Uganda, December 15, 2023
In a significant step towards rebuilding and reconciling, President Yoweri Museveni has made a commitment to construct a new palace for the Rwenzururu Kingdom, replacing the one destroyed during the military and police raid in November 2016. The promise was unveiled during a meeting at State House, Entebbe, where the President also pledged to acquire a hotel as an asset for the kingdom
Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere, accompanied by his wife, Nyabaghole Agnes Ithungu Asimawe, and several officials, engaged in talks with President Museveni on sustaining peace in the southwestern district of Kasese, known for its restive territory.
According to David Bradford Nguru, Omusinga Mumbere’s private secretary, the meeting was productive, with the President committing to various forms of support. This includes building a new palace for the kingdom in the upcoming financial year, providing three tractors, and a new fleet of vehicles.
Mr. Nguru disclosed that discussions also revolved around the potential acquisition of Springs International Hotel in Kasese. The kingdom had initially expressed interest in procuring the hotel and started a fundraiser to generate Shs4 billion. However, due to limited success, President Museveni has now pledged to purchase and renovate the hotel for the kingdom.
Moreover, the Omusinga appealed to the President to consider establishing a regional referral hospital in Kasese and developing Kasese Aerodrome into an international airport.
President Museveni, in a statement following the meeting, emphasized the commitment to avoid repeating conflicts that have plagued the region in the past. The President highlighted the importance of cultural heritage and its role in fostering unity among the people.
The news has been well-received in Kasese, where local leaders see it as a crucial step in rebuilding relations. John Monday Wakighoma, chairperson of Kitswamba Town Council, stated that the meeting was timely and paramount for renewing a good working relationship between King Mumbere and President Museveni.
Residents expressed optimism about a new chapter for the kingdom, believing that the promises made by President Museveni would contribute to regaining what was lost during the past seven years of conflict and imprisonment of Omusinga Mumbere.
The meeting between the President and King Mumbere follows the conclusion of a month-long tour by the king to various chiefdoms within his kingdom, where he advocated for peace, unity, development, and reconciliation. Since his release in February 2017, Omusinga Mumbere has been actively promoting the message of peace and reconciliation, emphasizing the need to concentrate on the region’s wealth rather than conflicts that have persisted for about 200 years.