18 May 2017

Uganda: Police On the Spot for Recruiting Former Rwenzururu Royal Guards

Photo: Moris Mumbere/Daily Monitor
On duty. Some of the Rwenzururu Kingdom royal guards at one on the shrines at the kingdom palace in Kasese District before the attacks (file photo).

Parliament — "Between the devil and the deep blue sea," so goes an old proverb, referring to someone caught between unending troubles.

The Uganda Police Force is yet again on spot for "illegally recruiting" former royal guards of the Rwenzururu King, Charles Wesley Mumbere.

Busongora South Member of Parliament, Mr Jackson Mbaju told the house on Tuesday, that police was involved in recruiting former royal guards, who willingly surrendered to government, after the 2016 clashes.

Mbaju claimed that the royal guards are whisked away from their homes at night and taken to a local police station, and later to the Police training school in Masindi.

"The DPCs and the RDCs did not know, it was after we engaged them, that they consulted with Kabalye. They discovered that so far 45 former royal guards have been recruited without their notice," he said.

According to police zoning, Kasese is a region (Rwenzori East) with a regional police commander; however, the lawyer said the structures were bypassed.

Mbaju, who accused police of blackmail, also said that in 2012, police trained 85 royal guards whom they later disowned.

"These same people that were trained by police were referred to as a militia, later when things went wrong. We are wondering whether these people who are going at night may not end up as a militia," said Mbaju.

Last week, Mr Mbaju said, a police vehicle [a bus] went to Kasese twice at night and collected people and took them to Masindi.

The royal guards in question are those that surrendered to government in the wake of the 2016 clashes.

In more less a similar tone, Mr William Nzoghu (FDC Busongora North) said that there have been syndicated developments in the district "that cause insecurity and unwarranted clashes."

These syndicates, Mr Nzoghu said, "have fueled tension and people have lost hope of receiving justice."

The lawmaker said that just like in the 2014 clashes, people who surrendered to government and confessed having bred the killings have not been prosecuted.

"These people who surrendered themselves to State House were not arrested and State House instead gave them money and vehicles. People are wondering why rehabilitates the perpetrators of violence, instead of dealing with the problem," said Nzoghu.

Mr Nzoghu alleged that all those who recently confessed before President Museveni have been given brand new double cabin pickup trucks.

By press time, all efforts to get comments from police and the ministry of internal affairs remained futile.

Meanwhile, the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga referred the matter to the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs, "to take up this matter and report to the House."

"We are also going to ask the minister to explain what is happening to the people who confessed and those who are free, and also why some people are being taken at night to Kabalye." She said.

The same committee was however stopped by president Museveni early this year, from investigating matters concerning the 2016 clashes in Kasese.

The clashes saw to the arrest and detention of the Rwenzururu King, Charles Wesley Mumbere who was later charged with several counts of murder, robbery and treason.

Over 100 perceived to be royal guards were also arrested and are facing similar charges.

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