Town Agent, Commercial Officer in Trouble For Alleged Extortion

Ben Muftimukiza, the Principal town agent for Southern Division in Kabale municipality is in trouble for alleged extortion. Muftimukiza, who Chairs the registrations committee at Kabale Central market spent the night in custody at Kabale central police station.

He was picked up on Monday night on the orders of the Local Governments Minister, Raphael Magyezi in a meeting with Kabale Municipal officials and a section of vendors protesting the recent relocation exercise from the temporary Kabale police barracks playground to the newly built Kabale central market.

A group of vendors rose up in arms accusing Kabale municipal authorities led by the Mayor, Emmanuel Sentaro Byamigisha, and Prossy Tuhiriirwe, the Assistant Program Officer in Charge of Community Development in the Minister of Local Government of bungling up the relocation exercise. 

Vendors, who had converged in a meeting with Sam Arineitwe, the Central Division LC 3 Chairman to forge a way forward on how they can get help were dispersed by anti-riot police under the command of Abel Ruganza, the Kabale District Police Commander. Sentaro later revealed that he had sent the police to disperse the vendors because their meeting was illegal. 

As a result, Arineitwe petitioned Magyezi to intervene in the matter. During the meeting with Magyezi in the main hall at Kabale Municipality headquarters, which started at around 06:00 PM and ended at around midnight, disgruntled vendors led by Canon Jack Katarishangwa, the chairperson of the allocations committee, Simon Mashemererwa, and Leopold Twerisye, accused Byamugisha of illegally appointing Mashemererwa as the Chairperson for allocations committee. 

They also accused MuftiMukiza of receiving Shillings 10,000  from each of them in 2019 as a registration fee to ensure that they get lockups when the new market is completed.  The vendors told the minister that they were shocked when relocation time reached and Muftimukiza in collaboration with Byamugisha and Fidelis Akankwasa, the Kabale Municipality Commercial Officer started making fresh registration, which disadvantage them. The vendor also pinned Akankwasa for demanding bribes ranging from shillings to 3-5 million to allocate them lockups. 

Magyezi tasked Muftimukiza to explain the circumstances under, which he became the head of the allocation exercise and why he received 10,000 Shillings from vendors. Muftimukiza fidgeted to respond to the queries prompting Magyezi to order his arrest. Magyezi also ordered the police, Kabale Resident District Commissioner, and District Internal Security Officer to ensure that Akankwasa is also apprehended.

Byamugisha however refuted the accusations against him, saying that they are being fueled by his political competitors. Our reporter was unable to get a comment from Akankwasa since he is on the run.    

Magyezi has since pitched camp in Kabale Municipality to conduct more investigations into the relocation mess.  In 2019, the government contracted the Chinese firm, Chong Chong International Construction (CICO) to upgrade the market at Shillings 23 billion Shillings under the World Bank-funded Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement program – MATIP III. The market was handed over to the government in December 2022.

Scroll to top