2017-11-21 17:24:19 UTC
Kasese Massacre where around two hundred civilians, men, women and children
were shot and killed in a merciless bloodbath. One year later, what is the
fate of the survivors as we recall the images of death, destruction and
unforgettable horror from that dreadful day?
Here is the statement I issued that very night upon receiving news of the
STATEMENT ON RWENZORI MASSACRE
Yesterday the brightness of Uganda's future suddenly went dim. Another sad
legacy in our history.
We still have assaults on traditional leaders palaces with the graphic
pictures of mass shootings resulting in dozens of naked bodies, both men
and women, piled together.
Isn't this Oboteism reloaded?
It is sad to note that many of the dead have their hands tied behind their
backs. Suggesting that they were shot at point blank while already under
As we approach 2017, we cannot still be on the Obote II path where the
Uganda army still points the gun at its own population and fellow
countrymen, threatens citizens, shoots at civilians and kills poor Ugandans
as it did yesterday.
The people are sovereign.
Sunday 27th November 2016 will now be remembered as another shocking day in
the history of Uganda.
Memories of a similar turning point disaster at the Lubiri on 24th March
1966 are flooding the nations conscience as we speak. We all know how that
unfortunate crisis started off the chain of wars and rebellions that litter
our recent history since independence in 1962.
There is no way that the horrific massacre that occured Sunday morning can
Everything humanly possible should have been done to avoid such a
confrontation, including just waiting.
Utmost restraint must have been exercised. Especially given the lessons
Even if a stand-off seige took days, or months, it would have been
An inclusive and comprehensive dialogue should prevail rather than any
personal emotions that could have led to the massacre.
Restraint is one of the hardships of leadership. But it is also its best
tool. Especially for the side that is said to entrusted with protecting
lives and property of all citizens.
Political matters can only be resolved politically. Therefore a new, more
transparent alternative dialogue process has to take on the Rwenzori crisis.
In 1971 it is President Idi Amin who after meeting a delegation of Bamba
and Bakonzo elders, immediately created the mordern Rwenzururu as it is
known today. Remember that all Kingdons had been abolished in 1966.
On 5th May, 1971 he announced that it would encompass the Rwenzori and
Semiliki Districts. And in 1972, the Banyarwenzururu King Omusinga Charles
Wesley Mumbere Irema-Ngoma who had reached adult age, took responsibility
over the Kingdom and appointed Hon. Yolamu Mulima as his Prime Minister.
The BanyaRwenzururu lived peacefully and without any single incident under
Field Marshal Idi Amin.
But when Obote returned to Uganda in 1980, that situation changed. The
BanyaRwenzururu basically had to seek recognition of their Kingdom afresh.
Obote being cunning and with his known dislike for local Kingdoms,
appointed Charles Mumbere as Chief elder instead of King, and then sent him
on a scholarship to the United States.
It is the NRM that unceremoniously cancelled that scholarship in 1986 and
the Rwenzururu King had to return to Uganda.
While President Idi Amin had immediately let the Rwenzururu people quietly
be, and clearly established their Kingdom boundaries as it exists to this
day, the subsequent regimes flipflopped on the issue.
In fact history shows that from April 1979 when Amin left Uganda, until
19th October 2009 when the Kingdom waa finally recognized, the Rwenzururu
people spent 30 entire years being deliberately led on, and then let down,
repeatedly, by the so-called "liberators" as they sought official
recognition for the Rwenzururu Kingdom and their King Omusinga Charles
Wesley Mumbere Irema-Ngoma.
I suggest it is time for the people of Uganda to see what exactly is being
fought over in Rwenzori. Where is the list of issues? What exactly do they
want? If there is more than meets the eye to this matter, it could have
something to do with the once rampant accusation that the King Charles
Mumbere and his people were part of the rebel ADF group. Something that the
Kingdom and their King have persistently denied.
However it is only their King, or his officially known representatives, who
should be upfront, and present their matters publicly, and in writing, to
the people of Uganda.
Why haven"t they been officially invited to the floor of parliament (or the
appropriate committee) to bring this national security matter in its
entirety to the nation.
I recall reading the Acholi MP's caucus' numerous presentations in
Parliament to Ugandans during the LRA insurgency. They were also active
during the 2006 Peace talks in Juba, South Sudan. So while there were
surely lots of behind-the-scenes activities, they somehow reported back to
the Ugandan people.
