Yesterday was the first day for Rwenzururu king Charles Wesley Mumbere to appear before Jinja Chief Magistrates Court as a “free” citizen and not under prisons watch as it had been the norm for the last 71 days.
Smartly dressed in a dark blue suit and in the company of his wife Agnes Ithungu, the Omusinga arrived at Jinja court shortly before 9am from the comfort of his home in Muyenga, Kampala.
Surprisingly, he was being driven in a Land Cruiser with a police number plate instead of a royal or civilian car.
The same police car had a lead and behind police patrol pick-ups full of fully armed policemen.
The royal couple then sat in one of the courtrooms as they patiently waited for the court session to begin.
The king’s defense lawyers Samuel Muyizzi and Eron Kiiza came around to give the king company. The wait for the court session to commence took longer than usual as it commenced after 10:40am instead of 9am.
Prior to the start of the court session, there was a switch of courtrooms as one they had sat in, was reportedly small.
The relocation was aimed at having the king and his wife leave the bench for his subjects who mainly were his royal guards jointly charged with him following the November 27 clashes at his palace.
The king who looked to be in high spirits than the previous court appearances, was occasionally seen cracking jokes with some of his female subjects (royal guards) who had sat near him.
Some of these female subjects knelt down and greeted their king soon as they were brought into the courtroom.
From there, he moved to his Acting premier Thembo Katsumbire, who was at that time was in the court dock and had a brief chat.
He was then led out of the courtroom by his security detail.
He had a brief nature call before boarding the police land cruiser and he was driven towards Kampala side.
The king who is out on a non cash bail of Shs100m, is facing grave charges ranging from treason, terrorism, murder, aggravated robbery and malicious damage to property.
Mumbere’s bail was yesterday extended to March 6 when he is expected to return to court and on the contrary, his royal guards were further remanded until the same date.