Rwenzururu Kingdom to Convert Ruined Palace into Museum

Kasese, Uganda | THE BLACK EXAMINER | The Rwenzururu Kingdom, located in Kasese Town, plans to transform the Buhikira royal palace of Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu into a museum. The palace fell into disrepair and was destroyed in a November 2016 army-led operation, during which King Charles Wesely Mumbere and several royal guards were arrested on charges including terrorism.

Recently, after nearly seven years in prison, Omusinga Mumbere returned to the Kasese district but cannot go back to the Buhikira Palace due to the events of the 2016 raid. Rwenzururu culture forbids the king from revisiting a place where blood was shed.

The Rwenzururu Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Joseph Kule Muranga, believes that converting the palace into a museum is a strategic move. He stated that the museum could serve as a constant reminder of the past and potentially become a tourist destination, similar to Namugongo, where the Uganda martyrs were killed.

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Mr. Muranga also noted that the transformation of the palace into a museum could generate revenue for the cultural institution, contingent on Omusinga Mumbere’s approval.

For the new palace, the government has already acquired land in Kasese Town at a cost of Shs150 million, with the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) engineering brigade overseeing the project. In the meantime, the kingdom plans to construct office spaces on the same land.

Omusinga Mumbere currently resides in a private residence on Mbogo Road in Kasese Town, although it’s unclear whether the residence was acquired by the kingdom.

Before the king’s return, the kingdom had initiated a fundraising campaign to collect Shs4.5 billion for Springs International Hotel in Kasese Town, intended to serve as an asset and a source of revenue.

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Jovia Mbambu, the Kasese District tourism officer, stressed that transforming Buhikira Royal Palace into a museum would significantly enhance the district’s tourism offerings. She also highlighted the potential for dark tourism, which explores areas with a history of tragedy, to attract tourists to the region.

Furthermore, she emphasized the educational and peace-promoting potential of the museum, not only for Kasese District but for the entire Rwenzori Sub-region. The museum could provide insights into preventing a recurrence of tragic incidents and serve as a center for training activists in conflict prevention and resolution.

Johnication Muhindo, the team leader at Creations Forum Afrika-CAF, a peace-building organization in the Rwenzori sub-region, also endorsed the idea of the museum as a center for peace and conflict prevention, seeing it as a creative approach to fostering sustainable peace in a community that has long suffered from conflict.

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