Former Forum for Democratic Change president Kizza Besigye has said the arrest and detention of his aide and activist Sam Mugumya in the DR Congo is an attempt to frame him and other Opposition actors ahead of 2016 general elections.
Addressing journalists at a press conference in Kampala yesterday, Dr Besigye said: “I have information that they are interrogating him (Mugumya) with a view of linking me to rebel activities. This case of Mugumya has a history of a rogue regime that is intent on criminalising a legitimate political opposition.”
He said the news of Mr Mugumya’s arrest in DR Congo came as a shock to him and could not, therefore, tell whether he [Mugumya] crossed to Congo for any reason, until he is able to speak to him.
“He has been a subject of persistent and intense persecution from the Ugandan regime. He has been arrested, tortured and detained for several times. It is highly possible that Mr Mugumya was kidnapped from his home area in a fresh attempt by the regime to create a rebel group and criminalise us with it,” Dr Besigye said.
Mr Mugumya was arrested last week. Army spokesperson Paddy Ankunda confirmed his arrest, stating that he (Mugumya) was being investigated and would soon be repatriated to Uganda.
Dr Besigye said the NRM regime was doing everything in its power to discredit opposition leaders ahead of the 2016 elections. “All these gymnastics are aised by the forthcoming 2016 general elections and are intended to paralyse those who plan to contest for power,” he said.
Dr Besigye described the remarks made by Lt Col Ankunda in the wake of Mr Mugumya’s arrest as ‘ominous’.
“He (Ankunda) said of Mr Mugumya: ‘his days are over’ and ‘finally Sam Mugumya has been arrested’. The statements suggest to me that sectors in the UPDF have intimate knowledge and are involved in the arrest of Mugumya.” Lt Col Ankunda denies the allegation.
When contacted, Mr Okello Oryem, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said: “Mugumya is a Ugandan citizen and whatever he does, even if he is our worst enemy, we owe him consular services. We don’t politicise issues … Any Ugandan is entitled to consular services.”
Dr Besigye appealed to President Kabila to get involved in ensuring that Mr Mugumya is safe and his rights are protected and that if there are charges against him, he is promptly brought and charged in court. He also appealed to International Human Rights bodies and those operating in Uganda and Congo to take a keen interest in the matter, saying the arrest is political.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor