203 former Rwenzururu kingdom royal guards are set to receive their amnesty certificates on December 12 as the official acknowledgment that they have been pardoned by the government for any atrocities committed.
Together with their king Charles Wisely Mumbere, the group, consisting of 218 suspects, was arrested in 2016 and charged with murder, terrorism, treason, malicious damage to property, attempted murder, and aggravated robbery, following a security raid on Buhikira Royal palace.
In June this year, the director of public prosecutions (DPP), Jane Frances Abodo, withdrew all charges against all those who pleaded guilty. According to the western region Amnesty Commission coordinator, Ronald Ssakatawa, they are encouraging all persons engaged in rebel activities to come out and abandon them.
The Amnesty Commission completed the documentation exercise in the districts of Kasese, Kabarole, Bunyangabu, Ntoroko, and Bundibugyo.
Ssakatawa noted that whereas the government has given amnesty to the group anyone who engages in criminal acts thereafter will be arrested and prosecuted. Ssekatawa noted that the commission also intends to support the group to start income-generating activities once they acquire resources. He stressed the challenge of funds that limits the commission from carrying out its duties effectively, especially in areas of rehabilitation.
Edwin Mumbere, the coordinator for former Rwenzururu royal guards applauded the guards and thanked the government for setting them free but requested support so that they could enhance their livelihoods. He is also concerned that a number of royal guards lost key identification properties like IDs and this is preventing them from accessing key services that require identification.