President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has called upon King Charles Wesley Mumbere Iremangoma of Rwenzururu Kingdom to collaborate with the government in combating the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) terrorists. During the 57th anniversary celebrations of King Mumbere’s ascension to the throne in Kasese, President Museveni stressed the importance of maintaining a positive relationship with the government to address issues such as poverty, diseases, unemployment, and criminal activities perpetrated by desperate ADF terrorists.
In a speech delivered by Vice President Jessica Alupo, President Museveni emphasized that the ADF camps in Eastern Congo have been eliminated by the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF). He expressed confidence that the ADF’s attempts to disrupt UPDF operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo by targeting soft targets in Uganda, including school children, traders, and foreigners, will mark the end of their existence. He encouraged the people of the Rwenzori region to support the security forces by remaining vigilant and identifying and isolating individuals with malicious intentions in their communities.
Kasese has recently experienced a series of attacks by the ADF, with the most recent incident occurring on October 17, resulting in the tragic killing of two foreign tourists and their driver in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
President Museveni acknowledged that the festivities demonstrated the central role the King and the Kingdom play in the social and cultural lives of the region’s inhabitants. He affirmed the NRM government’s support for the cultural norms, customs, and languages of the Bakonzo people and other communities in Uganda. President Museveni expressed satisfaction with the King’s return to his Kingdom to fulfill his royal and cultural duties.
The dual celebrations of the 57th coronation and the 14th Kingdom recognition anniversaries took place at Kilembe Mines Golf Club course in Kasese municipality and attracted a large crowd, including representatives from Obundingiya Bwa Bwamba (OBB), Koch cultural institution, and a delegation from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
In his address, King Mumbere expressed gratitude to the president for allowing him and his co-accused to return home after all charges against them were dropped. He called for a focus on peace and reconciliation as a way to reciprocate the president’s magnanimity.
The King highlighted the positive impact of President Museveni’s leadership on his family, Kasese, and the entire Rwenzori region. He pledged to concentrate on a five-pillar rebranding agenda, which includes reconciliation, peace-building, unity in diversity, mindset change, social-economic development, and cultural transformation. King Mumbere stressed the need to heal divisions that have plagued the region for too long and extend a hand of friendship to those who have been estranged.
King Mumbere and over 200 of his subjects were arrested on November 27, 2016, on charges of treason, but all charges were dropped on June 13, 2023, nearly seven years after their arrest.
Peace Mutuuzo, the minister for gender and cultural development, expressed concern about the rising cases of defilement in the Rwenzori region and called upon cultural institutions in the area to combat this issue. She also urged these institutions to work together and avoid politicizing their roles.
Godfrey Kabbyanga, the state minister for ICT and national guidance, identified two major challenges in the region: the ADF threat and the implementation of government programs, particularly the Parish Development Model (PDM), due to the large and highly populated administrative units.