By APN Reporter
Religious leaders from various religions in Kanungu district and Kigezi sub region as a whole have called on the president of Uganda to immediately move in and take action against Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, the State Minister for Housing for what they referred to as continued harassment and torturing of religious leaders in the area.
The minister is implicated in scandals which include an attack on Rev.Herbert Kiconco, the Kinkizi Diocesan cashier, Abdallah Nzigira the chairperson of the Muslim supreme council for Kanungu and Rukungiri district and the most recent one taking place on the 2nd of September 2020 where he reportedly ordered his body guards to the raid Rutenga catholic parish.
It was during the raid on the parish by operatives who were traveling in a vehicle belonging to his wife Fosca Baryomunsi registration number UBD340R first purported to have been sent by president Museveni to back up the minister before forcefully entering the priest’s residence where they messed up the entire house and also gained access to his bedroom.
The operatives are also accused of sacrilegiously mishandling sacred objects among them, the monstrance used in the Catholic church during the time of benediction. It is where the blessed sacrament is kept. It has a transparent container in which the consecrated Host is exposed for adoration.
Tumukurate says that the action tantamount to a sacrilege
Rev. Fr. Andrew Tumukurate the Parish Priest of Rutenga Catholic Parish in Kanungu was kidnapped by unknown people who tortured him at Kanungu resort hotel also owned by Dr.Chris Baryomunsi and later dumped him at Kanungu Police Station.
Fr Tumukurate says the assailants found him attending to members of Rutenga Catholic Church Sacco and bundled him into the car drove off.
The priest also says the kidnappers took the money amounting to 19.4 million shillings and shared it amongst themselves.
He says that part of the money worth 12 million belonged to Rutenga catholic church Savings and credit cooperative organization while the balance was for the parish.
Today, religious leaders from different religions pitched camp at Rutenga parish to show support for Rev.Fr, Andrew, and also condemn the actions of the minister which they revealed that they have become the order of the day.
The religious leaders from the Anglican church, Catholic church, Full Gospel church and Muslims come together to condemn what they termed as impunity from the minister.
Rev.Canon Keneth Kanyankole the Kinkizi diocesan secretary who led a team of 7 priests from the Anglican church revealed that the attack on the catholic priest is an attack on all religions and God as well.
Kanyankole revealed that the religious leaders in the area have suffered at the hands of the Minister who also doubles as the member of parliament for Kinkizi east county and that this must stop.
Kanyankole also delivered the money to buy new beddings for the priest from Bishop Dan Zoreka saying that the priest could not continue sleeping in the same beddings which were scattered and messed by the operatives.
Abdallah Nzigira the chairperson of the Muslim supreme council for Kanungu and Rukungiri districts told the meeting that he was also attacked by the minister and his operatives who were travelling in numberless vehicles.
He says that he was attacked alongside Brother Kato Johnbosco of Bishop Combon college and accused of supporting Deus Nkwasibwe who was challenging the minister for the NRM parliamentary flag.
Kigezi inter-religious Council chairperson Rev.Fr.Gaetano Batanyenda who also doubles and the parish priest for Kitanga revealed that the president should move in and bring his minister to order and also ensure that the money shared by the operatives is repaid.
Batanyenda revealed that all religious leaders are vital to the society adding that those targeting religious leaders are being oppressed by satan.
Frank Byaruhanga the National Resistance Movement-NRM party secretary for Kanungu district who also doubles as the district secretary for social services says that the people of Kanungu have suffered at the hands of armed hooligans attached to Dr. Chris Baryomunsi claiming to be attached to special forces command and that the people would like to get clarification from the head of state whether it is true that he is the one who offered the said guards as alleged by Baryomunsi.
Deus Nkwasibwe who was challenging Dr.Chris Baryomunsi for the contested Kinkizi NRM party flag told our reporter that it is unfortunate the minister did not only stop at harassing locals who did not support him but also opened war on religious leaders accusing them of campaigning against him.
Nkwasibwe revealed that the minister owes an apology to the people of Kanungu and all religious leaders.
Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, the state minister of housing however, has come out to refute claims of his involvement in the kidnap.
Baryomunsi has however since then denied the allegations saying that he holds the clergy in high regard and treats them with the utmost respect.