President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has promised that his government will in the next financial year start the reconstruction of the palace of the Omusinga of Rwenzuru Charles Wesley Mumbere.
Speaking at State House Entebbe on Wednesday where he met with Mumbere, his wife Nyabaghole Agnes Ithungu Asimawe, and several kingdom officials perhaps for the first time following the deadly 2016 attacks on the kingdom by the army and other security agencies, Museveni said he was now happy that Mumbere had finally seen the light and started aligning himself to the vision of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) of transforming Uganda.
“I’m glad that the kingdom is now aligned with the NRM vision which has three historical missions which the Africans had failed to see,” Museveni said, mentioning prosperity, socio-economic transformation, and strategic security. He added that now that the Obusinga interests are aligned with those of the NRM, the construction works of the palace that was badly damaged are going to commence.
The President also promised to improve on the monthly allowances given to the kingdoms.“The reason why politicians refused to increase allowances for Kingdoms was that some of them made the mistake of taking sides in politics. And this is of course very dangerous,” Museveni said. He informed the Omusinga that the government restored Kingdoms to allow traditional leaders to mobilize and cause socio-economic transformation of the people through among others; universal education and ensuring that everybody joins the money economy.
“These institutions are good if they are handled well. When I met Kabaka Mutebi in London in 1981, I told him that I would support kingdoms if they focused on unity for prosperity and unity for strategic security. So, if your kingdoms can support that, then we shall support them. If they oppose it, we shall fight them,” Museveni stressed.
He further emphasized that his government cannot make any mistake of abandoning its historical mission.“I’m very glad to see that the Kingdom now has taken a new path and I congratulate you because we didn’t have to have an irreversible showdown because there’s no way we can abandon the principles of the NRM,” Museveni added.
The president called upon traditional leaders to emphasize the oneness of the kingdoms other than their differences because most of the people are interlinked.“When I am in many of these areas, I don’t need a translator, I can hear everything directly. And besides we have Swahili, which is a Bantu language, which unites not only East Africa but also in Congo, and it’s part of our heritage,” Museveni said.
For his part, Deputy Prime Minister of Obusinga bwa Rwenzururu, Edwin Kugonza informed the President that upon returning to Kasese on 4th October, the Omusinga launched a new chapter of the kingdom with new and refreshed objectives around peace, reconciliation, and socio-economic transformation of the people.
“The king has been moving around the whole kingdom and he is preaching nothing but peace, reconciliation, and economic transformation through government programs like the Parish Development Model (PDM), making sense of the money, which government is giving to our people and we hope this will be a game changer,” Kugonza said.
Following the 2016 clashes at the palace of the Omusinga more than 100 people many of whom were royal guards were killed and more than 200 others were also arrested and charged with treason, murder, attempted murder, and aggravated robbery among others. Also arrested and charged with them was Mumbere who until October this year was barred from entering the Kasese district, the seat of his Kingdom.
Charges against Mumbere were dropped in June after asking for amnesty from the government. The meeting was also attended by the Minister of State for ICT and National Guidance, Godfrey Kabbyanga Baluku, the Deputy Attorney General, Jackson Kafuuzi, and several Ministers from the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu.