The Opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) has launched a drive to raise funds for educating 137 children whose parents the party claims have been abducted by security agencies over the last two years.
NUP leader Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, said at a press conference in Kamwokya, Kampala, on Monday that more than 50 party members have been abducted and have never been seen to date.
“This is just a small portion of people who have the confidence to demand for their people; thousands of Ugandans have been abducted but their families are overwhelmed. We have tried to provide some kind of support but we need a hand in this,” Bobi Wine said.
He hailed some party supporters who have been sending in support through Barbara Itungo Foundation that is run by his wife.
Last week, this publication reported that a dozen NUP supporters were still missing two years after their arrest, with the party leaders insisting that the number is much bigger.
But the Security minister, Gen Maj (Rtd) Jim Muhwezi, denied having in their custody any NUP supporters.
He said Uganda doesn’t have any safe houses where such suspects would be kept, describing the matter as “NUP propaganda”.
But the government has in the past denied arresting and holding incommunicado some NUP supporters only to backtrack on this.
For instance in March 2021, the Internal Affairs minister, Gen Jeje Odongo, tabled before Parliament a list of 177 missing people. But NUP had a week earlier tabled before the House a list of 680 of its supporters it claimed were missing.
The government later admitted that law enforcement agencies had taken dozens of the NUP supporters, but downplayed the numbers raised by the Opposition party.
Yesterday, Bobi Wine and other party leaders called on the general public to protest against the abductions.
Mr Joel Ssenyonyi, the party spokesperson, said: “Many people have been abducted in drones and taken to God knows where; those who are lucky to eventually be brought to court show up bleeding with fresh wounds.”
The missing people include Musisi Mbowa, Mustafah Luwemba, Moses Mbabazi Kawenja, John Bosco Kibalama, Shafik Wangolo, John Ddamulira, Vincent Nalumonso, Philip Michael Omaria, Martin Lukwago, George Kasumba, Denis Zimula, Hassan Mubiru and Yuda Sempijja.
Mr David Lewis Rubongoya, the party secretary general, said: “Most or some must have died. Many people have survived the drones but are in exile. Some are internally displaced and live in fear but we should come together and collectively condemn this kind of human rights violations.”
Mr Kyagulanyi also encouraged party members to demonstrate against any form of human rights violation.