LOP’s Rejoinder in Missing Persons Case Fails to Address Government Statement, Exposing Opposition’s Dishonesty

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The Leader of Opposition (LOP) in Parliament, Mathias Mpuuga, has failed to prove the existence of several people whom he had alleged were kidnapped by security operatives and have been missing since.

Yesterday, December 5, Mpuuga tabled a rejoinder in Parliament, where he was responding to a statement by the government about alleged missing NUP supporters and the existence of political prisoners.

In the report from the Minister of Internal Affairs presented on the floor of Parliament by the State Minister for Internal Affairs, Gen. David Muhoozi, he stated that some of the people allegedly missing were fictitious while others were never reported to police as missing persons.

The minister revealed that searches were carried out in different government databanks: Interpol, Forensics, NIRA, City Mortuary Kampala, and Immigration. In NIRA records, information about nine people out of the eighteen wasn’t available, casting doubt on their existence.

“Investigations revealed that Ssemuju Joseph does not exist, as listed in LOP’s tabulated matrix (of missing persons). The contacted next of kin insisted that the alleged Ssemuju Joseph is actually Baguma Joseph, whose alleged disappearance was never reported,” reads the report.

The minister further revealed that there is a well-orchestrated smear campaign to aid people who seek to go abroad in search of livelihood opportunities to claim political persecution and persecution for belonging to sexual minorities, stating that even those who leave are listed as missing persons.

He highlighted that Onzima Godfrey, alias Tower, and Kikomeko, alias Yekolera, alias Itongwa, who evaded appearing in court for assaulting Kamuntu Fuan, alias Majambere, were aided to leave the country. The two were due for prosecution when they fled, but LOP also listed them as missing people.

In a rejoinder presented in Parliament, Mpuuga failed to prove the existence of the said factious person, nor could he deny that some people had fled the country in search of livelihood opportunities.

This is not the first time NUP has falsified evidence about an alleged missing person and the torture of their supporters. On February 13, 2023, one Mwesigwa Eric was paraded before the media by NUP president Robert Kyagulanyi at NUP offices in Kamwokya, Kampala, claiming that he was tortured and burned on his chest using a flat iron by security operatives.

However, contrary to the torture narrative by NUP, it was later established that Mwesigwa Eric was lured into a deal by NUP, and the wounds were inflicted on him by the same group after promising him monetary gains and treatment with the sole purpose of maligning the government. Mwesigwa made the confession to the media on March 1, 2023, after NUP abandoned him with his wounds without treatment or pay.

Relatedly, in December 2022, Moses Simbwa, a resident of Jinja City who got involved in a motor accident and sustained severe injuries in 2021, was paraded by NUP leaders before Human Rights’ funders as a torture victim during a meeting in Kenya. Another individual identified as Richard Ssebuganda, a medical student at Makerere University who lost his fingers to a teargas canister explosion during the “open for all” protest as he tried to throw it back at the police, was also paraded as someone who lost his figures to torture.

NUP has been castigated multiple times by supporters, delegates, and human rights organisations for fabricating kidnappings, faking torture, and making baseless accusations that shade government in a negative light.

Such deceptive allegations continue to raise doubt about NUP’s assertions concerning the presence of missing persons and whether there’s any existence of political prisoners in Uganda.

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