On November 27th, King Charles Mumbere, monarch of the Rwenzururu kingdom in Western Uganda, was arrested for murder in the death of Constable Godfrey Kasimba on March 24th, 2016. After his court appearance amid heavy security, King Mumbere will remain at the high-security Nalufenya Prison until December 13th when he returns to court, according to the Daily Monitor.
Normally, accused individuals in Uganda are detained in the district where the crime occurred; however, violence rocked the Rwenzururu kingdom the weekend of King Mumbere’s arrest, which prompted the raid on the monarch’s palace. Ongoing agitation in the Rwenzuzuru kingdom, which has threatened to secede, is responsible for Constable Kasimba’s death and at least 62 deaths in the week preceding the King’s arrest. New Vision reports police spokesperson Felix Andrew Kaweesi as saying that the King will face additional charges after the investigation, including terrorism and aiding terrorism.
King Mumbere is the first monarch of a traditional kingdom in post-independence Uganda accused of murder, a capital offence with a maximum penalty of death. As a king since 2009, King Mumbere is accused by his own national government, in which he has no power, of using his Royal Guards as an army. Officials held press conferences, displaying the weapons found in the now scorched royal palace, and hinted that King Mumbere was planning to start his own small country with the Bakonzo people, who feel marginalized by the distant central government.
While living in the United States for 25 years, King Mumbere attended school and worked as a nursing assistant. Few people knew that he was an African king, albeit one whose authority is limited to cultural issues. Although King Mumbere denies any involvement with separatists, one official told the Washington Post that he saw money printed for the new Republic of Yiira. While King Mumbere’s charge relates to a murder that happened eight months ago, he is being tried in the press as a king who wants his own country to rule.