“The Commander of the FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo) North Kivu Region, Brig Gen Muhindo Akili Mundos has confirmed that forces under his Command arrested Former FDC Leader, Dr Kiiza Besigye’s Political Assistant Mr Sam Mugumya on 21st October 2014. This was during a Joint News conference with his Ugandan Counterpart, UPDF 2nd Division Commander Brig Peter Elwelu following a Security meeting in Kasindi Town of DRC on Tuesday 12th November 2014. Brig Mundos said Mugumya was arrested alongside 02 other Ugandans and 02 Congolese after the entered the country through an illegal entry point near Ishasha boarder. He added that Mugumya was using false names “Katembo Mukiga William” but on interrogation he was proved be Sam Mugumya. He said they suspect he could be involved in dangerous activities likely to hurt the current cordial relationship between Uganda and DRC and as a result he was transferred from his headquarters in Beni, to the capital Kinshasa for further investigations” (UPDF – FARDC confirms Sam Mugumya’s Arrest, 14.11.2014).
Today on the 21st October 2022, it is confirmed that Sam Mugumya is released from Ndolo Military Prison in Kinshasa. Mugumya has now spent 8 years behind bars or a total of 96 months in prison in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mugumya has gone through a lot. The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) pushed for his release and also being moved to Uganda. However, the authorities in Uganda didn’t want him to return. That why we know his been a political prisoner in the DRC.
He was arrested because of his political affiliation and that he was associated with Dr. Kizza Besigye. That was the reason for his imprisonment. It wasn’t because of his supposed connections to militias or anything. This was the excuses and arguments, which the authorities used to keep him in prison. He was a political prisoner and have paid a huge price for doing so.
Mugumya has suffered in prison. No one can say it has been easy. The man has been torn and could have gotten a broken spirit. Instead he has soldiered on and awaited freedom. He has stood tall in the midst of adversity and shown his strength.
Okello-Oryem did state in fact in 2016 that there was no chance of a fair trail or extradition. That was how this score was settled and Mugumya just had to pay the price. He was a victim of the association and the allies he had chosen. That’s why he was taken into custody and moved to a prison in Kinshasa. All because he was affiliated with Besigye. This was all the authorities needed and they let him suffer for 8 years.
It is good to see the picture of Sam Mugumya holding a note “Free At Last”. Also another picture on the outside of prison. He shouldn’t have been a felon in the first place. He has suffered, paid the cost and should be paid by the state for the injustice. However, we know there will be no consequences to the ones who detained him or held him captive. Mugumya was a victim of circumstance and political activism. That’s all it took.
The price for standing tall and being brave cost him 8 years. 8 years in a miliary prison in Kinshasa. Mugumya deserve not only a heroes welcome, but to be honoured for his bravery. He could have given in and been gone by now. However, he soldiered on and knew deep down it would end. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t have been this hard.
The authorities of DRC failed him and so did the authorities in Kampala. If he had been one of “them“… they would have sent a military attaché and picked him up somehow. However, he was a target and the NRM was happy, that he was out of sight and out of mind. Peace.