“Dis-respect among people and conflicts are cousins” said by the Speaker of the Rwenzururu Kingdom Parliament Rt. Hon. Muhindo Enoch. He narrated this when he was moderating a Peace promotion dialogue facilitated by Good Hope Foundation for Rural Development on September 21, 2016 at Virina Hotel in Kasese Municipality.
The Kingdom Cabinet ministers not forgetting the Hon. Prime Minister, Royal guards, Community liaison officer-Kasese Police, Deputy Resident District Commissioner-Kasese District, and other stakeholders in Peace promotion met on the date above to join the rest of the World to commemorate the international day of Peace. The Kingdom organized a dialogue with a theme: Community action for Peaceful co-existence.
|In front from Right to left; The Kasese District Deputy Resident District Commissionner, Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu Prime Minister and Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu Speaker of Parliament|
The Kingdom used the Dialogue to remind themselves of their History and conflicts in the Rwenzori region, Uganda and World at large and how communities have co-existed along side the inevitable conflicts. In the Prime Minister’s remarks, Rt. Hon. Thembo Kitsumbire, the following were noted;
|Kingdom Prime Minister officially opening the Dialogue|
· He reminded participants of the history of conflicts as dating far back before the birth of Jesus, biblically in the Middle East. The prime minister said conflicts in the Middle East have not ended because of disrespect among the ethnic groups in that region as well as miss-treatment.
· Conflicts in Rwenzori according to the Prime Minister started way back in 1800, when Banyoro and Batoro for long time conflicted and Toro Kingdom was created from Bunyoro Kingdom. Similar struggles continued for other tribes like Bayiira/Bakonzo who also until 1962 said enough was enough and also seceded from Toro to establish Rwenzururu Kingdom which operated illegally according to the then Governments until 2009 when OBR was recognized as cultural institution by the Republic of Uganda. All the above struggles and conflicts happened because of disagreements and ethnic miss treatments.
|Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu Parliament Speaker giving a detailed background of People in Rwenzori region|
During the plenary discussions, the following issues were raised by Participants as being influential in escalating conflicts in the region;
· Police fears Royal guards because of their “heartless character” and therefore according to CLO, an armed royal guard is very dangerous and when they confront with Police, the only way out is to shoot to kill.
· There are gaps in communication between communities and Police. Police are for several times miss informed about Royal guards and Bakonzo in particular and just act without having a second thought of digging out the truth.
· Most youth are un employed and are therefore easily manipulated to insight violence for some leaders’ self interests.
· Conflicts in Rwenzori have been fueled by irresponsible politicians, who do not value human blood so long as their interests have been achieved.
· OBR is financially incapacitated and therefore fail to fully engage its people in peace promotion campaigns.
· Political fall back in the recently concluded national elections in Kasese District by the sitting National Resistance Movement (NRM) government angered it very much and since then started suspecting Kasese People and Bakonzo in particular of being enemies of Government.
· Ethnic favoritism by government in Rwenzori region has made some tribes “wild” as a mechanism of defending themselves and this has failed attempts of Government to promote Peace in the region, because it is seen as being biased. This according to participants has promoted dis-respect among the tribes in the region where some tribes feel are “darlings” to Government than others.
|The CLO,Kasese Police ASP Sunday, narrating his experience working with local People and relating with Royal Guards|
These issues guided Participants to come up with the following action points that could reduce/control conflicts in the region and Kasese District in particular;
· Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu (OBR) to hold inter-cultural galas with peace messages for sustainable Peace in the region.
· OBR to identify leaders of other tribes and create a healthy relationship with them.
· Intensify dialogues between OBR and Government from National to Local levels.
· Civil society organizations like Good Hope/RWECO to organize specific meetings for Police and royal guards, decentralized from up to bottom. This will remove the fear between the two security agencies.
· OBR to come up with a concept paper clearly specifying how they need to economically empower its Royal guards, and submit it to the President of the Republic of Uganda through the Office of the Resident District Commissioner, before 19th/10/2016.
· OBR to always plan for international Peace day and indicate it on its yearly planner.
|The Coordinator RWECO, Mr. Jimmy Odyek reminding Kingdom leaders of the commitments they made during the 2015 Peace Week, and what RWECO has sofar done.|
The Dialogue ended with closing remarks from the Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Muhindo Justine who thanked Good Hope Foundation for remembering to engage OBR on an international Peace day. This according to her is a reflection of commitment to finding remedies to challenges of Peace in Rwenzori, championed by a respected institution like Obusinga bwa Rwenzururu.
She encouraged Participants to educate others about the advantages of being good listeners in avoiding conflicts and working as a team for a common goal. The RDC pledged her total support for a peaceful Kasese and Rwenzori at large.
|Participants leaving the venue at the end of the Dialogue, one by one led by OBR Parliament Speaker and Minister of Education|