KAMPALA – Justice Eva Luswata of the International Crimes Division of the High Court has on Friday 14 afternoon allowed the Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere to travel for the burial of his mother that is slated for next week on Wednesday.
This was after the Director of Public Prosecutions Mike Chibita informing the court that he is okay with relaxing the bail terms imposed on King Mumbere to allow him to return to Kasese district to mourn, perform cultural rights and bury his mother; Christine Biira Mukirania.
In her ruling Justice Luswata noted that although her order that specifically prohibited the King from traveling to the districts of Kasese, Kabarole and Bundibugyo, it appeared quite stringent it was about what was transpiring in the districts at that time.
She also noted that although the King’s lawyers did not present a death certificate in court, it has been widely in the press and no contrary reputation that she is alive has been made.
“The applicant’s (Mumbere) attendance is important not only to him as the son of the deceased but also as a king of the Rwenzururu kingdom. I accordingly allow the application to let the king attend his mother’s burial,” Justice Luswata ruled.
The court granted the application with orders that the king should only travel to districts of Kasese, Kabarole and Bundibugyo for the burial of his mother for only 14 days, prohibited from engaging in meetings or consultation and that all his bail terms will take effect at the end of the 14 days.
In his application that was present in court by his lawyer Mr. Caleb Alaka, the Omusinga argues that the current bail terms imposed on him by Jinja High Court in 2017, don’t permit him to travel to Kasese District to bury his mother since the bail conditions restrict his movements to only three districts of Kampala, Wakiso and Jinja.
Mr. Alaka told the court that, Mumbere, who is the firstborn of the queen mother, was restricted by the same Jinja High Court in 2017, from setting foot into his kingdom and particularly in the districts of Kasese, Kabarole and Bundibugyo.
“Being the first born of the queen mother, there are some cultural rites, rituals and traditions that he is mandated to perform for seven days, We pray for only 14 days to allow him to attend burial then he returns back,” Mr. Alaka said.
Adding: “The bail conditions which restricted the applicant’s movements within Kampala, Wakiso and Jinja only prohibited him from travelling to or in any manner accessing the districts of Kasese, Kabarole and Bundibugyo during the pendency of his trial should be temporarily varied/waved to enable him the liberty to attend the burial of his deceased queen mother slated to take place on Wednesday 19 June, 2019.”
The state attorney from the DPP’s office, Ms. Rachel Bikhole told the court the days will begin running from 15 June to 29 June, however, upon the lapse of the date the king should report back to court on 1 July and the bail conditions continue as usual.
She also asked court the King’s activists should be strictly on mourning his mother and not any other unrelated activities like illegal assembly that will incite violence is partly what he is charged with.
The king and his royal guards were arrested during a joint military raid on his palace in 2016 by the police and the army. He has since his release on bail in January 2017, been staying at his government rented Muyenga home under the tight watch of the military.
He is battling several charges of terrorism, murder and aggravated robbery among others that were slapped against him and over 200 royal guards in 2016.