Recollecting the 2016 attack on Rwenzururu palace

Recollecting the 2016 attack on Rwenzururu palace
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The year 2016 bore witness to a dark chapter in the Kingdom of Rwenzururu where gross human rights violations occurred. What started as a clash between security forces and a cultural institution, escalated into a full-blown tragedy marked by indiscriminate violence, arbitrary arrests, and a blatant disregard for basic human rights.

A military operation was launched in Kasese for what they called a way to flush out 'militants associated with the royal institution.' However, it was far from a targeted operation. Instead, it descended into a bloody confrontation between the security forces and royal guards of the kingdom as Honorable Winnie Kizza narrates, resulting in the loss of countless innocent lives and leaving a trail of devastation in its wake.

The statistics by Human Rights Watch say over 100 people were attacked, some jailed, some killed and others left with nothing to call home.

Amidst the chaos, reports emerged of extrajudicial killings, mass graves, and widespread atrocities committed against civilians, including women and children. All these abuses of women were denied by the authorities even if there is evidence pointing out that they even arrested some women in the scene.

These were people's rights stamped on but I see more than that. I see women and children left without the care of a father and people denied their freedom due to political differences. Most of these families had their children drop out of school and Winnie Kizza says those are a wasted generation. Where exactly is the nation going when the young people are denied basic needs to help them grow into the adults who will take charge of the nation?

In addition to the cracks in the family setup, the situation worsened the already existing issue of land grabbing with some of these people reaching home to nothing upon return. So each day one incident leads to the violation of multiple human rights.

The political landscape has allowed for the violation of multiple rights which will take time if I am to unfold them. The families of the accused have had several children's rights violated, and basic rights denied. Also, the accused who have been jailed for over 7 years without trial have been denied their rights to be heard.

"For 7 years, our people were in jail and they had never been heard. They would only appear in court for mention,"  Kizza recollects

All legal rights are denied, and many corrupt activities taking shape to the point people are left with no choice but to ask for amnesty when it is clear that none of the cases against them can be proven valid.

Despite calls for accountability by international institutions, justice remains elusive for the victims of the Kasese massacre, many of whom continue to suffer in silence, their voices drowned out by the echoes of violence and oppression.

The Rwenzururu plight is not the only one, Kampala in 2021 and Obote's attack on the Buganda Kingdom are other examples.

We must however remember the events of 2016 not only as a dark chapter in the history of Rwenzururu but also as a stark reminder of the fragility of human rights in the face of unchecked power. Only then can we hope to prevent such horrors from being repeated and uphold the principles of dignity, equality, and justice for all.

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