The National Unity Platform leaders and former presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine has written to the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen David Muhoozi and the Defence Minister, Adolf Mwesigye demanding answers for the missing party supporters.
In a petition dated March 16, 2021, Kyagulanyi says that a number of the party supporters have in the past few months been abducted by security operatives, mostly from the army without getting any answer to the cause of the disappearances.
“The few individuals who have surfaced have confessed to having been held at Makindye, Mbuya, Kalangala, Nakasongola, Kyengera and Kasajjagirwa military facilities. Others have been held from unknown centres run by the military personnel whereas Gen Museveni in his recent address stated that some of our missing supporters are in the custody of the Special Forces Command,” Kyagulanyi said in the petition.
Kyagulanyi says in his petition that in almost all cases, the missing supporters who have resurfaced have visible torture marks that he insists have been inflicted by security operatives while in detention.
“The purpose of this letter is to demand that all Ugandans still under illegal military detention are released immediately. We further demand that there is justice for those who have been tortured. The perpetrators must be brought to justice and the victims of torture must be compensated,” he says.
In his petition, Kyagulanyi says the army should stop trying civilians in the General Court Martial as it has happened for a number of their supporters.
Whereas government through the Ministry of Internal Affairs recently released a list of 117 people they said have been missing and are in detention, the opposition dismissed the same saying the number is bigger than that.
Minister Gen Jeje Odongo told parliament that 43 of these had been arrested for participating in riots whereas 156 were found in possession of military stores and others were apprehended while in meetings planning post-election violence.
Legislators told the minister that the list was defective.
Later, NUP president Robert Kyagulanyi later presented a list of 423 supporters that he said are still missing and are suspected to be in the hands of security.
“We have so far verified 423 of our supporters who were kidnapped and are still missing. Gen. Jeje Odong only accounted for 89 of them,” Kyagulanyi said.
However, the NUP leader said some of the names on his list had been found tortured whereas others were dead.
President Museveni earlier this year said no one is missing, adding they are in the hands of security over various charges.
“Therefore, the talk of disappearance should be ignored because it can’t happen under the NRM. Even if a mistake is made it will be addressed and answered. There is nothing we do and hide. I was hearing in the papers that there is a stampede on the issue of disappearance. Every Ugandan under NRM will be accounted for,” Museveni said in his February address to the nation.
He defended the army on arresting the people who have been since declared missing saying they are criminals.
“The arrests, termed “disappearances” by some, came as a consequence of the myopic plans by the enemies of Uganda that started some years ago. Therefore, the disappearances are a consequence of the essentially, treasonable acts of elements of the opposition. It is dishonest for anybody to talk about the mistakes if any, of the Security Forces without talking about the origin of the problem: treason, using terrorism by the opposition. Criticize the Army if justified, but also criticize those taking the unconstitutional road of terrorism, intimidation, sectarianism,” he said last week.
However, speaking during the IPOD summit at Kololo Independence grounds, Museveni said the group made grave miscalculations by trying to destabilize the country but noted some of them would be released.
“Two have been released. 51 are still there but will also be released but they have been helping security to know more about the scheme of the miscalculators. I will ask the DPP to review each case and recommend a soft landing for each of the people arrested. Most of them have been misled,” Museveni said .