Uganda: Museveni Asked to Resettle Victims of Kasese Floods

Kasese District leaders have urged President Museveni to intervene and resettle people who are currently living in internally displaced people's camps after being displaced by floods and mudslides last year.

The call was made by the district chairperson, Mr Eliphaz Muhindi Bukombi, on Saturday while the President was in the area for a ground breaking ceremony for the assembling plant for buses and trucks.

"Many people were displaced by floods and mudslides while other people were displaced by land conflicts in Kasese and we need these people to be resettled in other places," Mr Muhindi said.

In May last year, more than 10,000 people in Kasese were displaced after five major rivers, including Nyamwamba, Rwimi, Mubuku, and Nyamugasani, burst their banks, destroying a lot of property, including Kilembe hospital and schools.

In his response, the President pledged to look into the matter, asking the district leaders to talk to the affected people if they can accept to be resettled outside the district.

The area leaders also used the event to request the President to consider dropping criminal charges against their king, Charles Wesley Mumbere, who has been facing terrorism charges since late 2016.

Appeal to acquit Mumbere

"We thank you Mr President for having released more than 130 royal guards of Obusinga Bwa Rwenzuru on bail and also we request you to exonerate the Omusinga wa Rwenzuru and others," Mr Muhindi said.

In November 2016, a joint army and police operation, under the command of the current commander of the Land Forces, Lt Gen Peter Elwelu, raided Buhikira Royal Palace, arresting King Mumbere and close to 200 others, who included the royal guards.

The same operation saw more than 100 people, including civilians and royal guards, killed.

Justifying the raid, government explained that it was response to militant attacks on police posts in the region two weeks earlier, allegedly perpetrated by the royal guards.

King Mumbere was charged before Jinja Magistrate's Court in December 2016 together with 201 others but five of them have so far died in prison.

Whereas the king, his former acting prime minister, Mr Johnson Thembo Kitumbire, and six juveniles are out on bail, a number of his co-accused and loyalists remain in jail. Their trial is pending before the International Crimes Division of the High Court.

The Kasese District chaiperson also requested the President for support in the construction of the district headquarters, saying they have not had their permanent offices despite being founded in 1974.

During the commissioning exercise, Mr Museveni revealed that the vehicle assembling plant would employ 2,000 both skilled and semi-skilled personnel. He said the plant would assemble buses and pickups and they would be targeting local, national and international markets.

The assembling plant that is located in Kasese Industrial Park is owned by the investor of Metu Fabrication Industry. The fabrication exercise is expected to start in December this year.

By Alex Ashaba, Joel Kaguta

& Enid Ninsiima

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