IBANDA. The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) flag bearer for Ibanda South parliamentary seat has gone missing under circumstances that have sparked suspicion of kidnap.
The disappearance happened three days after FDC presidential candidate Kizza Besigye campaigned in the town.
Mr Alex Byaruhanga was last seen at 8pm on Monday in Ibanda Town after taking supper in a hotel near his home, according to officials in the FDC campaign offices in the town.
He is competing with the incumbent MP, Mr John Byabagambi (NRM) and Mr Peter Takahikire (Independent).
The district Police Commander, Mr Denis Ocaya, on Wednesday confirmed his office had received information about Mr Byaruhanga’s disappearance and was investigating the matter.
However, he doubted the kidnap and speculated that Mr Byaruhanga could be hiding.
Mr Byaruhanga, 27, hails from Kikyenkye Sub-county in Ibanda. Several announcements about his disappearance had been aired on radio but there was no trace of him by press time.
FDC supporters in Ibanda town said Mr Byaruhanga had received information on his phone asking him to step down from the parliamentary race, claiming the voters did not want “change.”
Ibanda district FDC chairperson Donald Murigye said unknown people had been sending messages on Mr Byaruhanga’s phone for him to pull out of the race and stop campaigning for FDC presidential candidate Besigye.
Dr Besigye campaigned in the district and the town last week.
Mr Murigye alleged that mobilisers from other political parties had been inviting him to meet them and asking him to defect.
By Thursday afternoon, Mr Byaruhanga’s supporters were trooping to the FDC offices along Bufunda Street to inquire about his fate.
Four police officers accompanied by his mother Leocadia Byaruhanga and his sister went to his house in the town on Wednesday but found it closed. They examined it and ruled out the possibility that he had locked himself inside.
“I had spent about a month without seeing him, but we have been talking on phone. I have not talked to him since Monday,” the mother said.