National Resistance Movement-NRM party leaders and supporters in Kasese District have used the 36th NRA/NRM
liberation day celebrations to call for the freedom of
the Rwenzururu Cultural leader, Charles Wesley Mumbere.
They argue that NRM can only consolidate its current political
gains in Kasese district by freeing their cultural
leader and royal guards. This came up during a thanksgiving service held by the party
leaders in Kidodo Cell of Kasese Municipality for the achievements the party has made since
the 2021 general elections.
The party also received 91 defectors from the opposition Forum for
Democratic Change-FDC Party just a month after more than 200 members from various opposition parties joined the ruling party. Mumbere and his royal guards were arrested during
a joint police and military
raid on his palace in 2016.
They were arraigned in the high court on a string
of charges including murder, attempted murder, aggravated robbery, terrorism, and
treason, and remanded to various prisons. Despite security bail in 2017, the high court
confined Mumbere to Kampala and Wakiso districts.
As a result, the
cultural leader is stuck in his home in Muyenga Kampala.
Kasese Municipality MP says there is unequivocal
demand from the Kingdom subjects for the government to pardon Mumbere and his co-accused. He
says NRM as a party, has made strong strides in the last year, but this can be
watered down by opposing forces if Mumbere is not released.
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Johnson Kamara Kalyasa, the Acting Kasese District NRM party chairperson who also doubles as the publicity
secretary, says that as party leaders they agreed that it's high time
to negotiate with the head of state to pave for Omusinga’s return.
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Bashir Bwambale, a former FDC member believes the
continued restrictions on
Mumbere and detention of royal guards remain the only sealable issue for the opposition in the district to maintain its
He says by the president practicing an act of
forgiveness and extending an olive branch to all the royal guards, will
psychologically attract love from the royal subjects.
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The Busongora North MP, Sowedi Kitanywa said as long as the government
remains silent on
their demands to have Mumbere freed,
his subjects will remain unhappy.
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Jafari Kighutiya, a member of FDC thinks there is
nothing people of Kasese should be jubilating about when their cultural leader
has spent more than five years without stepping into his Kingdom. He
also demands that the court should relax the stringent bail conditions imposed on
Hajjati Faridah Kaganda, the chairperson Kasese
District NRM women’s league,
says that people in the district
have started to appreciate the contribution of the party but the issues of the
cultural institution remain very salient and need consideration.
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In the lead-up to the 2021 elections, the high court released 132 royal guards. The
party went on to win three parliamentary seats from the six constituencies
initially dominated by FDC, the LCV seat, and the majority of lower local government seats.
NRM members want the court to give bail to the
remaining 78 royals guards who are still in incarceration.