Opinion: Mugumya arrested as a ADF in 2014, but released in 2022 as a M23…

What happened in Beni?

I found officers from Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence who interrogated me about the Allied Democratic Forces. One of the most painful things I witnessed is someone die out of suffocation and unfortunately I leaned against his dead body for the entire night.

How did you know they were CMI operatives? Were they clad in uniform?

They had army uniform and they introduced themselves to me as such. On the first day, they were two. They asked if I had links with ADF then shortly after said I was coming to link up with the People’s Redemption Army. I told them I was just running away from your brutal regime. On the second day, another set of three CMI operatives came. I remained in Beni for three weeks before I was called for a joint interrogation between Congolese authorities and CMI. They debated if to bring us back to Uganda or hold us in Congo” (Ivan Okuda – ‘I was arrested while fleeing to exile, says Mugumya, 19.12.2015, Black – Journalist, Cursive – Mugumya, Daily Monitor).

You know when are story is too good to be true, it’s most likely not true. The story of Sam Mugumya will be one for the ages. The sudden way he was kidnapped, taken-away in October in 2014 and later found out to be in custody in Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo in November 2014. He also spent time in a prison in Kisangani as well. Before he was transferred from there to Kinshasa and Ndolo Military Prison, where he spent most of the time behind bars until his released on the 21st October 2022.

Mugumya spent 8 years in custody. As he was arrested for involvement in the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF-NALU). As he was supposed rebel with a fictitious name: “Katembo Mukiga William”. There was also additional factors put into play like he was having either “cargo” or “bags of monies”. Which have never been proven or evidence for the public to see. Therefore, a lot of hearsay and never any real given fact.

Now 8 years later in the documents released as his free. They are now claiming he was involved or participated in the Mouvement du Mars 23 (M23). That is in contrast to the reported connection to the ADF-NALU, which was rumoured for years.

Mugumya himself said he was arrested, as he was fleeing to exile himself. The Dr. Kizza Besigye aide was trying to get to freedom, but instead was sent to the slammer abroad. The Observer reported this back in 2014:The army spokesman, Lt Col Ankunda, said then that Mugumya had been found in possession of dollars and was suspected to be involved in subversive activities” (Edris Kiggundu – ‘Where is FDC’s Sam Mugumya?’ 11.11.2014, The Observer).

There are so many words, but nothing definite. What is likely is that the authorities apprehended him within Uganda and kidnapped him. Because, no one knew where he was and he suddenly disappeared. Later to be find in custody in Beni (DRC) which means the authorities of Uganda did help him cross and get detained there. It happened in such a manner, that he never returned and was a suspected rebel or a militia member.

That’s why you know these stories don’t add up. It is total fabrication and an injustice served Sam Mugumya’s way. He has been a victim of his activism and association with Besigye. If he hadn’t been a part of Reform Agenda and Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). He wouldn’t be here. The authorities targeted him, because the likes of him was the future. We are seeing that happening today with associates of the National Unity Platform (NUP) who are kidnapped and disappearing for the public sphere. Therefore, Mugumya is just a representation of the oppression the government of Uganda is doing. While they where able to use the Courts and Prisons to silence Mugumya for years.

It is a long time to be paying the price for doing the right thing. Mugumya has paid a huge price and it has cost. Back in the day he was ADF and now his M23. You just know the whole thing is made up. That’s the gist of it.

What is tragic is that Mugumya spent 8 years behind bars and only because of political affiliation. He was a target and a means to an end. That’s why he was kidnapped and never returned to Uganda. Mugumya lingered in jail because of who he was affiliated with. That was all the authorities needed and Military Court could find excuses to keep him behind bars too. It took years before he went to trail and now that his released. The story has changed again.

I wonder where the “cargo” and where the “dollars” went. If they even existed. Secondly, the UPDF spokesman Paddy Ankunda better have his story straight now. Especially, if his asked about this. It’s all a unique situation and this sort of thing has to be tested.

This is injustice and Sam Mugumya has been scarred, he has been tested and worse, he paid a price of losing eight valuable years. He lost so much time in detention, instead of being free and a voice of reason. His now free, but his story needs to be told. As it is a story on how the authorities targets dissidents. Peace.

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