The Sunday Vision of 23rd June, 2019 carried two articles on Rwenzururu Kingdom: “Why Mumbere Gave His Guns to Obote” by Mr. Muwonge C. W. Magembe on page 9 and “Can Rwenzururu Stand the Tide” by Mr. Asuman Bisika on page 33. Mr. Muwonge’s article is a factual historical account of the transitional phases of the Rwenzururu Movement to the present manifestation as a cultural institution subject to the Constitution of Uganda. It is recommended reading for anyone interested in understanding the historical background of the Rwenzururu liberation struggle. 
Mr. Asuman Bisika’s article on the other hand attempts to place the character of Kibanzanga Christopher in the position of a villain who is stubbornly bent on destroying Rwenzururu Kingdom and undermining the authority of my elder brother, King Charles Wesley Mumbere Iremangoma. Since the death of my mother, Biira Christine Mukirania (May Her Beautiful Soul Rest in Eternal Peace), I have prayed to God for reasonable calmness and patience with everyone regardless of their views and attitude towards me. My mother deserves to be celebrated for her iconic contribution to the struggles of the Bakonzo people in their quest for recognition and dignity. Her contribution is distinct and honorable having lost the protection and love of her husband at an early stage.
She remained true to the scared marriage vow to her husband, but even more, she pledged her life in word and deed to the wonderful ideals which illuminated the brief earthly life of Isaya Mukirania. While eulogizing my mother, the President pointed with admiration at the spirit of sacrifice and self-denial which Biira Christine magnificently symbolized in flesh. 
Mr. Asuman is deliberately blind to Biira Christine’s towering legacy but chooses to dedicate an enormous amount of time and space on what he terms as my “defiance of the king’s order and the royal family’s wish.” What was the content of the King’s order? Mr. Asuman contends that the King’s order was to have the Queen Mother buried in Nyamirangara in Kasese Municipality. No attempt is made by Mr. Asuman to assess the cultural validity of the King’s “order”. According to him, it is an order of the King and thus cannot be questioned or challenged by anyone.
I am forced to conclude that Mr. Asuman’s chief interest is not whether I was right or wrong to have the Queen Mother buried on her husband’s land but that in doing so against the King’s “order” I expressed contempt for him. Mr. Asuman’s chief occupation is with obeying an “order” regardless its wider impact on our cultural values and the family ancestry. He would rather I suspend my reasoning and act in obedience to an “order”, PERIOD.
The art of leadership is premised on the ability to persuade people to your line of thinking, both with words and actions. Even God’s son, the King of Kings spent three solid years trying to persuade mankind about the need for salvation. Some people still refused his message and crucified Him for it. It is no longer enough to say “the King has ordered”. There is no validity in that statement. The modern style of leadership is premised on the value of consensus building based on principled and well-informed arguments. 
What was my reasoning vis-à-vis the King’s “order”? The proposal that the Queen Mother should be buried in Nyamirangara on her piece of land was culturally bankrupt. Culturally, a married woman’s burial is conducted by her husband or her husband’s people, in case he is deceased. Ideally, my father’s grave should be in Kirindi, his ancestral home. This isn’t the case because he died in struggle. Fighters are buried by their comrades where they fall, though sometimes arrangements can later be made to transfer the remains to their ancestry. To date, the remains of the heroes of World War II are being transferred to their land of ancestry. If this were to be done in the case of my father, his remains would be transferred from Bulemba where he was buried, to Kirindi where we buried his wife. Only a woman that divorced her husband can be buried on a land that was purchased in her individual capacity. This simple cultural logic could not be comprehended by people that we have given the envious honor of serving as the custodians our cultural norms and customs. 
Mr. Asuman says that a member of the Privy Council told him that consensus had been established to bury the Queen Mother in Kirembo in Bukonzo East County. For your information Sir, that said land in Kirembo belongs to me. Having realized that the Kingdom had no Royal Cemetery (to our shame and disgrace), I offered my Kirembo land for burying the members of the Royal Family. My late sister Princess Kyakimwa Sibitwa is the last member of the Royal Family to be buried on that land in 2015. Consequently, I was welcome to the idea of having my mother buried on that land not until another “order” came by. The order said that “once mama is buried there, I relinquish the ownership of that land to the Kingdom and particularly to the King as an individual. This was to say the least laughable if not broad day theft. Why should I forfeit ownership of my property because my mother has been buried there? I could not accept this.
I requested the Kingdom administration to offer part of its land in Kasese Municipality for burying mama. They blatantly declined. I asked my two brothers to offer their pieces of land for the same. They too declined. What was I expected to do? Why would I continue to engage people whose actions and words didn’t have any promise of goodwill? 
Mr. Asuman speculates that taking Mama Christine’s body to Buhinga Hospital may have been part of what he calls “a broader scheme aimed at complicating Mumbere’s participation in the burial ritual”. He questions if Kilembe Hospital where Mama died didn’t have a mortuary to keep her body. When Mama died on June 11 2019, I was in Kampala. The arrangement to have her body transferred to Buhinga Hospital for better management was arrived at by the doctors at Kilembe Hospital and the family. My brother, William Kibanzanga and Best Bakoko, a member of the Prime Ministerial Committee, travelled with the body to Buhinga Hospital. I can assure you that even if my mother’s body had been at Kilembe hospital, nobody would have stopped me from taking her to Bundibugyo for decent burial. The issue was not about proximity. It was about the correctness of one’s decision. How could it have been a scheme to stop King Mumbere from burying his mother? Did Court restrict his movement to Bundibugyo? In any case he was granted permission to access the districts of Kasese, Bundibugyo, Fort Portal and Ntoroko. 
Mr. Asuman seems to suggest that the decision to bury my mother in Bundibugyo had the hand of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence. He claims he first learnt of it from a contact in CMI. With due respect, this is petty from a man of your knowledge and experience. If you were indeed in regular communication with the Privy Council, Ministerial Commission and the Royal Family, then you would have been in the know that a suggestion to bury the Queen Mother in Bundibugyo was one of the issues under consideration. How could it have been a surprise to you? You simply make mention in a passing sentence that I explained my actions after taking mama’s body to Bundibugyo. Why don’t you counter-argue the explanations I made? Why don’t you reveal the deficiency of my arguments with right reasoning? Why don’t you show the demerits of my points? Are you going to tell me that an order is an order? Please! Scripture says, “Come now, and let us reason together…” If God the Almighty can invite man to a discussion table, what about mere mortal men?
You express displeasure about my willingness to work with a Government that is holding my brother in what you define as “a near-hostage situation”. Uganda is governed by the rule of law. This is why King Mumbere was granted bail by Court, regardless of the magnitude of the charges against him. He is presumed innocent until proved guilty by Court. That same Court relaxed his bail terms to give him a period of fourteen days to grieve his mother in his Kingdom. If there is any illegal restriction imposed on him, it can be legally challenged by his lawyers in Court. Under what circumstances do you manage to arrive at a conclusion of a “near-hostage situation? Are you King Mumbere’s lawyer? If yes, address it to Court and Court will direct accordingly. 
You wonder if what you term as my “frosty relationship” with my brother is ‘in spite’ or because of my service in General Museveni’s cabinet. You claim that bothers you. Why should it bother you? Haven’t you heard of what is called individual responsibility? Didn’t the Prophet Ezekiel write that no longer shall ‘the fathers eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?’ I am a servant of the Republic of Uganda, however junior my role may be. I delight in my work and not positions. Even if I were to drop dead today, the small resourcefulness I have given to this country in my public life and as a parent will remain as one of the building blocks to our common destiny as a country and humanity. I cannot deny my Country the resources of my mind, soul, body and spirit. It would be an act of betrayal and treason. 
Unfortunately, people like you used that same reason which you claim bothers you to brutally harass and criticize my mother because of her close cooperation with President Museveni while she was still alive. Many viciously lashed out at her and called her all sorts of unpleasant names. In their ignorance, just as you are, they failed to understand her strategic deployment of diplomacy to woe allies to the Rwenzururu cause. You cannot win allies by isolating and antagonizing everybody. Now, that she is gone, you must find a new scapegoat to carry your iniquities instead of turning a torch of self-analysis inward to try to understand the root cause of the debilitating cancer which has eaten at the fabric of the Rwenzururu Kingdom.
It does not matter anymore whether my relationship with King Mumbere is frosty or cordial. We are long past that debate. What matters are; the peace, development, security, prosperity and co-existence of all tribes in Rwenzori and Uganda at large. That is what pre-occupies the remaining days of my life. How far will I go in achieving them? I don’t know, but God grant that each day finds me working for those goals. I will stand up to anyone or group of people who undermine these shared goals. 
Shall I stand in judgment before God for not being my brother’s keeper? Have I fallen short in this role? The answer is NO. As early as 1998 when I had just joined Parliament of Uganda, strong allegations emerged connecting the King to rebel groups in the Mountains fighting the State and killing Civilians. By then King Mumbere was still in the United States of America. Letters written to rebel outfits bearing the King’s signature were displayed as incriminating evidence. When contacted by the State Authorities, I did not go on the defensive neither did I claim he was being persecuted. Rather I asked to be granted audience with the King in the USA to get his side of the story. After numerous discussions with the state, the King was allowed to return to Uganda as a key player in the demilitarization of the Rwenzori and mobilization for peace by calling upon all the young men and women who had been recruited by the rebels in his name to come back home.
