BY Sania Babirye
The Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere has been given liberty to to travel to Kasese to bury his late Queen mother.
This is after international crimes division of the high court Judge Eve Luswata allowed his application to review some of the conditions that were given to him while being granted bail in 2016.
Some of these conditions were for the Omusinga to not travel to the districts of Kasese, Bundibugyo and Kabarole while his movements were restricted to only three districts of Kampala, Wakiso and Jinja.
However, following the death of his mother last Tuesday, the Omusinga through his Lawyer Caleb Alaka petitioned the high court to allow him to travel to bury his late mother.
And today, Justice Luswata gave him two weeks to go and bury his late mother after state did not contest the bail application but with strict conditions.
Justice Luswata has ordered that the Omusinga only engages in activities that are only related to the burial of the Queen mother and that he does not travel beyond the districts of Kasese, Bundibugyo and Kabarole.
She ruled that it was out of respect to the Imusunga’s constitutional right to liberty and a healthy family life and practice of customs allow the Omusinga to go and pay his last respect to his late Queen mother and also out of custom practice.
Earlier on justice Luswata asked Mumbere to present the death certificate to prove that the Queen mother is really dead from Kilombe mines hospital were she was admitted .
Justice Luswata further ruled that it was the constitutional right to the Omusinga to bury his mother so that he pays his last respect.
She however restricted his stay in the three districts to a period of only 14days as state had asked.
The Queen mother Christine Birra Mukirania will be buried next Tuesday the 18th of June.
Meanwhile,the Omusinga has directed that the late Queen Mother Christine Biira Mukirania be buried in Kasese district.
The announcement comes after a confusion broke out on where and when should the Queen Mother be buried.
Yesterday Kingdoms spokesperson Yona Tumusine revealed that the late Queen mother was to be buried on Sunday at Kilembo Village in Kisinga Sub county Kasese district.
However, this was contested by the Omusinga’s brother and also state minister prince Christopher Kibazanga.
Kibazanga held a press conference and announced that he had taken over his late Queen Mother’s burial and further announced that she was to be buried in Bundibugyo together with her ancestors.
But elders in the Kingdom disagreed with Kibazanga saying the late queen mother should be buried in Kasese which is the headquarters of the Kingdom.
The elders argued that the Queen mother has a big status in the Rwenzururu Kingdom since she is the first queen mother to have died since 1962 when the Kingdom ship started.
They further stated that, the late Queen mother should be honored and buried decently in Kasese district which is the Kingdom’s headquarters.
And as a result, the Omusinga was in agreement with the Kingdoms elders and ordered that the late Queen mother be buried on the 18th of june instead of the 16th of June.
Mumbere is battling charges of terrorism and murder that stem from the 2016 Kasese killings together with 159 of his subjects including women and children.
The killings stems from an incident in which security operative raided his Buhikira royal palace on the on the 26th of November 2016 leaving over 100 people dead.
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.
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 sub county, 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 appealed to court to have his harsh bail conditions revised to allow him to travel to his kingdom.
In May 2018, King Wesely 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 premier 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 relatives, 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.
At the end of last month, the international crimes division of the high court halted his pre-trial hearing idefinately.
The pre trial hearing was expected to commence in this last week of may at the LDC court auditorium in Makerere, however, the judiciary announced that it had 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 was also stated that , the trial judge, Michael Elubu, is still engaged in the Thomas Kwoyelo case which will resume early June.
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 pre 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 confirming 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 .
And as a result he revealed that peace talks between government and the Omusinga are in advanced stages and soon they will yield positive results.