KAMPALA – The Mityana Municipality MP, Francis Zaake and and a top official in the National Unity Platform – NUP has said that they need $71,000 (over Shs250m) to cater for the legal fees of the missing Turkey-based Ugandan blogger Fred Lumbuye.
In a Facebook live video on Monday, Zaake said the required amount is to be paid to Lumbuye’s lawyer in turkey who is working around the clock to block his deportation to Uganda.
According to him, so far $20,000 (over Shs70m) has been collected through fundraising by NUP supporters in Uganda and abroad.
However, the party Spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi said that none of them knows the whereabouts of Lumbuye, crying out to the government to produce him.
“Three days ago, Foreign Affairs State Minister Henry Okello Oryem at a press conference said that political activist Fred Lumbuye was on a flight to Uganda having been deported by Turkey, and that on arrival, Uganda police would hold him and produce him in court to answer certain charges which charges he didn’t mention. It’s been three days since Fred was expected in the country but he hasn’t surfaced anywhere. Now that Uganda government officials were aware of the trip and said they would hold him for questioning on return, they should account for his whereabouts,” he said in a Facebook post.
Minister Oryem speaking to the press on Friday afternoon at the Foreign Ministry headquarters confirmed that Lumbuye would be deported back home on Saturday.
“Lumbuye to be deported to Uganda tomorrow morning. On arrival he will be put in custody and later brought to book for inciting sectarianism using social media.,” the minister said.
According to the minister, Lumbuye was in Turkish custody with some other Ugandans and they had been charged with several offences they had committed.
“They will all be deported. Nobody is above the law, including me. Lumbuye and his friends will have to pay the price,” minister confirmed.
However, addressing the media on Monday morning during Security Task Force Spokespersons on the general security situation in the country at Police Headquarters Naguru, Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga said that Lumbuye was not in their custody.
Enanga, however, revealed that they have 15 cases that they will bring against him once he is handed over.
Last week, Zaake said that they (NUP) hired an international human rights lawyer to mitigate the “extradition efforts” and rather push for the granting of asylum documents to the wanted anti-government blogger Fred Lumbuye “so he could be taken to a safer haven in another European country or North America.”
The NUP’s Facebook and YouTube vlogger, who has been for long wanted by the Ugandan government is known for making reckless statements online via Facebook Live against President Museveni, the first family, Buganda Kingdom, Katikiro Peter Mayiga and other government personalities.
In many of his vlogs, Lumbuye could be seen donning the popular red beret attached to the people power movement and its supporters in Uganda.
In July, 2021, the spokesperson of the Criminal Investigations Department, Charles Twine said that security agencies had intensified efforts in tracking the blogger whom they say was the prime orchestrator of the devastating news of the ‘death’ of president Museveni.
This followed President Museveni’s directive to security services to quickly investigate and follow up individuals who peddle false news on social media.
“We need to solve this issue.. it is not security but an idiotic problem..social media. Social media has been saying Museveni is dead. When I went to Bombo people were looking…. Because they had been told by social media that Museveni is dead. Security service needs to solve that problem. They need to check and locate quickly, the one who tells such as story and waste peoples time. They should go for you, locate where you are and come for you. If you are in Europe, we denounce you. Say go to hell! he said.