NRA Bush war veteran and the National Coordinator of the Operation Wealth Creation, Gen Salim Saleh (born Caleb Akandwanahoha), has assured Rwenzururu Kingdom leaders that their king Charles Wesley Mumbere would soon be allowed to return to Kasese.
The king has not stepped a foot in any part of his kingdom since November 2016.
A local newspaper writes that Gen Saleh, who has camped in the Rwenzori Sub-region for nearly three months now, met the Rwenzururu Kingdom’s Privy Council at Margarita Hotel in Kasese before Christmas.
The Privy Council is a team of the king’s confidants who discuss top agendas of the kingdom that do not necessarily need to pass through the House of Representatives.
The court restricted King Mumbere’s movements to Kampala, Wakiso and Jinja districts as part of his stringent bail terms handed to him in February 2017 when he was released from Luzira prison. He and about 200 others are facing several counts of terrorism, treason, murder and being in possession of illegal fire arms, among others.
The Omusinga was arrested on November 26, 2016 when the army raided his Buhikira Royal Palace to “smoke out” some of the royal guards that were allegedly involved in subversive activities.
More than 100 people, including police officers perished in the Kasese attack.
Sources in the meeting told the reporters that Gen Saleh who is President Museveni’s young brother, addressed the kingdom’s Privy Council in the presence of Chief Prince Christopher Kibanzanga who is also the State minister for Agriculture, and Mr Gad Mbayahi, the chairman of the Prime Ministerial Commission (PMC), a body that oversees the cultural institution affairs in the absence of the king.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, sources who attended this high-profile meeting told this website that Gen Saleh had called them to discuss issues related to business and wealth creation.
It is at this meeting that Mr Mbayahi asked him what the government is doing in regard to the continuous restriction of King Mumbere from visiting his kingdom.
“He (Gen Saleh) told us that the government is looking into the matter. He said that what is needed is for us to cooperate with the government and everything will be ‘resolved’ early next year,” the source said.
Gen Saleh, according to sources, also encouraged the kingdom leadership to explore avenues of venturing into business so as to help the cultural institution fight poverty.
Gen Saleh also stated that government wants to put in place job creation ventures so that by the time the king returns, most of the youth will be engaged and able to sustain themselves.
Among job creation opportunities is the expediting of sourcing for an investor to take over copper mines at Kilembe which he reportedly said will be done by June next year.
Government last year cancelled the-25-year mining concession for Hima-Tibet, a Chinese consortium after it failed to meet some of the key components of the agreement.
Mr Mbayahi confirmed the meeting with Gen Saleh in an interview with this newspaper but declined to divulge more about what was discussed.
“Yes we met Gen Saleh and the discussions centered around many things which still remain a secret because the meeting was closed to the media,” he said.
Asked about reports that Gen Saleh promised that King Mumbere would return early next year, Mr Mbayahi replied: “He gave us an assurance and we would like even to see him (Mumbere) even today, but we will give government a benefit of doubt.”
Gen Saleh, sources said, told the meeting that he has personally started working on some of the recommendations of the report from the dialogue between government and the cultural institution.
The report of the mediation chaired by Dr Ambrose Agona, the director general of the National Agricultural Research Organisation, remains scanty as both sides claim there were still some issues to be finalised before it is made public.
Efforts to get a comment from Gen Saleh, who is reportedly camped in Kilembe area, were futile because his known telephone contact was off by press time.
However, Mr Kibanzanga the State minister for Agriculture, told this newspaper yesterday that the talks with Gen Saleh progressed well but declined to reveal the details “We are progressing very well. And we promised never to reveal the vital information pertaining the meeting,” Mr Kibanzanga said.
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) 2017 research concluded that at least 55 people died on November 26, including 14 police officers and one crime preventer in six different sub-counties in Rwenzururu Kingdom and another eight people at the cultural institution’s offices on Alexander Street.
According to the report, on November 27 security forces killed more than 100 people during the assault on the palace compound. HRW says Ugandan authorities failed to investigate the police and military responsible for killing more than 100 people in western Uganda in 2016. The body released a video featuring interviews with victims’ families.
Those killed on November 26 and 27, 2016 in Kasese, included at least 15 children. According to HRW findings, some families never received bodies of their loved ones for burial, despite requests. Government officials buried at least 52 people in graves inside the military barracks in Kasese, reporting that the bodies had not been claimed