Another Rwenzururu kingdom loyalist dies in prison

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Rwenzururu Royal Guards at Court. /COURTESY PHOTO
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URN

Another Rwenzururu Kingdom loyalist has died in prison, bringing the number of guards who have died since their arrest in November 2016 to five, Uganda Radio Network reports.

Identified as Balinda Bazarwa, 45, the deceased hails from Nyabuswa village in Karangura Sub county of Bunyangabu district.

Yonah Maathe, the Rwenzururu Kingdom spokesperson, says information about the death of Bazarwa was relayed to the kingdom and family members on Tuesday. Maathe says they obtained reports indicating that the deceased breathed his last on Sunday but Prison authorities withheld the information.

Maathe says although Bazarwa was a renowned Rwenzururu Kingdom loyalist, he had never been enrolled as a royal guard because he suffered from dementia. Bazarwa was arrested during operations that followed the November 2016 raid on Buhikira palace in Kasese town.

Other than the royal guards and other kingdom loyalists that were arrested from the palace, several other people were picked up during the operations resulting from clashes.

Maathe says that much as the kingdom authorities informed security about Bazarwa’s mental health, he was still added on the list of the royal guards being tried in court.

He says Bazarwa’s mental weakness worsened when he was remanded to Kirinya Government Prison where he succumbed to anaemia. Bazarwa becomes the fifth Rwenzururu Kingdom loyalist to die in prison following their arrest on November 27th, 2016.

His death comes about two weeks after the death of 80-year-old Zakaliya Sonderya, the Rwenzururu Chief Royal Guard at Luzira Hospital. The Uganda Prison Services Spokesperson, Frank Baine, said he had succumbed to chronic urine retention.

The Chairperson of the Prime Ministerial Commission of the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu, Gadi Baluku Mbayahi, says it is unfortunate that kingdom subjects are dying in prison where they have been detained for more than two years without trial.

Mbayahi urges government to screen all the suspects such that those who are obviously innocent are released henceforth and those of old age or serious medical challenges are granted bail.

Kasese District Chairperson, Geoffrey Sibendire Bigogo has always emphasized the need to expedite the trial of Rwenzururu King, Charles Wesley Mumbere and his loyalists such that justice can be dispensed.

Mumbere and his subjects are facing a series of charges including, arson, murder, attempted murder, treason, malicious damage and terrorism before the international crimes division of the high court.

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