March 2, 2024

Kasese paralyzed as freed Rwenzururu Royal Guards return home

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Business came to a standstill in Kasese town for the better part of Thursday as thousands of people thronged Booma Grounds in Kasese Municipality to welcome the freed Rwenzururu royal guards. The two UPDF buses transporting the royal guards led by Capt. Derrick Mwesige Ayebale entered the central business district around 8: 45am amid cheers and jubilations from the awaiting relatives, Rwenzururu Kingdom loyalists, and other town dwellers.

Boda boda riders cycled through the town as the cultural dancers lined up the road as the buses drove towards the RDC’s office. Some relatives and friends shed tears while others craved to hold hands as they spotted their relatives in the UPDF buses. It took close to an hour for the excited residents to be cleared to allow the buses to drive to Booma grounds where hundreds of others were waiting.

Here all manners of celebrations were showcased as others beat the minimal security present to hug their loved ones who had been led to the pavilion section. At 10: 00 am, Kasese Resident District Commissioner Lt. Joe Walusimbi recieved the 62 freed royal guards and in turn, delivered them to the joyous prime minister and relatives.

Saadi Bwambale who came from Maliba Sub County to welcome the group could not hide his excitement calling this day historical in the lives of the Kasese people. He argued that many had lost hope that one day their people would be free. He asked the group to now focus on working for their families.

Elder Kule Yosoni hailed President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, and the government for freeing their children and appealed to the kingdom loyalists to forgive anyone for whatever mistakes happened in 2016 and now focus on building peace.

Juma Masereaka from Kabatunda whose cousin is among the freed royal guards hailed the efforts of all leaders in trying to secure the freedom of their people. Saimon Kato from kitswamba Town Council asked the Rwenzurur Kingdom subjects to forgive each other and focus on helping the freed royal guards resettle in their families.

The Busongora North MP Sowedi Kitanywa said it’s now time to embark on the redevelopment of the cultural institution and improve the lives of the masses in Rwenzori.

His counterpart, Florence Kabugho, the district woman representative in parliament asked the local communities to be supportive of the group. She also appealed to the government to consider giving a special budget allocation to the freed persons so that they can start up income-generating activities.

The Kasese RDC Lt. Joe Walusimbi asked the freed persons not to be misled into rebellious acts but rather utilize their time to tap into government programs. He also asked the local community not to be misled by self-seekers who are claiming to have been behind the negotiations to have the Mumbere and his royal guards freed.

On Tuesday, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Jane Frances Abodo, withdrew all charges against Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere and dozens of his subjects. The group, consisting of 218 suspects, was arrested in 2016 and charged with murder, terrorism, treason, malicious damage to property, attempted murder, and aggravated robbery, following a security raid on Buhikira Royal Palace.

On Tuesday, during a court hearing to discuss the progress of trial preparations, Principal State Attorney, Lillian Omara informed the Court, led by Lady Justice Alice Komuhangi Khaukha, that the DPP had lost interest in the case and was withdrawing all the charges against the accused persons.



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