Businesses came to a standstill on Wednesday as thousands of Rwenzururu subjects gathered in Kasese town to welcome Charles Wesley Mumbere, the cultural leader of Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu-OBR. The area between Rukoki bridge and the roundabout was filled with people dancing as the helicopter carrying the royal family landed at Kasese airfield.
Throughout the day, trucks transported jubilant subjects from as far as Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, and Bunyangabu districts, while Boda boda riders raced through the town, waving posters of Mumbere and tree branches, continuing late into the night. In Hima, hundreds gathered in the town council to celebrate what locals described as the grand return of their cultural leader.
Another group of subjects lined up along Rwenzori road, where Mumbere passed on his way to the golf course in Kilembe, where he would address his subjects later in the day. Mumbere landed at Kasese Airfield around 2:10pm, greeted by cheers from thousands of his subjects. He arrived at the golf course around 5:00pm, where thousands more were waiting for him.
Stanley Kitanda, one of the loyalists of OBR, described Mumbere’s return as historic, expressing that he and other family members had lost hope of his return to the Kingdom anytime soon. He applauded the government for working closely with the cultural institution to facilitate reconciliation between both parties.
Roset Biira, from Kizungu cell in Kasese municipality, was excited that the cultural leader had returned to the kingdom safely. She hopes that the king will guide the subjects toward development and peaceful co-existence.
Enock Baluku, who traveled from Bundibugyo district, called upon OBR subjects to uphold peace and strive for a new change that would lead to development, now that the long-awaited return has taken place. He hopes the king and cabinet will formulate development agendas that would benefit the youth.
John Sirilwayo emphasized that the return of Mumbere must mark a new beginning towards development, working closely with the existing government. He believes there are many lessons to be learned by the subjects during this time, and they will work towards ensuring there is no repeat of conflict in the cultural institution.
In June of this year, the Director of Public Prosecution dropped all charges against King Mumbere and dozens of his subjects. The King, along with over 200 kingdom subjects, had been arrested in 2016 following a raid on the Buhikira royal palace in Kasese led by the army.”