On January, 6,2021 at around midnight, two vehicles, including a Toyota Noah and a Toyota Hiace, commonly referred to as “drone” picked up Victor Balikuddembe Makenya from a bar he owned at Jalamba village, Buwama town council in Mpigi district.
According to his sister, Angella Namirembe, Victor as he is commonly referred to, was singled out from a group of others at his bar.
“Before the arrest, during the day, some people came and pointed at him from a distance but ignored it. When the armed men in plainclothes came, they singled him out and was taken leaving others behind. The men didn’t identify themselves but just picked him and was bundled to the waiting van,” Namirembe says.
Namirembe, a bar course student at the Law Development Centre says that following the incident, efforts to look for their brother in all parts of the country, including police stations have been futile.
“We have reached out to friends in security circles for assistance but all in vain. Many ask us for his photos to be able to trace him but all have not yielded anything.”
Balikuddembe’s sister says that he left behind a wife and a three-year-old daughter and these now have no one to fend for them.
“The wife is currently a student after returning to school where she had dropped out after getting pregnant. She is now worried about the whereabouts of her husband. On Valentine’s day she reminisced how she used to enjoy the day with her husband.”
“Victor’s daughter always asks us where his father went. We keep lying to her that the dad is sick.”
Namirembe says Victor’s family struggles to fend for themselves since his disappearance and notes life has been like that for the past one month or so.
During President Museveni’s address, he stressed that no one was kidnapped but rather arrested by security and noted that government will account for every one of them.
She notes that the family had expected to get “some good news” from the address but they got nothing.
“We hoped that the president would order those arrested, including Balikuddembe to be released but this didn’t happen. We were left crestfallen,” she says.
“There were reports of human remains dumped in Mpigi and we went to check and see whether Victor was one of them but he wasn’t.”
All hope is not lost
However, all said and done, Namirembe says the family is still optimistic that Balikuddembe will one day return home alive.
“With God everything will be fine. I am sure one day, Victor will return home safe and sound,” she says.