Mumbere pre trial halted

By Sania Babirye

The Road to freedom and justice for the Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere after the international crimes division of the high court halts his per-trial hearing halted indefinably.

The pre trial hearing was expected to commence in this last week of may at the LDC court auditorium in Makerere, however, the judiciary has announced that it has halted the pre trial hearing until further notice.

According to Solomon Muyita the Judiciary communication officer, both the Court and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions have some logistical challenges that require a bit of time to sort out.

It is also stated that , the trial judge, Michael Elubu, is still engaged in the Thomas Kwoyelo case which will resume early June and the case will return to the ICD on the 13th of June 2019 for further mention.

On the 9th of May this year,the Head of the International Crimes Division of the High Court, Justice Moses Mukiibi,allocated justice Michael Elubu to preside over the pre trial hearing of King Mumbere & 159 others.

Justice Mukiibi did also appointed a panel of three judges of the International crimes division of the high court led by Justice Duncan Gaswaga, Justice Eva Luswata and Justice Susan Okalany to preside over the main case.

This new development means that the case will again have to be given new dates for the pte trial which will allow the ICD court to confirm the charges to the accused who would later take plea by either denying the charges so that the file is forwarded to a panel of three justices for a full trial or accept them and be convicted on their own plea and sentenced.

In conferring the charges, the judge will also listen to all evidence against the accused to rule on whether they can sustain the alleged charges to warrant

On the 12th of December 2018, the Attorney General of the Kingdom Alfred Makasi while accompanying the Omusinga at the International Crimes Division of the high court in fulfillment of his bail terms revealed that the acquittal or conviction of the king and his subjects on charges of Terrorism and murder that stem from the 2016 Kasese killings will not reclaim the peace and glory of the Rwenzururu kingdom .

As a result he revealed that peace talks between government and the Omusinga are in advanced stages and soon they will yield positive results.

In February 2017, Jinja High court Judge Micheal Elubu granted bail to the the Omusinga after the king entered a memorandum of understanding with government to honour nine bail conditions.

Some of the conditions included Mumbere to have unlimited access to only his lawyers,close relatives and doctors but must brief his security detail to see any other visitors.

He also agreed to not travel to the districts of Kasese,Bundibugyo and Kabarole but only travel in the districts of Kampala, Jinja and Wakiso among others.

The king is also to report to CID headquarters in Kampala and before the Jinja magistrates court once every month until he shall be committed to the trial court.

This was Mumbere’s second time to be granted bail after he was first released on the 13th of January 2017 before he was immediately re-arrested on fresh charges of Treason,terrorism, murder and attempted murder.

Mumbere is jointly charged with 159 others for offenses allegedly committed between the months of July and November 2016 at Bukara Village, Kabonero subcounty, and at Nyabutsi village, Karangura sub county in Kabalore district and are waiting to be tried by the ICD court on charges of Murder, Terrorism , robbery and malicious damage to property allegedly committed in April 2016 at the Rwenzururu palace.

Prosecution states that the crimes were indiscriminately committed with out due regard to the safety of others or property, when the accused directly or indirectly involved themselves in the murder of police officers , Army men and members of the public.

However, the Omusinga has since applead to court to have his harsh bail conditions revised to allow him to travel to his kingdom.

In May 2018, King Wesley Mumbere applied again in the Jinja high court to have some of his bail conditions reversed to allow him to be able to freely move in any part of the country including his Rwenzuru kingdom.

While appearing in court together with some of his subjects co accused including his premere Thembo Kitsumbire and six children to fulfill one of their bail condition, Mumbere asked court to lift the travel ban in other parts of the country saying his life has been made heard as a result.

Through the Kingdom Lawyer Masika Alfred, Mumbere states that it is not fair that his movements are limited only to Kampala,Wakiso and Jinja districts, while he has been bared to travel in the districts of Kasese,Bundibugyo and Kabarole .

He also wanted court to allow him to be able to access all persons wishing to see him since only his close relative. doctors and lawyers are the only one allowed to have access to the Mumbere.
In the application, Mumbere’ s legal team also wanted his co accused including children to be able to report to courts in Rwenzururu were they stay saying it is too expensive to travel to jinja court every month for their legal battles.

In February 2017, Jinja High court Judge Micheal Elubu granted bail to the the Omusinga after the king entered a memorandum of understanding with government to honor nine bail conditions.

Some of the conditions included Mumbere to have unlimited access to only his lawyers,close relatives and doctors but must brief his security detail to see any other visitors.

He also agreed to not travel to the districts of Kasese,Bundibugyo and Kabarole but only travel in the districts of Kampala, Jinja and Wakiso among others.

The king is also to report to CID headquarters in Kampala and before the Jinja magistrates court once every month until he shall be committed to the trial court.

This was Mumbere’s second time to be granted bail after he was first released on the 13th of January 2017 before he was immediately re-arrested on fresh charges of Treason,terrorism, murder and attempted murder. However, this application is yet to be determined.