PM Rugunda Tasks Internal Affairs Minister Odongo on Kibwetere Massacre

  • by Rodney Mponye
  • September 18, 2020

The Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda has sought parliament’s consideration to have the minister of Internal Affairs Gen. Jeje Odongo present an action-taken report on the Kibwetere massacre as well as compensation for the orphans.

Parliament was expecting the premier to present the report on Thursday but in his absence, the government chief whip Ruth Nankabirwa delivered a message in which Rugunda seeks to have Odongo present the status report at a later stage.

This did not go well with speaker Rebecca Kadaga who noted that parliament had directed Rugunda to present the statement since a number of her communications to his office on the matter had not been responded to. But Kadaga hastened to add that minister Odongo should prepare to present a statement on the matter.

On August 26, Kadaga gave Rugunda a two-week ultimatum to present before the House an action taken report on the Kibwetere massacre as well as compensation for orphans.

She made the directive following a petition from a group of orphans whose parents died on March 17, 2000, in a fire blamed on a religious cult known as the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God led by Joseph Kibwetere.

It is estimated that 778 believers who had gathered in the church building in Kanungu were burnt after they allegedly locked themselves inside the building. The cult believed that the world would come to an end at the turn of the millennium.

In their petition, the ‘Kanungu Opharns Group’ indicated that they had been denied access to the site where their parents were buried and that no report on the investigations into the fire had been availed to them 20 years later.

Parliament previously recommended to government to provide support to the affected persons and according to Kadaga, her letters dated 2nd September 2019 and 17th February 2020 to the prime minister were also in regard to demands for compensation by the orphans and other survivors.

To date, there has not been any prosecution in connection to the Kanungu massacre and none of the cult leaders has been found.