Wasn’t I my brother’s keeper?
In 2014, militias that were later identified as the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu youth attacked military installations in Kasese and Bundibugyo. At the time of attack I was in Bundibugyo as a peace ambassador sent by the King to talk Peace with the Obudingiye Bwa Bwamba. I narrowly survived death. A number of Ministers from the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu were later arrested in connection with the attacks. Government was going to arrest and charge King Mumbere at that time. I pleaded with the then IGP, General Kale Kayihura to first engage the King before any action. 
Indeed, our children had been mobilized by a section of radical elements in the Kingdom to fight for a separate state using machetes and local charms as their defensive and offensive weapons. It took several months of tiresome work to collect the guns that the children had captured from the security forces; to treat the wounded and to demilitarize and secure amnesty for the participants.
What followed was an open hate campaign against me from a cross-section of people like Mr. Asuman who felt I was disobeying the King’s “orders”. These evil people enjoy bloodshed of other people’s children in the name of fighting for some undefined objectives that isolate and project the Bakonzo people as barbaric, primitive and violent. They simply fan the flames of conflict and watch the blood of innocent misguided souls flowing like a stream. For how long shall we allow these witches to dance on the graves of our children? 
Haven’t I been my brother’s keeper?
Before the 2016 attack on the Buhikira Palace, I held countless discussions with the Rwenzururu Kingdom leadership to try to avert the catastrophic calamity that was clearly looming. Instead I was branded a traitor by those who claim total obedience to the King’s “orders”. What resulted was regrettable to say the least.
Mr. Asuman should be in a better position to know that the majority is not always right. All religions today were formed by men and women who belonged to a small and persecuted minority which refused to bend to the whims and wills of a misguided majority. The Reverend Martin Luther King once said that “cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it Right?’…there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells him or her that it is right.” My conscience convinces me beyond any reasonable doubt that the decision to bury my mother on my father’s land was right.
Mr. Asuman claims that my security escort during my visits to Kasese will be enhanced as a consequence. To your shame sir, I read your article on Sunday comfortably in Kasese where I travelled on Saturday morning and I was with the usual security personnel assigned to me. Unless if you are telling me that you are planning to cause harm to the person of Kibanzanga Christopher and thus I should arm myself to the teeth. Even if such an evil plot were to come my way, it would mean that my argument is superior. It would be as a result of your cowardice and total failure to face my arguments. I would emerge an eternal votary of truth in the midst of lies and malice. Don’t you know that right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant? 
My mother faced similar threats to her life since 2017 when she took a bold stand to condemn the direction Rwenzururu Kingdom was taking. Did you know that by the time my mother died, she was still on someone’s hit-list? Did you know that she was being guarded by four UPDF soldiers to counter this real threat? One wonders why blood-thirsty cowards would want to kill an old diabetic and hypertensive woman simply because she has spoken boldly and candidly against their evil exploits. 
You say that my ‘standing as a leader (political or otherwise) in Kasese is gone’. If that is the price that I must pay for giving a woman that nurtured me to become the man I am today a decent and befitting burial, so be it. My mother’s burial wasn’t a Gallup poll of the majority opinion. It wasn’t a popularity contest to measure which leader is popular or not. It was a matter of doing what was right as dictated by our cultural norms and traditions.
As for retaining my constituency in Bughendera, as a politician, losing an election isn’t the worst nightmare. I have lost an election before. I challenge you to come and contest against me in Bughendera County since you feel that your sentiment is the popular voice. The ballot will speak for itself. I challenge you to bring your narrative of unconditional obedience to “orders” to Bughendera. The tally of your votes will validate the substance of you argument. The Baghendera will tell you how many people they have buried as a result of that “order”. They will tell you how many orphans they are raising and how many of their children, husbands, wives, sisters and brothers are in jail today.
Your last paragraph seems to suggest that King Mumbere’s royal line is threatened and thus must be securely ring-fenced by a future constitutional provision. You suggest that such provision must read, “The King of Rwenzururu will have a direct filial bloodline to Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere.”
This is absolute nonsense and an abuse of your intelligence. If by that suggestion, you imply that anyone is interested in becoming King, you deceive yourself. I have always told my children that a person’s accumulated honor and wealth must be achieved on the basis of merit and consistent good conduct and not these accidents of birth. This is what I have done all my life and it is what I demand of my children. I cherish the values of hard work and concentration on worthy goals and causes. You cannot go through the world expecting that everyone will bow for you simply because you are the descendant of so and so. Have you ever asked yourself where Isaya Mukirania’s other living children are? 
Why Kibanzanga Christopher?
God Bless you.