Former Presidential Advisor, Canon Bitunguramye Dies at 102


Kisoro – Canon John Bitunguramye, Senior Presidential Advisor on Kigezi and First Kisoro District LC5 Chairperson, has passed on aged 102.

One of Kisoro’s notable statesmen and leaders, Canon John Bitunguramye has been at the helm of politics and development of Kisoro and Kigezi region as a whole for more than 40 years.

He is renowned to have been the last Secretary General of Kigezi and the first Chairman LC5 of Kisoro district from 1991 to 1999.

He was also instrumental in the forming of Muhabura Diocese and he contributed to the building of mostly Anglican churches in Kisoro.

According to a family member, ays the 102 years old Canon Bitunguramye passed on at his home Kamonyi Village Northern Division Kisoro Municipality on Saturday evening after over 6 years in a wheel chair after he suffered stroke.

Abel Bizimana, the Kisoro LC5 Boss, has described the fallen Canon Bitunguramye as a committed Christian which earned him favor in former Ankole-Kigezi diocese who He worked with faith and earned trust to the extent serving a big position in that vast church area of jurisdiction.

“He participated actively in shaping politics of Kisoro as a sub district of Kigezi, Kabale and finally a leader of the then new Kisoro district; an unsung hero who was loved and hated in equal measure both in church and government,” eulogized Bizimana.

Sarah Nyirabashitsi Mateke, the state Minister of Gender, Labour and social Development (youth and children affairs) and also district Woman MP revealed that Kisoro district have lost an icon of development but as church as well.

“He rose from a Primary teacher to being the first Kisoro LC5 chairperson and he held various leadership roles in modeling Kisoro politics,” said Mateke.

Dr Philemon Mateke, the Former Regional affairs State Minister and Kisoro NRM boss, told our reporter that the fallen Canon Bitunguramye was his mentor since childhood and his primary teacher who made him to love politics.

“It was his hard and zeal that Kisoro got to be a district making him its first chairperson,” said Dr.Mateke.

Sam Byibesho, the Former Kisoro Municipality MP, eulogized Canon Bitunguramye as a patriotic Ugandan that put first his country and serving God.

Canon John Bitunguramye is one of Kisoro’s notable statesmen and leaders. He has been at the helm of politics and development of Kisoro and Kigezi region as a whole for more than 40 years.

He is most famous for being the last Secretary General of Kigezi and the first Chairman LC5 of Kisoro district.

He was also instrumental in the forming of Muhabura Diocese and he contributed to the building of mostly Anglican churches in Kisoro.

Canon Bitunguramye has been bed ridden since 2016 when he was airlifted to Kampala for specialized treatment after President Museveni intervened and sent a Military chopper and in 2019 he lost his Wife Grace Nyirakwezi Bitunguramye to cancer.

19-Dec-1957 Married and wedded wife Grace daughter of Simeon and Peresi of Nyagashinge. They were married for 62 years till the death of Grace in February 2019. They had 6 children, many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Born to Semajeri, son of Seburo; and Rachel daughter of Muzukira and Nyarugendo inCyintare Village, Nyakinama Sub-County, Kisoro District.

He studied at Bishop Stuart College Kakoba study teaching and he graduated as a Grade 2 teacher. After this he held various teaching positions including serving as a head teacher.

Notable of those appointments was his appointment as Headmaster, Seseme Girls Primary School in, He was later appointed Assistant Secretary General of Kigezi. At that time Kigezi spanned many districts in western Uganda including current Kabale, Kanungu, Ntungamo, Kisoro, Rukungirietc

Later he was appointed the Secretary General of Kigezi He was the last Secretary general of Kigezi because after this period Kigezi was divided into smaller administration units (districts) .

But after the 1971 Military Coup against President Obote by Amin he briefly left politics due to security concerns and went back to teaching at Rutoma Primary School in Kabale.

But in 1980 He was later appointed First Postmaster of Kisoro as in the same year 1980 he became the founder and Co-ordinator of Seseme Girls Secondary School

1983 After handing over leadership of Seseme Girls school he continued to serve in different capacities on the Board of Directors including as Chairman Finance Committee, Seseme Girls Secondary School in 1983. He was on the Board of Seseme Girls School till the late 90’s

1983-1986 He became the chairman Kisoro Town Council and he is known to have led the team that built the first offices of the KTC.

1986 He continued to lead Kisoro when it became upgraded to a town council.

He was chairman Kisoro town Council.

1985 In 1985 he started a church at Mubuga. The current St. John Church of Uganda parish. He built the chrurch on the land that belonged to his family. He said his father, upon becoming a Christian before his death had told him he should build for God a church on that land. He set out to build this church in 1985, drawing up the sketches for the church building himself and putting his personal finances as well as organising mass fundraising for the project. He successfully completed the church in the early 2000s. He also started the church at Kaboko as well as contributing to various other church of Uganda projects. He continued to serve as Mubuga Parish board member and the Chairman Building Committee in 2012 and Chairman, Planning and Development, Mubuga Parish till 2014

1991 to 1999 He was the Chairman Local Council 5, Kisoro District from 1991 to 1999 and he is remembered for having led the development efforts of the newly formed district. During his tenure Kisoro was for the first time connected to the electricity grid and piped water was extended to major parts of Kisoro, many new roads were built throughout the district and new district offices were built in their current location. He has received recognition for his contribution to Kisoro district development by having a road named after him.

1995 He was given life appointment as Honorary Warden of Uganda National Parks Organisation in 1995 in recognition of his contribution to wild life conservation efforts including in the gazetting of land for Mgahinga National Park and other parks in Kigezi region.

1991 to 1996, 1997 to 2001 Chairman NRM, Kisoro District.

He was Chairman NRM Kisoro and also led Kisoro NRM task force where together with other NRM cadres secured land slide victory for NRM in two consecutive presidential elections.

He was also a member of National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NRM during that period, representing Kisoro district.

2010 to 2012 Synod Member, Muhabura Diocese. (The synod is the highest governance body of the diocese of Muhabura and it includes both clergy and respected lay leaders)

2012: Member of International Community Banyakigezi

June-2012 to date; He was appointed as Senior Presidential Advisor on Kigezi Issues in 2012 and his tenure was renewed in 2016. He holds this position to date.

On 1st May 2015 he was awarded a presidential medal of honour by H.E President Museveni during labour day celebrations for his service to the country.

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