Everyone knows that the Rwenzururu kingdom had arms and fighters in the
Rwenzori Mountains. Most were initially picked from military facilities
abandoned by Uganda Army during the 1979 war. Though those were later
cordially surrendered to Obote in the 80's, the violence that has continued
to this day points to some level of armed organization. It must be
remembered that it is the NRA that would give the Bakonzo youths weapons
and ammunition in 1999 allegedly to fight the ADF rebel group in the
Rwenzori mountains, something that they reportedly achieved successfully.
But today, to the leaders in the Rwenzori region I say you have all tried
the back deals with handshake photographs. Obviously the agreements and the
smiles you made were not genuine. Because clearly you have all failed peace
The subregions leaders, the MP's, RDC's, traditional chiefs and Local
Councillors, were all given a chance. All have clearly defeated their
purposes in this pacification process because of self-centered attitudes.
In fact I am told that since the last Rwenzori violence around April this
year, the process was overtaken by unscrupulous opportunism, greed, and
What you and me know for sure, is that while you the politicians might play
your secret games, you cannot surpass the firmness and resolve on the
ground. The people of Rwenzururu are historically steadfast in their
culture and related decisions. They are ready to persist to the death. That
is on record since colonial times. Even Field Marshal Idi Amin new this
As fellow Ugandans we are brothers and sisters with the Rwenzori people. We
live together everywhere in this country from North to South, East, West or
Many intermarriages have occured leading us to live as husbands and wives,
uncles and aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces.
We work together peacefully in the army, police, civil service and the
private sector. Even abroad we live together as Ugandans.
We are therefore together on every issue that affects us all.
So how else do you intend to resolve the violence and any political
grievances besides making your case to all Ugandans at a national level?
Isn't it also the only way to see that the people of this country have
their say on any important matters that concern the peace and unity of this
We therefore now need to take on the Rwenzori afresh. There is no other
alternative. Put it swuarely on the National table. To the Ugandan people
and all their representatives.
They need to see substantive documents, official memorandums or petitions,
from the Rwenzori people, duely signed, and containing all your grievances.
The rumour mongering and incitement about any other matters should then
The political representatives can then debate one by one the issues
presented on paper, and see their merits, including from a legal
standpoint, and also basing on the provisions of the constitution.
They need to do it soberly and extensively before making any comprehensive
Civil society and other impartial parties need to be involved. The media
and its coverage needs to tackle the fundamentals rather than the
And most importantly, all parties must abide by any final outcome.
An official public inquiry on yesterdays violence, one that results in an
extensive public report, is also called for today.
The gruesome pictures that are currently making their way globally will
remain as one more unenviable episode in the history of Uganda.
Last April when one of the area MP's, a senior woman representative from
the opposition, said the Rwenzururu violence was reminiscent of the
so-called "Amin days", I responded with a public letter where I wondered
how of all people, someone from Kasese could be so dishonest.
The only time in the almost 300 year history of the Rwenzururu people where
they lived peacefully without any aggression from their violent and
oppressive neighbours, and without any problems with the central
government, was under Field Marshal Idi Amin.
But getting back to present events, justice ultimately has to prevail.
This country, for the sake of avoiding ethnic and political violence, and
for the sake of building good governance for our common future, wouldn't it
need to see this matter being adressed comprehensively from the public
angle, the politics and also in courts of law?
If the Rwenzori Kingdom has been aggrieved, I would like to see them file
charges or at least some complaints.
As Ugandans we all have a stake in all the issues that are seriously
affecting this country.
And as we try to grasp what might have happened Sunday.morning, and as we
also try to unsee the naked dead bodies of young men and women with
horrific injuries, some completely defaced by shots from armoured vehicles
heavy gunfire directly to their heads, others clearly with burns and
horrible shrapnel injuries from military grade explosives, bodies that were
then gathered and strewn right in front of the palace gates under the
scortching sun, the pictures of women stripped naked by the army and made
to stand in a line before being taken to an unknown destination with the
consequences that we can imagine, especially that the world just started
this years 16 days of activism against Gender based violence, it is
ultherefore upon each Ugandan plus the partners and friends of our beloved
country, to use this moment of shock, sadness, and grief, to reflect on a
just, transparent, inclusive, and conclusive way forward.
Because regardless of what side one is on, and regardless of who is in the
right or wrong, what we witnessed this Sunday 27/11/2016 should never have
Signed: Hussein Lumumba Amin