4 December 2018

Uganda: Mumbere Transferred to Kampala for Trial

Kampala — After two years appearing before the Chief Magistrate and the High Court in Jinja, Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere's trial has been transferred to the International Crimes Division of the High Court in Kampala.

The king and about 200 of his subjects are on trial on charges of terrorism, treason and murder, among others, following their arrest when the army raided his Buhikira Palace in Kasese on November 27, 2016. The raid was a culmination of spiralling violence in the Rwenzori mountain district that left more than 100 people including security officers dead.

Mumbere and his co-accused have been reporting to the registrar of the High Court in Jinja District every month as part of their bail conditions. He is charged with more than 200 others including his former acting prime minister, Mr Johnson Thembo Kitsumbire and six juveniles who were released on bail.

Yesterday, King Mumbere, Mr Kitsumbire and the six juveniles appeared before Ms Susan Kanyange, the deputy registrar for the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala who held brief for her International Crimes Division (ICD) colleague who was away.

Ms Kanyange extended their bail to January 8, 2019 when the case will come up.

Background

Mumbere's transfer to the ICD came early last month when the Jinja High Court declined to hear his application seeking revision of his stringent bail conditions.

Only the juveniles were allowed to return home after being released on bail in February 2017 whereas King Mumbere and Mr Kitsumbire's movements remained restricted to only Kampala, Wakiso and Jinja District.

"The king has just reported as required for his bail. However, we are yet to re-apply for revision of bail terms since we were told we filed in a wrong court on our first attempt in Jinja, " the kingdom's Attorney General, Mr Alfred Makasi told journalists.

Mr Makasi said the bail terms should be relaxed because for two years the king has been cooperative and has never absconded from reporting.

He welcomed the transfer of the case to ICD in Kampala, saying this has relieved the king of the long journey to Jinja which would delay him.

Accompanied by Queen Agnes Ithungu, the king arrived at the ICD in Kololo at mid-day three hours after the set time of 9am. His protocol said the police lead-car had arrived late past 11am.

Ms Kanyange warned police to always ensure the suspects are at court before the time because "court never waits".

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