By Misairi Thembo Kahungu Ogga
In the afternoon of December 22, 2014 the Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere, The Irema-Ngoma, Thalumwanzoka stepped out of his official car and kissed the ground at Ntandi. This is at least where the boundary between Ntoroko and Bundibugyo Districts lies along the corner-snaked Fortportal-Bundibugyo road.
Received triumphantly, the Omusinga was returning to the land of is father’s umbilical cord for the first time after the ill fated tribal clashes of July 2012. Such was a great day because the Omusinga and the Omudhingya wa Bwamba Martin Kamya jointly attended prayers at Bumadu C.O.U to make the reconciliation between the two sons of the heroes of the Rwenzori.
The second time, me and other subjects would have seen the Omusinga go down on the knees to thank Kithasamba by kissing the ground was in July 2019 when Court granted him special permission to travel home to mourn his mother, the late Christine Biira Mukirania.
With all musical instruments assembled at Kasese airfield, the Omusinga was no show after security reportedly cancelled the trip via a military aircraft that was set at Kololo Airstrip.
The reason was that Ebola was at its peak and a case of a Congolese child dying of the deadly virus at Bwera Hospital emerged.
Other conspiracy theories indicated that there was fear that although set to be heavily guarded, it would not easy for the security to return the Omusinga to his house confinement in Muyenga, Kampala if he stepped foot at home. Remember he is charged with capital offenses of terrorism, treason and murder etc.
Over five years since his dehumanizing arrest, drums of a possible return are being hit. This time by people in government though fielding a lot of doubt among the subjects based on their past utterances against the most loved monarch.
This return if it materializes may emanate from Court either by relaxing travel restrictions impeded in the 2017 bail terms, or in favour of a much thought after nolle prosequi by the State.
Now as we begin to prepare for oiling our back clothes and drying up the drums ahead of the “December return”, a deadly owl’s voice seems to emerge from the darks of the night. Two men conversed on a telephone but one might have betrayed the other.
In the much circulated phone conversation, two men with one identifying the other as MATE, discuss a “disappearance” of a tour guide in the jungles of the Mt Rwenzori National Park.
These men allege that the group which went to the ranges with the lost guide is hatching subversive ideas (actually they called it a “rebellion”).
They go on to say the people who entered the national park on a mission to “identify cultural sites” are members of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and also are key figures in Rwenzururu Kingdom while the missing man was the only devoted member of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) on the team.
These two friends who in their telephone conversation discuss their efforts to engage top security organs, have had their ideas interpreted on two fronts. Some people think that since the FDC party is on the rebuild to retain its lion’s share of Kasese political space, there might be efforts to target the top actors and charge them with treason or related trumped up charges.
The other school of thought is that these people might be among a small invisible team that remains active with an intend of marking an end to the Rwenzururu Kingdom. Those voices that don’t want the Omusinga back home.
The subscribers of the second thought wonder whether these men are planning to create sense of insecurity to play into the minds of the powers above to cause another change of mind. Are we missing another chance of seeing the Omusinga kiss the ground recognition of a return back home soon?
When I told a friend that I am going to pen this article, he warned me to have my will ready because it may not get a good reception. However, I insisted that the article is just raising questions regarding the dark cloud hovering around the motherland, Kasese.
What I believe is that a day will come when the Omusinga will return home. I pray for life to see that day when we will dance, sing and make merry like it was on October 19, 2009 when a Mukonzo celebrated the recognition of one of the richest cultures in the southern hemisphere.
Long live The Irema-Ngoma, Long Live Rwenzururu Kingdom. Habwa Kayingo no’busiga bwethu.
The writer is a Journalist based in Kampala.