It wasn’t long ago that Charles Wesley Mumbere was working as a nurse aide at the Golden LivingCenter-Blue Ridge Mountain in Harrisburg, Pa., caring for nursing home patients and keeping mostly to himself.
That was then. Last week, Mumbere was coronated king of the Rwenzururu Kingdom in the western mountains of Uganda, where a populace of about 300,000 has waited for decades to be recognized as a kingdom by the African nation’s leadership.
The Associated Press reports that the former nurse aide inherited the crown in the 1960s, at age 13, and came to America in 1984 for a formal business education. But when his government’s tuition stipends ran out amid Ugandan political turmoil, he applied for and was granted political asylum in the U.S. in 1987.
The king-in-exile told reporters he chose a career in nursing because it seemed like a stable profession.
In Uganda, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni last week undid the actions of his predecessor and began officially recognizing the nation’s indigenous kingdoms, including Rwenzururu, prompting Mumbere’s return after 10 years of negotiations. He claimed his crown on Oct. 19.
Museveni insisted that the local kings have no political power, but rather limit themselves to local cultural matters.
A photo on the Rwenzururu kingdom’s home page, which can be found at rwenzururu.com, shows a picture of Mumbere’s royal procession entering the kingdom under a banner, as his subjects look on from the side of the road. The photo bears the caption, “The King returns from a Foreign Trip.”