Political actors in Rukungiri district have been advised to desist from bickering and instigating divisions even when they are affiliated to different political parties.
The appeal was made on Saturday as different political leaders paid tribute to former district Chairperson for Rukungiri and Yumbe, Charles Kwebangira Byabakama. This was during a vigil at the deceased’s home in Kebisoni, Rukungiri district.
Byabakama died in Kampala on Thursday at the age of 60.
According to Dr Baterana Byaruhanga, the Executive Director of Mulago national referral hospital, Byabakama died as a result of bronchopneumonia.
Speaking at the vigil, Dr Byaruhanga said during the time when the deceased was District Chairperson in Rukungiri, he got involved in a motor accident on his way from Kampala. He got a problem with his brain but later recovered.
“Four years ago, he suffered motor neuron disease which affects muscles and causes the nervous system to fail. He lost weight and his muscles shrunk. This disease has no cure,” he said.
“I’m a senior consultant physician and I know there is no cure anywhere in the world”.
He said that a group of senior physicians as well as the Medical Board assessed him and concluded that it was not necessary to refer him abroad as there was no solution. Postmortem results indicated that his brain, intestines and heart were in normal condition but both lungs contained purse, confirming bronchopneumonia.
“Given that he had suffered motor neuron disease as I said, it made it difficult for him to breath. He could not cough normally and that’s what led to his death”.
He downplayed claims that government was adamant to provide the special medical treatment that Byabakama required, emphasizing that flying him abroad for treatment would not have changed the end result.
The vigil brought together political leaders from both the ruling party and the opposition. Among them was former Health Minister, Jim Muhwezi and former MP for Rubabo county, Prof Mondo Kagonyera.
Betty Muzanira, the Woman MP for Rukungiri said Kebisoni and the entire country has lost an important individual. She said Byabakama was a progressive leader who fostered unity and cohesion. The legislator described him as a servant leader.
“I have been reflecting on what it is we could do to honor Charles Byabakama. He was an educationist and he was a champion of good health. One of his desires was to build Rukungiri hospital which would make it easier for the people of Rukungiri to access quality health care. My desire is that we establish this facility and name it after him”.
Roland Mugume Kaginda, the MP for Rukungiri municipality said that despite him being an opposition politician, he acknowledges that Byabakama was a great leader. He said they had no grudge against the former district Chairperson, adding that political differences needn’t cause divisions.
Mary Paula Turyahikayo, the MP for Rubabo county in Rukungiri paid a glowing tribute to the deceased. She praised him for making a significant contribution during his service at sub-county, district and national level.
In his remarks, the State Minister for Housing, Dr Chris Baryomunsi noted that the warm eulogies said of Byabakama tell of the exemplary leader he was. He called for unity among the politicians in Rukungiri district.
“I know there are political divisions in Rukungiri. We shouldn’t kill each other or make enemies. We introduced multi party democracy so people have freedom of political alignment. But this shouldn’t promote bickering”.
“In as much as we use these political parties to get political offices, once we get there, we should work together to foster development”.
His message was echoed by the Emeritus Bishop of North Kigezi diocese, Rt. Rev. Patrick Tugume Tusingwire who asked political players to desist from hiding under the pretext of multipartyism to engage in divisive politics.
“In your sincerity, you should talk about these things openly. These incidents of MPs climbing tables and fighting in Parliament derail us”.
“Get out of cocoons of multiparty with their stringent ties on you. We want life to be lived together, that’s when it becomes meaningful and that’s when the difficulties become easy to solve”.
He attributed the stalled expansion of Rwamahwa Health Centre IV to the political divisions in Rukungiri.