The Bakonzo of Rwenzori can’t breathe


I thought these killings against the Bayira / Banandi will never reach Uganda.  Lest I was lying to myself.  Here we are faced with the dire realities.

Stop insulting the Yira community popularly known as the Bakonzo in Uganda.  They too are human who deserve proper human treatment.  In Congo they are called the Banande dominating the biggest part of Eastern Congo.

I am still in shock having witnessed the video of the Police and Military shootings.  How on earth does a purported trained security personnel end up killing a simple unarmed carpenter with bullets?  The mistrust and suspicion against the Bakonzo / Banandi in Uganda will not help anyone and most especially us.

Now, here comes Gen. Kiyihura.  His statements are so annoying and provoking that one has to wonder what agenda he has.  How could he insinuate that there is a militia group and connect the same to the Institution of the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu.  This is what I am calling mistrust and bias.

Here is how the events in the Rwenzori have been unfolding for the past two years.  Let me start with the popular July 5th 2014 attacks which paralised the entire sub region.  This was more or less similar to the Black Sunday events that happened way back in Polland.  The entire sub region was on fire due to seeming dead institutions.

The Police could not be left to do their work after crimes had been committed.  No one ever came up to offer the leadership that the moment required except pointing fingers.  In Bundibugyo specifically, after those attacks the military was empowered to descend onto all the Bakonzo youth, arrest and detain them.

The end result of this was a prolonged process of the General Court Marshal that sat for a several weeks at the expense of the the tax payers’ money with no progress but seemingly just wanting to show some might over certain individuals.

In the heat of the moment the same IGP came up with more or less similar statements wanting to implicate his majesty the Omusinga Charles Wisely Mumbere.  Actually those days Kiyihura camped in Kasese for just about two weeks over the same issue with heavy deployment in the entire sub region.

Ordinarily in sane countries with sane leaderships, no leaders would just let go of such a thing without digging into the root cause of it.  The Ugandan president instead said the Bakonzo smoke bangi when he visited Bundibugyo after those attacks.

Cries are all over and we are seeking for a deep analysis of the problem but no one is willing to listen.  Cheap arrogance and impunity dominate the current regime which has killed our institutions and consequently we are paying the price.

A good leader is one who listens to his people and acts responsibly.  Take a look at what happened this time around. On the 19th of this Month one person was shot in Nyakasanga during the tally process of the Parliamentary elections. He died and his names are Kule Muzamiru.  This was under the command of the RPC of this sub region called SSP Kagarura.

On the 10th of March two people were shot dead after protesting against a sham election of an LC3 Chairperson, and these were Kule Nyamingi and one other person yet to be identified in the mortuary.

On Friday the 11th of March the SSP Kagarura and Commissioner Jacob Opolot led an operation into Buhuhira Sub County where four people lost their lives on the spot.  These were Wayakwa James, Kasenya Nason, Musarire Jackson and Saleri Kake.  One other person who is still in critical condition at Kilembe Hospital that was shot was a one Gedion Kibende.

There is a reason you separate Military and Police.  One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves to protect the people.  When the Military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people.  This is very clearly stipulated in our grand norm. Fusion kills.

The most disheartening of all these are the utterances of the IGP.  It is always good to speak to the public after a thorough investigations.  It would not have done any harm if the IGP had calmed the public down and told them investigations were still underway rather than making emotional outbursts.

No Mukonzo wishes what happened to have happened.  We value life as a people.  We value functional systems and indeed we are law abiding citizens.  Emotional outbursts can never help in anyway. One will instead create more challenges when emotions override reason.

What the state is doing to handle the Rwenzori sub region matters is very unfortunate.  The world is watching and recording.  You cannot continue with speeches of hate and arrogance in somber moments while people are mourning. Humility is a virtue.  Borrow a leaf.

What the state must avoid at all cost is to make the Yiira community feel like an endangered community.  The Congo games should not be tried here in Uganda where the Bayiira / Banandi are perishing and no one cares; not even the international media.  No one has come out to condemn the killings in Eastern Congo against the Bakonzo / Banande. We assume it has not come to the worlds’ notice yet.

However, natural justice is a cardinal principle in our laws.  Natural Justice is what nature demands, what one would do in any likely event when a circumstance arises.  The Bakonzo must be heard.

We are peace loving people and we will continue to work for peace and Justice.  I call upon all the Yira Community not to do anything in return.  There can never be a one decided war.  Besides this is not the first time such things are happening.

We have overcome and we shall overcome.

What the President of the Republic of Uganda forgot is the fact that Kasese was the first district that he captured and helped him to penetrate into the rest of the country.  The same people that helped you are seemingly the same people that no longer understand you.  It’s no offence anyway.

My unsolicited advice is that the state must go back to the basics.  Ensure that you fully implement the Kajura Report recommendations.

We can’t breathe as of now and the world is watching.

Sunday Apolo

Lawyer and Political Analyst.

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