KAMPALA-UGANDA/NEWSDAY: In yet a new but contraditory revalation to earlier position, the Government said Thursday blogger Fred Lumbuye was still in Turkey, that its efforts to extradite him had not yielded but negotiations were underway to bring him back home for prosecution. Lumbuye faces 15 cases related to terrorism,cyber harrassment among others.
” We are still negotiating with Interpol and Turkey (to have Lumbuye brought back to Uganda) but have not succeed yet,” Foreign affairs minister Jeje Odong told a parlimantary committee on Thursday.
And the most vocal Junior foreign affairs minister on Lumbuye’s issues, Henry Okello Oryem in a self embarrassing statement said “I have never said Lumbuye had been deported”.
He on August 4, although not committal on whether actually Lumbuye was in detention, said Ugandans needed to jubilate. Oryem was addressing a press conference at the government-owned Uganda Media Centre in Kampala.
On August 6, Oryem convened another press briefing where he said all had been finalized for the repatriation of blogger Fred Lumbuye and that he would arrive in Uganda the following day on August 7 to face charges. He was never seen.
On Thursday, the shadow foreign affairs minister Nkunyingi Muwada quoting his equal, the Foreign Affairs Minister Gen.Jeje Odong and the state Minister Henry Okello.Oryem, said Lumbuye is still in Turkey.
“Minister Okello Oryem denied all his earlier media statements and confirmed to me and to the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament that Lumbuye is still in Turkey”Muwada wrote on his Facebook page.
“I have also raised many aspects concerning our Nationals abroad including passport issue and will at later date share their full responses and our next strategy in pushing many of these issues forward,” Muwada said.
The foreign affairs state minister Okello Oryem on Tuesday once again indicated Fred Kajubi Lumbuye was in the hands of Ugandan security agents.The third time he was commenting about the blogger.
Oryem during an interview with NTV on Tuesday morning said Lumbuye is “alive and will be presented to the court at the right time. People shouldn’t be worried about him. The relevant authorities will at the right time bring him before courts of law,” Minister Okello Oryem said in an interview.
Lumbuye was arrested on August 3 and two leads have since been raised including he was arrested from Uganda embassy in Turkey and that or men in plain clothes picked him from his apartment over lack of valid papers.
Extradition possibility analysis of Lumbuye
By Stephen Lwetutte
The extradition or any action against a controversial foreign national is a process not an event and is not taken lightly by host governments. It involves formal diplomatic and legal procedures that must adhere to local, regional and international standards, including litigation at all those level before, during and after the event.
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.
It will be recalled that even in Uganda, when the Rwandese nationals seeking protection in Uganda were unlawfully returned to Rwanda, heads of very senior officials rolled and a few were prosecuted by Ugandan authorities. The matter even soured the already strained relations further with accusations and counter accusations of espionage.
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.
Whatever has happened to Fred Lumbuye, if confirmed, will be the subject of a protracted action, and if reports of abductions are borne out, serious consequences for the Uganda-Turkish relationship will likely follow. Otherwise, Lumbuye’s formal extradition to Uganda can for now be safely ruled out.
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.
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.
He accused him of circulating unfounded allegations via his social media accounts.
At the time, police widened the list of the wanted individuals to include two Sweden based bloggers Eddie Messiah and Peng Peng; Uganda based Jakana Nadduli also son of NRM stalwart Alhaji Abdul Nadduli, Kojja Omugezi based in Ireland and others are all to be arrested “as wherever and soon as spotted”.
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