President Museveni to Blame for Crisis in Rwenzori [opinion]

During the making of the Uganda Constitution in 1994, Maj Gen Pecos Kuteesa proposed that Bahima be listed as a distinct community.

This matter didn’t go down well with President Yoweri Museveni. He immediately summoned Ankole Constituency Assembly delegates to Rwakitura and explained why Bahima should not be listed as a tribe. That is how Bahima and other ethnic or sub-ethnic groups ended up all being listed as Banyankore.

There are 65 tribes listed under the Third Schedule of the Constitution. In the case of Buganda, Banyala, Baruuli and Baganda were listed as separate communities (tribes). I had actually been made to believe that Banyankore were just one ethnic group until when I heard Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi threatening that they, “the Bahororo”, would cause trouble. I was later told that actually Bahororo are not Bakiga but Banyankore.

I also sometimes hear that our beloved president is a Musiita. I am labouring to make only one point, that Ankole is not one ethnic group but the president ordered that they should be. In fact within Ankole, there are monarchists and anti-monarchists. To understand the ethnic clashesconflicts in Rwenzori sub-region, one will have to ask themselves why President Museveni cancelled the coronation of late Prince Barigye as the king of Ankole.

You remember that military generals, including David Tinyefuza, had successfully facilitated the crowning of Barigye. One should also ask himself why the person who cancelled a coronation of a king in his tribal area has all of a sudden become the chief promoter of kings and in fact the guest of honour at many contentious coronations.

It is in understanding this that one will find the answer for the recent ‘murders’ in Kasese and Bundibugyo. Both Bamba and Bakonzo broke away from Tooro, to create the Rwenzururu kingdom. At the time they did this, they knew they were distinct ethnic groups but chose to be one more or less like Museveni’s Banyankore.

Charles Wesley Mumbere, to the best of my understanding, was crowned as Rwenzururu king and not king of Bakonzo. Again forgive me if I am wrong, but I think Mumbere has brought fewer dividends to the life presidency project, as Kasese continues to vote against it. In fact in the last elections, Kasese was ontop of the districts in western Uganda that popularly voted against life presidency.

When Mumbere, who I understand was born in Bundibugyo, was blocked from visiting it on June 30, 2013, to mark the day both Bamba and Bakonzo broke away from Toro, I was particularly not surprised. Mumbere has not repaid what ‘Mzee’ considers favours such as crowning him, buying him land and construction of a new palace. These things must be thanked by declaring the giver a “sole candidate.”

Mumbere, I think, didn’t pick lessons from the ‘Buganda crisis’ of 2009, commonly known as the Buganda riots. Because the Buganda institution refused to be drawn into the life presidency project, the granter and guarantor got annoyed. More so because the Buganda institution allowed opposition voices on its radio, CBS. It had to be punished.

And the punishment is standard – the king will be prevented from visiting part of his kingdom, his ministers will be arrested and some military men will be crowned kings within the same kingdom. That is exactly what happened to us here in Buganda. A one Capt Kimeze was promoted to major and crowned Sabanyala. In the case of Rwenzururu, Martin Kamya was promoted to Lt Col, even after retiring from the army, and crowned cultural leader of Obudhingya Bwa Bamba in May this year.

It is three clan leaders, call them ethnic groups Bamba, Babwisi and Bavanuma that installed this Omudhingya. If he doesn’t behave properly, you will hear that the Babwisi and Bavanuma are also in preparation to crown their own cultural leader. On June 30, Mumbere is blocked from visiting Bundibugyo. And I hope you all recall that circus when AIGP Grace Turyagumanawe slapped and kicked a policeman who fired live bullets when they were stopping the Omusinga.

Eleven months later, the head of state is guest of honour at a coronation ceremony to install a new cultural leader in Bundibugyo. And exactly one month later, the area is engulfed in tribal conflict, and it is bloodshed all over. A sensible leader wouldn’t take sides in a conflict so explosive and sentimental like this one.

And I find it childish that even schooled people are blaming intelligence. What could they have done? How come when they were on high alert, people rioted here in Kampala, and the rest of Buganda, when their Kabaka was blocked from touring his territory?

Of course the Museveni intelligence is more robust when it comes to detecting Col Besigye’s movements, but the boss should take full responsibility. Trouble is that this is the Uganda we are or our children are set to inherit, one that has been deliberately divided to serve the politics of the day. Rolling back these divisions of three decades won’t be a simple task.

The author is Kyadondo East MP.

Source : The Observer

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