The Bakonzo Kingship claimant, Robert Bwambale Tibamwenda, has quietly returned to Kasese after close to two years away from home.
Tibamwenda who refers to himself as “Omwami Wa Bakonzo,” which literally means Lord of the Bakonzo, returned to Kasese on Wednesday night.
He was last seen in Kasese in April 2017 when he laid ground for his palace in Nsenyi cell of Kisinga Sub County. At that time, a group of youth torched his cultural house that he had erected. He then fled the area.
Bwambale says that he has not relented from his throne and has already laid plans to meet all key stakeholders to not only expedite his recognition but also bring peace in the Rwenzori region.
Tibamwenda asserted that the region and Kasese, in particular, has long suffered political instabilities and tribal conflicts which need to be permanently addressed.
He revealed that he will engage Mumbere, the entire royal family and the Rwenzururu kingdom administration on how best peace can be attained in the region.
Tibamwenda, who does not approve of Mumbere as King and cultural leader of the Bakonzo, said he has been taking a back seat for a long time, but it was now time he demonstrated leadership by engaging all people in the Rwenzori towards peace and development.
He says Mumbere will be engaged as the leader of the outgoing Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu which has been masquerading as the cultural institution of the Bakonzo people. He adds that Mumbere ought to admit that he misled the Bakonzo into subversive activities.
203 people including Mumbere and his Prime Minister John Thembo Kitsumbire are facing a series of charges including murder, arson, treason and terrorism among others in the International Crimes Division of High Court following their arrest in November 2016 when the army and police raided Mumbere’s Buhikira palace in Kasese town leading to death of more than 100 people.
Tibamwenda says that about 4,000 people are languishing and living in abject poverty either because the family heads are in custody or on the run in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
As pro-peace leader, he said that he would write to the King of Toro to iron out any differences that could have remained as a result of the Rukurato walkout in 1962.
However, the chairperson of the Prime Ministerial Commission of the Rwenzururu Kingdom Gadi Mbayahi maintains that they are not fighting for space with any person.
Mbayahi argues that the institution was formed and survives because of the will of the people and cannot, therefore, be bothered by the activities of an individual.
“We are not here to fight anybody. We exist by the will of the people. If he Robert wants to be King let him engage government. But one thing which doesn’t make sense surely is where he was all along when Mumbere was recognized and gazette king.” He said.
He also advised Tibamwenda to wait until Mumbere is set free if he wants to meet him.
Tibamwenda is a grandson to Paul Tibamwenda, one of the three Bakonzo political activists who were executed and buried in a single grave in 1921.
He claims to have been crowned prince by the elders of his clan on December 18, 1998, in Kaghando Village, where his grandfather was buried.
Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere was, at the time, still living in exile in the United States where he went after renouncing rebellion and signing a peace accord with government in 1982.
In 2014, after the July 5 simultaneous conflicts in Kasese, Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts, Tibamwenda dared Mumbere to hold a sacrifice at Mountain Rwenzori to prove his Kingship. It is believed that the god of the mountain – Kithasamba – is seated on Margherita, the tallest peak on the Rwenzori. His claims were swept under carpet only to be rejuvenated in 2017 after Mumbere had been arrested.