Rwanda Hosts Inaugural African Transformation Forum

The Inspector General of Police Gen Edward Kale Kayihura has added his voice to government’s defense of the police officers who on Thursday and Friday shot at killed six civilians in Kasese and Kabarole districts in western Uganda.

The Police boss who rushed to the Rwenzori region on Saturday evening, medications medical reiterated police’s commitment to restore sanity in the region, diagnosis but warned that attacks on police and army officers on duty would never be treated lightly.

Following a Thursday attack on police and army officers in Kikonzo cell, Hima Town Council, Kabarole District on Thursday where two out of 20 attackers were shot dead, Kayihura revealed that the clash at Kasenyi town in Kasese district on Friday afternoon where four more were gunned down was simply a follow-up of the previous attack.

The IGP identified the attackers as members of a militia linked to Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu who call themselves Kirumiramutima

The team of officers led by SPC Opolot according to the IGP was accosted by the attackers as they went “to assess the situation in Kisenyi and not to arrest anybody as had earlier been reported.” Opolot was reportedly stabbed in the scuffle and a pistol of one of his officers taken.

“Now if you say that these people were innocent, why did they grab an officer’s gun? Were they taking it to a museum?” wondered the IGP during a press conference he held on Sunday evening in Kasese.

“Opolot told us in a meeting that when he reached there he found that the town had been deserted. He tried to speak to some of the people and that’s when the attackers came after him, stabbed him and disarmed his junior,one Joel Mbusa.”

Kayihura sounded a warning that police would not stand and watch when such insecurity is taking place. He added that the officers that shot the civilians had no other choice.

“Even in the United Nations Convention on the use of fire arms, police officers are allowed to shoot, if they feel threatened of if they have to defend a section of innocent and unarmed people,” he said.

“You cannot attack me, when I am fully armed and doing patrol. This was not a case of police officers attacking a place. They were attacked. What other means should they have used?”

When a video appeared of the shooting at the Kisenyi town, police came under furious attack from sections of the population, who held that the officers should have had a better option when attacked by people armed only with sticks.

But the IGP dismissed this possibility at the press conference.

He noted, “If those officers dared ran away from the scuffle, we would have charged them with cowardice in action. Besides, even if they decided to back off, the attackers would have come after them.”

“The Police force has been reinforced and no one should expect it to sit back and fold arms. I want to warn those that have similar plans of attacking our officers that they will have themselves to blame. You cannot chance a way police from Kasese district. That is a dream.”

A total of three people have been arrested following the incident. Kayihura revealed that these will be charged with cases ranging from attempted murder, aggravated assault on security officers and causing bodily harm.

Meanwhile the situation remains tense in Kisenyi trading center and neighboring towns which have been deserted after hundreds of residents fled their homes in fear.

The IGP appealed to the locals to return to their homes promising that police and the army will maintain security and guarantee their safety.
The Inspector General of Police, ailment Gen Kale Kayihura has warned the state will take a resolute action against ring leaders of political violence in the country after several people died and property worth millions of shillings was destroyed in skirmishes in Kasese and Bundibugyo districts last week.

“Whoever is behind these acts of violence will be arrested and charged in courts of law immediately, pilule ” warned Kayihura while addressing the press in Kampala.

“There is no more politicking, more about ” he added, in a veiled reference to concerns that the state has previously feared to apprehend cultural leaders in the Rwenzori region for instigating violence.

After accusing the cultural leadership of Rwenzururu Kingdom of fomenting trouble in which several people perished, Kayihura said “no one is above the law.”

Highly placed sources say Kayihura nearly arrested the Rwenzururu King Wesley Mumbere in the previous Rwenzori attacks only to be restrained by a retired army general.

After the February 24 LC 5 elections, there were clashes resulting from dissatisfaction by some candidates and their supporters.

The violence started in Busengerwa village of Busaru sub county where one person was shot dead by a former UPDF guide, called Bonifance Museveni, alias Bhangi, which led to retaliatory attacks in Busaru, Ngamba and Kirumya sub counties, leaving 15 civilians dead and 4 others injured.

According to General Kayihura, 139 houses were also set ablaze.

Following the incidents, eighty suspects were charged with murder in the high court sitting in Fort Portal on March 11 and subsequently remanded.

Bhangi, whose reported actions started it all was arrested Saturday night in Busaru sub County, Bundibugyo District.

What happened?

On the night of March 10, at 8:00pm, the day after the elections of LC III Chairpersons, a joint motorized patrol of Police and UPDF, while patrolling lower Kendahi cell, Kikongo ward, Hima Town Council, was attacked by over 30 persons armed with machetes, knives and clubs.

