Police Director of Operations Grace Turyagumanawe has camped in Bundibugyo district ahead of the visit of Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere. A similar visit in June last year ended in clashes between Bakonzo and Bamba leaving at least 400 people displaced.
Omusinga Mumbere is expected in Bundibugyo district over the weekend to celebrate the Peace day. The day is marked in honor of the Rwenzururu Movement which was declared in 1962 in Bundibugyo, when three representatives from Kasese and Bundibugyo districts walked out of Tooro Kingdom Parliament—Orukurato—to protest alleged oppression.
This year’s Peace Day will be in Ngamba Sub-county in Bughendera County, an area dominated by the Bakonzo.
Turyagumanawe arrived in Bundibugyo on Thursday evening and later held lengthy meetings with Bakonzo elders and members of the district security committee.
In a telephone interview, the District Police Commander, Denis Namuwoza said Turyagumanawe will oversee the security situation in the district to avoid a repeat of last year’s clashes between the Bamba and Bakonzo during Mumbere’s visit.
According to Namuwoza, security has been beefed up in all parts of the district by both police and the Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces (UPDF).
The head of the Bakonzo elders in Bundibugyo, Jeremiah Mutooro, told Uganda Radio Network that Mumbere is expected in Bundibugyo tomorrow and the celebrations will kick off on Sunday. Mutooro says there is no reason why the Omusinga shouldn’t be allowed to visit the district and meet his subjects.
Fulgensio Bamwitirebye, the chairperson Bundibugyo Elders Development Association (BEDA), who has been at the forefront protesting Mumbere‘s visit, told Uganda Radio Network that they are going to hold a meeting this afternoon over the issue. He insisted that Mumbere shouldn’t visit the district since the Bamba are in the final stages of installing their own cultural leader, Major Martin Kamya.
At the beginning of this month, Rwenzururu Kingdom authorities wrote to the Bundibugyo Resident District Commissioner, Pius Mujuzi, notifying him of plans by the Omusinga to hold the Peace Day celebrations in the district.
Last year Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere, a Mukonzo, was in Bundibugyo for peace day celebrations and he visited the shrine where he performed some rituals. This did not go well with the Bamba who accused him of disrespect and trying to impose Kikonzo culture on them. In the clashes that followed, at least 400 people were displaced.