27 May 2017

Uganda: I Am Still a Prisoner, Says King Mumbere

Photo: Daily Monitor
The Rwenzururu King, Charles Wesley Mumbere consults his lawyers in court recently.

Jinja — The Rwenzururu King, Charles Wesley Mumbere, has said he is currently under house arrest despite having been released on bail by Jinja High Court.

Addressing his subjects on Thursday at Jinja Magistrate's Court, Mumbere said his restricted movement and the security deployment around his home makes him a prisoner though he is physically out of prison.

The king alongside his 180 royal guards were arrested in November last year after the police and military raided his palace in Kasese District looking for people they suspected to have taken refuge after spearheading violence in the Rwenzori sub-region where more than 100 people, including security officials were killed in the bloodbath.

Following the bloody clashes, the State has since slapped several charges ranging from treason and terrorism, to murder and aggravated robbery against the king and his co-accused subjects.

On February 6 when King Mumbere was granted bail, the State set him tough conditions, including not setting foot in Rwenzori sub-region. He was restricted to move in only three districts of Kampala, Wakiso and Jinja.

Mr Mumbere told the press yesterday that he was disappointed by the State for delaying to conclude investigations into his case.

Since his arrest on November 27, he has never returned to his kingdom in the Rwenzori sub-region as part of the bail conditions.

King Mumbere is also disappointed by the State delay to conclude investigations into his case.

"It is unfortunate that the investigations are taking long. I am very disappointed by the State. My case will go down into the books of history as being the first king since independence to be tried with such a big number of suspects. I was given bail but the restrictions around my home make it another prison," King Mumbere told the media in Jinja.

The Omusinga (king) said this after High Court judge John Francis Kaggwa further adjourned his case to June 16 after State prosecutor James Muliro submitted that investigations into the case were not yet complete.

Early this month, Muliro told court that police had completed investigations into the second case file in which 181 suspects, including Mumbere are being charged over last year's clashes in Kasese. He had said the prosecution was drafting the documents to commit Mumbere and his co-accused to the International Crimes Division of the High Court for trial at the next criminal session which was scheduled to start yesterday.

Mr Samuel Muyizzi, one of Mumbere's lawyers, said they had started discussions with the State to have the trial of the suspects transferred to a more convenient place to ease access between the suspects and the lawyers.

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