Police have initiated an investigation into the circumstances surrounding an arson attack on the home of Frank Byaruhanga, the speaker of Kanungu district. Byaruhanga, who is also the Chairperson of South Western Uganda Tea Nursery Bed Operators, reported that on Friday night around 11:30 PM, while he and Mwesigye Anthony were asleep in their home in Ruyayo village, Kihihi ward, Kihihi town council, they heard a loud explosion.
Upon rushing outside, they witnessed two men running away as Byaruhanga’s Toyota Hilux Double Cabin pickup, with registration number UAX 023S, was engulfed in flames. Byaruhanga reported the matter to the police on Saturday morning. Despite the efforts of neighbors to extinguish the fire, the vehicle was burnt beyond recognition. Byaruhanga speculated that the attack might be related to conflicts between him and certain leaders he described as mafias in Kanungu.
Elly Maate, the police spokesperson for Kigezi region, confirmed the attack. Despite police efforts, led by Assistant Superintendent of Police Emmanuel Tumikunde with a police sniffer dog, no suspects were apprehended. The case is registered at Kihihi police station under file number CRB 30/2024.
Byaruhanga has been involved in disputes between technocrats and political leaders in the district. Earlier this month, he led a group of political leaders demanding the transfer of David Batega Tweheyo, Kanungu Chief Administrative Officer, accusing him of collaborating with the Information Minister Chris Baryomunsi to impede service delivery in the district.
The tension lessened after a reconciliation meeting held in Kampala. Additionally, Byaruhanga is in a serious dispute with a faction of the South Western Uganda Tea Nursery Bed Operators over the alleged misappropriation of 39 billion Shillings received from the government through the National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS) intended to compensate affected tea farmers.
In September 2023, members of parliament accused Byaruhanga and Patrick Kiconco Katabaazi, a lawyer attached to Pathway Advocates, of receiving money from NAADS into their private accounts instead of the association account, subsequently withdrawing the funds without compensating farmers.