Police in Mbarara have quizzed Mr Umar Asiimwe, the claimant to Ankole kingdom throne, over claims of flouting security procedures in conduct of his activities.
He arrived at Mbarara District Police Station at around 10 am on Tuesday in company of six other people including; Mr Bright Muhumuza, former contestant Mbarara Municipality MP seat, following summons issued last week by Mbarara DPC Mr Jaffar Magyezi.
After a brief meeting at the OC CIID’s office, Mr Asiimwe, was then taken to Rwizi Police Regional offices where he had closed door meeting with the Regional Police Commander, Mr Robert Walugembe, Regional OC CIID, Mr David Ibanda and Mr Magyezi for about three hours.
“We have had enough time and understood what he is trying to do. For us we were interested in the activities that take place at his palace whether they are in breach of security. They are so many people that visit his palace so we were looking at crime basically,” Mr Ibanda told journalists after the meeting.
Asked whether Mr Asiimwe’s activities as a king are recognized, Mr Ibanda said police was not interested in the throne contestations but security. “We don’t mindful whoever is claiming Obugabe of Ankole but activities of individuals or groups of people are trying to do so. He is doing his activities under the umbrella of a company and we have advised him not to conflict with the law,” said Mr Ibanda.
He did not name the company. Mr Asiimwe told journalists he had a meaningful engagement with police. “I was summoned over security issues and we had a meaningful engagement. I also told them of my right as a Ugandan and as a king to be given security. Often my palace has been trespassed on,” said Mr Asiimwe.
He added, “Our activities don’t breach any laws of Uganda, what we are doing is a mandate given by the people of Ankole, and we want parliament and government to recognise our kingdom.”
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 later on December 7 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. The latest meeting was held on January 27. He says kingdom’s main agenda is to unite Banyankore all over the world and promote their welfare through job creation, agriculture and economic planning.
However, members of Nkore Cultural Trust (NCT), a registered public institution spearheading campaign for restoration on Ankore kingship, are strongly opposed to his activities. On December 9, Dr George William Katatumba, the chairman NCT and Ankore Kingdom Prime Minister wrote to police to investigate Mr Asiimwe for parading as the Omugabe.
Mr Katatumba said in the letter that Mr Asiimwe’s activities are supported by ‘some high profile politicians’ could destabilise the region.’
He wrote to the IGP through RPC Rwizi Region: “I am taking this opportunity of writing on behalf of Nkore Cultural Trust an organization mandated to oversee the Obugabe of Ankore to bring to the attention of some individuals, namely Mr Max Muhumuza and Mr Asiimwe Umar who is claiming on social media to have been coroneted as the king “Rubambansi Ntare VI of Ankore Kingdom and is masquerading as such.”
The letter was copied to Principal Private Secretary Office of the President, Resident District Commissioners and District Police Commanders and District Councils in Ankole sub region.
Mr Katatumba further said that the two individuals were impersonating the kingdom, obtaining money by false pretense, spreading harmful propaganda and dividing the people of Ankore.
“At the meeting of the executive of Nkore Cultural Trust that sat today 9 December 2016 in Mbarara Municipality, it was resolved that your office be informed and requested to carry out immediate investigations about the above matter and stop this bad situation from getting worse,” the letter further said.
According to Mr Katatumba, Mr Asiimwe lived among Basongora community in Kasese and expressed interest to be a member of NCT and he was allowed. “We did not know that he had intentions of creating divisions among Banyankore, nobody knows him to be a prince, we are told he is going around with his father and he is the one who “coronated” him. He is just a joker and masquerader,” said Mr Katatumba.
He added that in the meetings NCT members have had with President Yoweri Museveni, he has told them to first mobilize Banyakore to show that they need Obugabe. “We have met the President many times to ask him to restore the kingship. He tells us that if we show that Banyankore like the kingdom, he will restore it. We have are mobilizing,” said Mr Katatumba.
Mr Asiimwe indicated he was not bothered by what Mr Katatumba was raising. “That’s none of my business, let them do whatever they want,” he said.