KAMPALA-UGANDA/NEWSDAY: Government’s frantic moves to extradite Fred Lumbuye had not yet yielded by time of this publication as it emerged Saturday that although the blogger had been booked on four flights but was on none.
Manifests of four flights of the Emirates, Ethiopian, Egyptian, and Turkish all had a passenger Fred Lumbuye Kajubi believed to be the blogger but the quadruplet did not deliver him. Government was still silent on the developments.
On Friday junior foreign affairs minister Kennedy Oryem told a press conference Lumbuye was due to arrive back in Uganda on Saturday morning (today).
“He will be brought back here to face charges,” deputy foreign affairs minister Kennedy Oryem told a press conference on Friday
But according to foreign affairs minister for the shadow government who is also the Member of Parliament for Kyadondo East Mr. Muwada Nkunyingi, Mr. Lumbuye has not yet been returned to Uganda.
“Our investigations indicate he was booked on several flights but he did not arrive. We don’t know the circumstances under which government booked him on several flights. For us we insist he must be accorded full rights like any Ugandan. As per the Ugandan laws, he has no crime and he is innocent until proved guilty,” Nkunyingi said.
He said they are investigating circumstances under which Uganda could successfully extradite a Ugandan without any enabling law or legal instrument with Turkey on extradition, but was upbeat that Lumbuye’s non arrival on Saturday morning, meant government had not yet secured its intentions.
Lumbuye went missing barely a month after some bloggers announced the Ugandan President dead and Mr. Museveni retaliated by saying “we will arrest those idiots”.
Initial reports indicated that Lumbuye had been arrested by Turkish police but later, though, reports spoke of an abduction by unknown persons and that police was investigating. But all of that has not been corroborated neither by Ankara nor Kampala.
On July 12, the Police’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID) spokesperson Charles Twiine indicated in an interview that after a long time of Kajubi’s falsehoods, it had now dawned on him. President Museveni has earlier on July 8 directed security teams to locate and arrest bloggers who were allegedly misusing social media. It came after he had “proclaimed ill and later dead”.
Lumbuye is based in Turkey and has consistently been an anti-government blogger. He commands a huge following and viewership, and has lately taken the cyber waves by storm. His characteristically acerbic live shows seem to whip up anti-government mood and sentiments across a section of the public who religiously listen to him. Mr Lumbuye regularly claims to be privy to sensational highly classified intelligence from within the Ugandan establishment via his “drones”, and on a few occasions, his information has happened with astonishing accuracy.
In his interview with Newsday on Saturday morning, Nkunyingi said that if there will be any interrogation, it must be taken in the presence of his lawyers or family.
“He must be allowed to go home but not detained under a safe house or military barracks. There is information, Lumbuye is not medically okay and as the National unity Platform, they are seeking for transparency,” Nkunyingi said.
In Turkey a team led by Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake had secured legal teams but had not met with the detainee.
“We suspect foul play and we think his life is in danger. Lumbuye’s arrest is the responsibility of the Ugandan government as Turkey has remained silent on the matter,” he said.
Meeting with Turkish ambassador
On Friday, Nkunyigi presented their concerns about Lumbuye’s arrest and why they discouraged his deportation and the ambassador promised they would have a discussion with the Ugandan government.
why extradition is unlikely
A Ugandan Lawyer based in the United Kingdom, Mr. Stephen Lwetutte says it is extremely unlikely that any formal Turkish action would lead to return Mr Lumbuye to Uganda given the internationally well-publicized human rights record of the current Ugandan regime under president Museveni, even if extradition was justified.
“No country at the moment is willing to soil its image by putting an individual in harm’s way,” Lwetutte says.
He adds that in Turkey itself, a famous anti Saudi government dissident, Jamal Khashoggi was abducted and murdered, which angered Turkey, the United States and the world. Saudi Arabia had to come clean and admit responsibility, but that did not prevent US sanctions against its staunchest ally in the Middle East.
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