King Charles Wesley Mumbere of Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu (Rwenzururu kingdom) has suspended Christopher Kibanzanga, his younger brother, from being the institution’s chief prince, until further notice.
This move is contained in a June 25 suspension letter addressed to Kibanzanga. The king banned Kibanzanga, who is also Uganda’s agriculture state minister for production, from representing the royal family. “I hereby suspend the position and title of the chief prince that you have been holding in the royal family,” states the letter.
Mumbere says he is implementing the powers entrusted upon him by the Rwenzururu constitution, the royal family and the abanya Rwenzururu (Rwenzururu subjects). In the letter seen yesterday afternoon by the kingdom’s head of protocol, Florence Kabugho, Mumbere faults Kibanzanga for “abusing the rights and responsibilities that befit the position, rendering it useless”.
Mumbere also faults Kibanzanga of making and executing decisions on behalf of the royal family without consulting the king and other family members. He adds that Kibanzanga behaves as if his position as chief prince overrides the powers of the king and those of the kingdom’s council.
Mumbere particularly cites the June 14 incident when Kibanzanga allegedly “stormed Buhinga Hospital mortuary, removed their mother, Christine Biira Mukirania’s body and unilaterally took it to Bundibugyo for burial.” He says the action denied other family members the opportunity to bury her and to conduct the rituals that would have been performed in her honor.
The family and the Rwenzururu leaders were divided over where to bury the queen mother. One side of the family and the Rwenzururu administration, led by the king, wanted her buried in Kasese, the kingdom’s headquarters, in her undeveloped maize garden land. However, Kibanzanga argued that it was disgraceful to bury her in a maize garden.
Kibanzanga offered part of his land at Nyamirangara, but this, according to the Rwenzururu leadership, would convert his land to institutional property. Kibanzanga left the meeting, went to Buhinga Hospital, removed his mother’s body and buried her in Kirindi, Bundibugyo district. Kibanzanga and only his sister, Kunihira, the chief princess, attended the burial, while the rest of the family members remained in Kasese.
Five of the MPs from Kasese also did not attend the burial but turned up at the Kasese airfield on June 17 to receive Mumbere, who had traveled there to perform post-burial rituals. Security called off the journey, citing the unwarranted politicization of the issue, especially after a mob of Rwenzururu subjects roughed up and disparaged the Busongora South MP, Jackson Mbaju Kathika, for having joined Kibanzanga at his mother’s burial.
According to Mumbere, Kibanzanga’s “aggressive behaviour and reckless outbursts have undermined the image of the royal family and the Obusinga bwa Rwenzururu.” “You will not, therefore, from this point forward represent the royal family. You will remain a prince, but without a specific responsibility,” Mumbere concludes. Efforts to contact Kibanzanga for a comment were fruitless as calls to his known phone number went unanswered.