MBARARA: The Minister for Gender, Labour and social development has directed Mr Umar Asiimwe, the self -styled king of Ankole kingdom to stop acting as a king immediately.
In a press release dated February 08, 2018, Minister Janat Mukwaya says the Gender ministry has learnt of Mr Asiimwe’s claims to be a cultural leader of the people of Ankole in western Uganda.
It adds that the Gender ministry which is mandated to advise government on matters of culture disassociates itself from the purported enthronement.
“The ministry does not have any communication in writing whatsoever to indicate that the supporters of Mr Asiimwe have duly followed the process provided for under the law….., consequently, the ministry hereby directs Mr Asiimwe and his supporters to stop all the activities on matters related to the creation of a traditional or cultural institution in Ankole,” reads part of the release.
In the release, the minister directed the Inspector General of Police and other law enforcement agencies to take appropriate action against the king and his agents.
The press release followed lengthy meetings by security agencies and leaders in Mbarara who included; the Rwizi regional police Commander, Mr Robert Walugembe, Mbarara RDC Rtd Capt Martha Asiimwe, Mbarara State Attorney Mr Anthony Kurugyishuri, senior police detectives and military intelligence officers.
Unlike in the past where warnings would be sent to this group without engaging them, this time round, some of the group’s representatives attended the meeting.
Ms Mukwaya saidthis group has not followed article 246(1) of the Ugandan constitution which provides for the process of installation of a traditional leader and the institution of Traditional or Cultural Leaders Act, 2011.
In an interview with Daily Monitor Ms Mukwaya said; “If they are traditional healers let them register under the ministry of internal affairs and NGO board and get licence, and for cultural identity, this does not necessary require you to be under a kingdom, they can mobilise for cultural identity but not under Ankole kingdom because it’s not there and no required procedure has ever reached my office by individuals or people of Ankole to qualify for kingdom.”
Mr Asiimwe refused to talk to the media but Mr Bright Muhumuza, the County (Ssaza) chief for Mbarara Municipality said security has several times blocked their activities frustrating their efforts to mobilise for restoration of the kingdom.
He said they will soon meet, consult and later communicate their way forward.
The Rwizi Regional police spokesperson, Mr Samson Kasasira said Mr Asiimwe and his group should take the ministers warning serious or face serious consequences including arrest and prosecution.
Mr Asiimwe claims he was crowned the King (Omugabe of Ankole) on October 29, 2016 at the Kingdom palace located in Itaaba Kyabanyoro, Rwampara County in Mbarara District.
He has since appointed 20 ministers and 17 county chiefs to help him carry out activities of the kingdom and has since been conducting meetings with his ministers and chiefs at the palace.