Rwenzururu Kingdom Moots for Transitional Justice to Foster Peace in Rwenzori

2547 Views Kasese, Uganda

In short
Transitional justice is a way societies emerge from periods of conflict and repression to address large scale or systematic human rights violations so serious that the normal justice system may not provide adequate response.


Transitional justice is meant to identify avenues to address the structural causes of those violations and conflicts such as social exclusions and inequalities. TJ is ungirded by a broader understanding of justice that takes into account a range of victim needs and societal priorities.

The Rwenzururu Kingdom is exploring the use of Transitional Justice as a mechanism to foster everlasting peace in the Rwenzori sub-region.


Transitional justice is a way societies emerge from periods of conflict and repression to address large scale or systematic human rights violations so serious that the normal justice system may not provide an adequate response.



Transitional justice is meant to identify avenues to address the structural causes of those violations and conflicts such as social exclusions and inequalities. TJ is unguarded by a broader understanding of justice that takes into account a range of victim needs and societal priorities.




Kasese and the Rwenzori sub-region, in general, has been grappling with a series of conflicts since the 19th century ranging from the Bunyoro invasion to the Rwenzururu Movement, National Army for Liberation of Uganda and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) wars.



The latest conflict involved the government of Uganda's security agencies' raid on the palace of Rwenzururu King Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere in Kasese town in November 2016.



The attack on the palace left more than 100 people dead and more than 200 others including Mumbere arrested. They are now battling a plethora of charges including murder, terrorism, arson, malicious damage and attempted.



Now, the Rwenzururu Kingdom is pondering on means to execute transitional justice as a means to bring an end to a cycle of conflicts in the Rwenzori region. The kingdom is now courting government and other stakeholders to embrace transitional justice to realise peace in the sub-region.



Stanley Baluku, the secretary of the Prime Ministerial Commission of the Kingdom, says they have come to the agreement that the only way peace can flourish in Rwenzururu is if peace is sought in the banner of transitional justice.



Baluku says this justice system incorporates the traditional and cultural methods of managing conflict which many people easily resonate with compared to the criminal justice system which is a little alien to the Traditional African Society.




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Baluku argues that Transitional Justice could be an alternative conflict resolution since it leaves the victims, consoled with the remorse exhibited by the culprits and or the perpetrators of the conflict.




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He added that this could be an opportunity to usher the peace that has remained elusive in the Rwenzori region for a long time. The Commission Secretary also revealed that the Rwenzururu Kingdom structures have already embraced the idea and only need to be educated further about how the notion needs to be implemented.



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Baluku also said the government ought to interest itself in this justice system if it really wants peace to prevail in this volatile part of western Uganda adding that the 2005 inter-ministerial report by Henry Muganwa Kajura on conflict in the Rwenzori did recommend a peace and reconciliation committee which, incidentally, the government never established.



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He cautions government against relying on the criminal justice system as a way to solve conflicts arguing that it cannot practically help communities and people to forgive each other but instead could let people hold permanent grudges against one another.


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Johnication Muhindo, the Team Leader at Creations Forum Afrika, a non-governmental organisation that has been working towards peace building processes in the Rwenzori region says the move by the Kingdom is a step in the right direction. Muhindo says several people within the region have lived with deep-seated wounds from past war experiences and thus making the area prone and vulnerable to further conflict.



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Muhindo, however, said there is also a need to develop a special program for the Rwenzori to help alleviate people from poverty as a key step in helping them overcome the bitterness that conflicts have meted on them.




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Transitional Justice has been formerly used to help in rebuilding communities in post-genocide Rwanda and post-apartheid South Africa.

 

About the author

Kule Jerome Bitswande
Jerome Kule Bitswande is the URN pioneer Bureau Chief-Kasese.

He's passionate to write about public policy, culture and politics.

Before joining URN in April 2018, Jerome had written for Radio One and Two, The Observer and New Vision.

Jerome strongly believes that it is only the common man that has the untold story. And it is that untold story whose narration he wants to be party to.

The two-time Award Winner with Media Challenge Initiative also believes the Kasese and entire Rwenzururu story is yet to be told; it's against that background that when URN assigned him to his cradle, he did not give it a second thought.

Todate, he's fondly called the Rwenzururu Royal Guard by peers and workmates.