This story is a tragic one and it’s never ending. One man is behind bars without charges, indictment or court trial. This being Sam Mugumya, Dr. Kizza Besigye aide and opposition activist who was travelling to Rukungiri on the 16th October 2014 to take care of his family affairs, as his brother had died and he needed to take care of his frail mother. He was also planning to get connected with the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party members in the district.
We don’t know what happened since then, but we do know he resurfaced suddenly in the Democratic Republic of Congo and been arrested there with other civilians too.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform the general public that the Uganda Ambassador to the DRC met the Administrator General of the National Intelligence Agency of the DRC who confirmed that 5 individuals of Ugandan origin were arrested in Eastern DRC on October 21st 2014. The arrested individuals have since then been transferred to Ndolo Military Prison in the outskirts of Kinshasa. On 4th December 2014 Amb. Kinobe was allowed to visit the Prisoners and confirmed the following individuals:
1. Sam Mugumya, aged 35 years, son of Tukahirwa stanley, who called himself “Mukiga William” at the time of arrest.
2. Mugisha Steven 35 years, son of Tibanyeba John of Buyanja, Rukungiri
3. KamukamaAggrey, 30 years, son of Kagurusi Eliab of Buyanja, Rukungiri
4. Kamugisha Joseph 28 years, son of Mugisha Justus of Buyanja, Rukungiri and
5. Bright Nathan 20 years, son of Kwesiga John of Buyanja, Rukungiri” (Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Press Release, 10.12.2014).
Besigye in the beginning of it all, believed the state would use these kidnapping and arrests in the DRC as a shield and means to claim the opposition was starting ‘rebel’ activity. In a manner of which could be used to hurt Besigye’s future political campaign ahead of the General Elections in 2016. Besigye have had such charges against him and his brother too. So, it wasn’t without any reasoning that Besigye spoke about this in November 2014. A month after the arrest.
The party his been affiliated with has with time paid for and serviced a Congolese Lawyer for the case of Mugumya without any luck. That was done in 2016. We know that the Government of Uganda will not repatriate or secure his home-coming either. While his stuck in prison all these years.
Oryem-Okello said this back in 2016: “Government says Mugumya was engaged in subversive activities and was arrested with dollars and sensitive documents State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Oryem Okello told parliament this afternoon that due to lack of an extradition treaty between Uganda and DR Congo, the Congo government has declined to send him back” (Uganda Radio Network – ‘Sam Mugumya Will Not Be Extradited- Govt’ 01.12.2016).
In May 2021 he was able release a poem called ‘We refuse to be victims’ which goes like this:
To bear defeat’s humiliating standard.
Pitiable, helpless, crushed and confused.
That is victimhood’s pathetic face
It soots our effulgent souls
Comrades, pity not us prisoners.
Treat us not as victims
We are proud resolute recusants.
Soldiering on with a smile.
Never pious before the devil.
Pity and contemn the despot.
Our chains condemn his conscience.
Injustice jails the jailer’s humanity.
Drench him in your tears.
Hearken marley’s revolutionary voice bellowing.
Of the despot he said
Pity those with thinning chances.
They have nowhere to hide
The despot is the victim .
The slave of his power.
Branded by debauchery’s hot iron.
Before we become his victims ,
Freedom’s matyrs we shall be.
Shed not sorrowful tears comrades.
Please shed tears of joy.
On victory’s tide we sail .
To a future of freedom.
I just got to say. This man deserves justice. His been served injustice for years and punished by association. Because, he dared to associate and be part of Besigye’s campaigns. He was one of the trusted individuals within the FDC. That’s why he have been serving time and somehow the Ugandan government made an agreement with the Congolese government to keep him in prison.
They have not let him out and neither has Ugandan authorities accepted him back. They will not extradite him back and that is very clear. MPs tried to do this in 2020 and 2021. However, there is no extradite agreement between the DRC and Uganda. Therefore, there is now will to engage or secure this. That is just common knowledge.
It have not mattered that Mugumya have suffered with COVID-19 and other issues as a prisoner. This political prosecution is never ending it seems. The proofs of the allegations haven’t happened and his kept as a civilian in a military prisoner indefinitely it seems.
We know with certainty that the government doesn’t care or concerned. Because Oryem-Okello stated the same facts in 2020 and wouldn’t have him on trial or had a chance of extraditing him. With the same response as before, no agreement so nothing to offer. The diplomats of the Republic in Kinshasa isn’t bothered about it either it seems. Since, his there to this day and they haven’t lifted a finger. This is why his still a jail-bird and no proof of the alleged incriminating behaviour of which he was arrested in 2014.
We are now in November 2021 and his still in Ndolo Military Prison. Mugumya is still behind bars and nothing is done about it.
We need to shed a light on it, because if not… everything goes dark and men like this doesn’t get justice. They don’t get liberty or the freedom they should have. This is injustice and his a political prisoner. His a prisoner of conscience. That is it and it’s pathetic of the Republic to not do anything about it. Try to ensure and secure his passage. Make arrangements with the Congolese and even let him have a fair trial or courtship with his case. Because at this point, his not even proven guilty. His just a commoner behind bars for no apparent reason. A man who went missing in Uganda and suddenly was in custody in another republic. Peace.