4 soldiers were injured, two of them critically, and the attackers tried to grab their guns. In self-defense, the patrol opened fire on the attackers, instantly killing two of them, and forcing the rest of them to flee.

The injured soldiers are Cpl Matia Ssentongo, L/Cpl Rwot Owengeyo, L/Cpl Hannington Katuramu, and L/Cpl Moses Otube.

They were rushed to Kilembe Hospital for first aid and the following day, they were referred to UPDF 2nd division Hospital in Mbarara. Two are still in critical condition.

Later the same night, at about 9:00pm, a group of arsonists torched a house of one Kamanyire Ali. Kamanyire is a known supporter of one Tom Wabukombi, who was one of the candidates but lost in LC III elections in Hima Town Council, but his tenants are said to have supported his rival candidate John Katuura, who won the elections.

Following this incident the RPC Rwenzori East informed of the situation and requested for reinforcements.

Kayihura said he sent a team of Field Force Unit under the command of Commissioner of Police (CP) Jacob Opolot.

The Police revealed that at around 1:00pm on March 11, a team of Police UPDF officers led by CP Jacob Opolot, while on a pre-deployment assessment mission in Kasenyi village, Buhurira Sub County, was attacked by a group of about 20 youths, armed with machetes, knives and clubs.

The youth, said the IGP, stabbed SPC Joel Mbusa, critically injuring and disarming him of hid firearm and also stoned CP Jacob Opolot – fracturing his right leg.

The security team fired shots in the air to scare them but the attackers became even more aggressive and in self-defense, the team opened fire killing 4 attackers, and recovering the gun that had been taken from SPC Mbusa.

Kayihura said CP Opolot and SPC Mbusa were rushed to Kilembe Hospital for treatment before being transferred to Mulago Hospital for further medical treatment.

The attackers who were killed were identified as Ezekiel Kake, Sajin Bwambale, James Wayakwa and Jokas Kirerembwa.

“What is common to them is that they were members of a militia group linked to Obusinga bwa Rwenzururu cultural institution, calling themselves “Kirumiramutima” (strong-hearted). It should be noted that the Omusinga wa Rwenzururu has got official Royal guards given to him by, and based on agreement with Government. Three suspects connected with the attack have so far been arrested and are helping the Police with Investigations,” said Kayihura.

‘We, also urge the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu Cultural Institution, as well as other cultural institutions in the region to cooperate with security forces to engage, particularly the youth against getting themselves involved in violence, and ensure that business life, and the life of ordinary people in Kasese District, and the sub region as a whole goes on, normally without disturbance from irresponsible, reckless, and even dangerous criminal activities.”
The engagement is jointly organized by the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), nurse one of Africa’s leading think tanks, drugs and the Government of Rwanda.

K.Y. Amoako, president of ACET said that for years, his organization had wanted to convene leading thinkers, policy makers, the private sector and civil society to shape solutions to deliver economic transformation in Africa.

“With the inaugural ATF, this has now happened,” he said and thanked the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame for “his unwavering support for the Forum and his government’s characteristic efficiency in bringing it to fruition”.

Rwanda’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Claver Gatete, notes in his message to visiting delegates that though Rwanda may be a small country geographically, its aspirations – for both itself and the continent – are great.

The path to meeting these aspirations, he adds, requires an unwavering focus on economic transformation.

The focus of the Forum will be on key areas that can unlock rapid and sustained growth, establish the continent as part of the global supply chain and make Africa globally competitive not only in terms of exports but also as a frontier manufacturing base.

In its 2014 African Transformation Report, ACET described this as ‘Growth with DEPTH’; that is diversification of production, export competitiveness, productivity increases, technology upgrades and human wellbeing.

This forum is designed to advance the agenda from the ‘what’ of economic transformation to the ‘how’.

One of the key objectives of the Forum, said Anver Versi, ACET communications chief, will be to introduce and create a Coalition for Transformation in Africa.

“This is a leadership network organized in Chapters, each focused on a specific and vital area of economic development. The idea is that after the Forum, Chapter members including governments, businesses and civil society dedicated to Africa’s economic transformation, will continue to meet, discuss and find solution beyond the Forum”.

The programme has a stellar cast of speakers, including some of the continent’s leading analysts and thinkers.

Amongst them Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa; Makhtar Diop, VP for Africa at the World Bank; Antoinette Sayeh, Africa Department Director of the IMF; Nkosana Moyo, Founder and Executive Chair of MINDS , James Mwangi, Executive Director at Dalberg and ACET’s own experts – Yaw Ansu, Ed Brown and Joe Amoako-Tuffour amongst others.

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