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Ankole kingdom claimant kicked out of palace

by James Ateenyi
Idrisa Igumira Kitobobo (centre) with his relatives after addressing journalists at Itaaba palace on sunday

A claimant to the Ankole kingdom crown, Umar Asiimwe Rubambansi, who refers to himself as Ntare VI, has been kicked out of his Itaaba-Kyabanyoro palace. He has also been suspended from his grandfather’s family lineage until further notice.

The action was announced by Asiimwe’s father, Idrisa Igumira Kitobobo, during a press conference held at the palace on Sunday. Kitobobo took charge of the palace affairs and warned Asiimwe not to risk coming back to the palace, unless he wants to be arrested. Asiimwe, who has been executing his duties as a selfstyled king of Ankole from his palace at Itaaba-Kyabanyoro in Rwampara county was crowned in 2016 by people who believe he is the rightful king.

However, Kitobobo said he did not send Asiimwe to work as a king, but just blessed him to camp at Itaaba to lead a movement fighting for the return of the lost kingdom. Kitobobo has also taken over control of all the kingdom’s instruments of power, including the shield, spear and stick, among others, which were under Asiimwe’s control.

Asiimwe and his father claim to have got the instruments from their ancestors, the former kings of the Ankole Kingdom.


The family is also accusing Asiimwe of assaulting his father on December 31, 2018. Kitobobo said Asiimwe beat him and injured his right eye and left leg. The 62-year-old presented X-ray images of his injured arm to the media. However, Asiimwe is accusing family members of assaulting him on the same date. He says he is currently nursing wounds sustained during the fight with his family.

Tugume Mwine Igumira, Asiimwe’s young brother, told journalists that Asiimwe on December 31 brought a gang of men armed with sticks, who attacked the palace, beat up and injured his father and other family members who were waiting to usher in the New Year.

After a long fight, family members and other people who were at the palace overpowered the gang and arrested Asiimwe, who was handed over to Mbarara Police. The Rwizi region Police spokesperson, Samson Kasasira, said Asiimwe and Kitobobo opened cases at Mbarara Police Station and both recorded statements

The family is also accusing Asiimwe of running the palace affairs in a dictatorial manner, which the family is opposed to.

“With effect from today, I have taken over this palace as head of our great grandfathers kingdom lineage and I will continue spearheading the move to restore our kingdom,” Kitobobo said.

He said they also disagreed with Asiimwe over the running of Itaaba palace as personal property, yet it is family property.

“The Itaaba land belonged to our ancestors, namely Wamala Omugwezi, the father of Ruhinda Rwanjunaki, the former kings of Ankole.  This land was in the hands of the people, but we agreed with them and bought it. We call on all Banyankole to come and learn more about Ankole. We cannot accept Asiimwe to run it as personal property,” he said.

What Asiimwe says

However, Asiimwe denied assaulting his father and emphasised that his father has no authority to chase him from the palace, which he claims to own.

“I am going to chase him away. The palace belongs to me. Once I recover, I will come and chase him away, they are fighting me because they think President Museveni gave me money, yet I have not received any. The man is just looking for money,”Asiimwe said.

He said he had already alerted security about the matter and would also go to court. Asked whether he is the rightful king, instead of his father, Asiimwe said: “If he was not a king, I am a king because I was born with signs of a king.” Asked whether the fight with his son was about money Kitobobo denied it was.

“We did not fight with him over money because I did not send him to get money. I sent him to lead a peaceful movement in a bid to reclaim our lost kingdom, but he has turned out to be a dictator, and has persistently violated whate agreed on. I no longer want him here,” Kitobobo said.

He called upon the Government and Police to take up the matter, saying they were worried Asiimwe might attack them again.

Kitobobo’s family claims to be in the lineage of Ntare V Kibooga. He called on the Government to carry out DNA tests on all the people claiming the kingship of Ankole in order to iron out confusion as who is the right king. Prince Charles Rwebishengye, the son of late Prince John Barigye, son of Sir Charles Godfrey Rutahaba Gatsyonga II, the last king of Ankole also claims kingship.

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