Police have stopped the first coronation anniversary celebrations of Ivan Bwebale Rutakirwa, the Basongora cultural leader. The celebrations were slated for this Monday at Mabuku.
Rutakirwa was installed on July 1 last year as the Busongora Cultural leader. However this didn’t go down well with the Basongora, which led to clashes between the two ethnic groups. Bakonzo youths invaded Muhokya, the supposed seat of Busongora cultural leader, and took away the flag and royal drums among other items.
Rutakirwa’sfirst year coronation anniversary celebrations were called off last night after a meeting in Kasese town between Rutakirwa and Gen. Kale Kayihura, the Inspector General of Police. In a telephone interview, Jimmy Kagoro Muzoora, the first deputy prime minister and Public Relations Officer Busongora says that Rutakirwa met with Kayihura to request him for police protection at the celebrations.
According to Muzoora, Kayihura rejected the request saying the coronation celebrations can’t take place because they could escalate the current tensions between the Bamba and Bakonzo.
Tension has been high between the two ethnic groups since last week after Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere vowed to visit Bundibugyo district to celebrate the peace day celebrations. Mumbere was however blocked by the government for fear of violence between the Bamba and Bakonzo.
According to Kagoro, Rutakirwa had vowed to proceed without security, but Kayihura warned them against going ahead with the celebrations. He said that the Busongora cabinet later convened at the cultural leader’s palace at Muhokya and decided to call off the celebrations. He says that the celebrations will be held at another date after the situation in Kasese district has stabilized.
Since last week, there have been announcements on radio stations in Fort Portal urging the Basongora in Kabarole, Ntoroko and Kyejonjo districts to attend the celebrations.
The King of Tooro, Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru had also been invited for the celebrations. This morning hundreds of Basongora Community who were travelling to the venue of the celebrations were blocked at Hima town council and stopped from proceeding to the venue. Gerald Kagenda, the Basongora representative in Hima town council says that they weren’t aware that celebrations had been called off.
He says that they spent a lot of money to organize the event.