSC staff disconnected the water at 6:30am, after unknown people reportedly moved around the municipality telling people not to use what they called poison-laced water.
In a telephone interview, the NWSC area Manager for Kasese, Stanley Kamugisa, said samples of the water have been taken to NWSC laboratory in Kasese town for testing, which will last for three hours.
Michael Musani Sabila, the Kasese District Police Commander, told Uganda Radio Network that they received information from residents of Kidondo Suburb that unknown people were moving around the suburb telling the residents that water had been poisoned by ‘enemies’ of the Bakonzo community.
Sabila says that they didn’t want to take chances and requested NWSC to disconnect and test the water.
Before the water was disconnected, staff of NWSC went to all radio stations in Kasese municipality urging the residents not to use the water. The water was then disconnected.
The poison scare comes at a time heightened ethnic tensions between the Bakonzo and Bamba, after Rwenzururu King, Charles Wesley Mumbere, was blocked from traveling to Bundibugyo for the kingdom’s annual peace event.
On Saturday, the Inspector General of Police, General Kale Kayihura announced that government had stopped Mumbere from travelling to Bundibugyo, where the Bamba had accused him of trying to impose himself on them. Mumbere, a Mukonzo, accused government of using the police to promote the interests of the Bamba and Basongora, who oppose his kingdom.
In June last year, a similar visit resulted into ethnic clashes leaving at least 400 people displaced. A few days later, the Basongora installed their own cultural leader, Ivan Bwebale Rutakirwa, saying that they do not belong to the Rwenzururu Kingdom. Rutakirwa was set to celebrate his first coronation anniversary this week but the function was blocked by the police.
The Bamba are also in the process of installing Major Martin Kamya, a Ugandan army serving officer, as their cultural leader. Kamya, who has been attached to 3rd infantry Division of the UPDF, was early this year allowed to retire in order for him to be installed as Bamba cultural leader.