MBALE – In my remote village of Budadiri, once it rains and the rivers flood, one or two drunkards are taken by the first moving rivers, it is normal and we are used.
However, once two days pass without a trace, the victims of the river are written off and as a ritual, we prepare a ceremonial burial to make peace with our ancestors and life goes on.
As for this subject, it is over one week and a half since Fred Lumbuye Kajubi went missing; no one knows whether he was arrested or kidnapped and by who and for what reasons save for Okello Oryem who confirmed the arrest of the motor-mouthed man from Muduma-Mityana.
To confirm his word, he went ahead and assured Ugandans that Lumbuye and other Ugandans were due to arrive in Uganda last Saturday but his assurance did not materialize making Lumbuye a hero of the sorts and the proverbial “Lumbugu” that is not so easy to uproot.
In his own words, Okello Oryem said, “Lumbuye is in the custody of Turkish authorities together with Ugandan accomplices. They have already been deported, and they are en route to the country. They will arrive in the country tomorrow morning,” meaning Saturday.
He went on to assure Ugandans that Lumbuye and his accomplices will not be tortured. On arrival, they will be received by relevant authorities, and the law will take its course” Am assuming that Oryem was speaking based on the information received from the Turkish Government and our embassy.
If Okello wanted to use this opportunity to show his boss that he is working hard, it may be time for him to swallow his words; there is no turning back and there is room for vomiting what has been captured on audio and video.
For turning himself into the public relations officer for the ministry of Internal Affairs, Okello could have dug his own grave and God forbid, should it turn out that Lumbuye is dead; the Government will certainly push Oryem under the bus alleging that what he- Okello Oryem said was not the official Government position.
As for Okello Oryem, he needs to carry out some self evaluation to establish why he has been left as State Minister of Foreign Affairs for all his life yet he should have replaced his former boss Sam Kuteesa.
The sick man of Europe as it was then known, Turkey is a developed country with a very high class security network. It is not possible that they can take more than a week to identify the location of Lumbuye unless they already know where he is.
I highly suspect that something could have gone wrong; the silence is unusual and suspicious. We hear Museveni intends to address the nation on the current security situation and we can only hope that he will shade more light on the speculations surrounding Lumbuye disappearance.
Before the Lumbuye story broke out, he was a mere Lumbuye, a boy from Muduma Mityana who failed to make his mark in Uganda and tried his lack in Turkey. While in Turkey, he became famous for blogger mongering and that is what he was doing best until he disappeared. Many of his fans in and out of Uganda have attributed his silence to a kidnap allegedly engineered by our usual; yours truly the mafias. We can only pray he is still alive.
Nine days without a trace is shrinking hopes of finding him alive since he has not made any public communication to friends and relatives. Indeed many have concluded that chances of finding him dead are 90% while others think he may never be seen again, a school of thought that I buy into.
For those who have been following Lumbuye on social media, you can tell that his comments were first hand implying that somebody within the government circles was feeding him with information. If it is true that Lumbuye was arrested on request by Government, the provider of information must have become uneasy; mafias usually sleep with their eyes open and certainly fear being exposed.
There is no way the providers of the information would allow Lumbuye to be extradited to Uganda; who knows with a little torture, he could reveal the source of his information and the hidden intentions. Hiding him or paying the ransom to have him taken to another country would be a better option and in the worst scenario, kill him to hide evidence. All this is possible.
Now for those who have been saying Lumbuye is a loyal member of the National Unity Platform, think again; all these bloggers only work with those who pay them irrespective of political affiliation, they don’t give a damn and NUP has not come out to own Lumbuye.
I do not know why the Turkish government has refused to pour cold water on people’s anxiety; they should have come out with information on where Fred Lumbuye is, after all he disappeared in their country.
If they choose to remain cagey with this information, there is only one language that will push them to act, let each and every one of us ask our friends and relatives to boycott Turkish products including their Turkish airlines that fly the Entebbe- Istanbul route almost on a daily basis. This is the only way the arrogant President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an will give us answers; it is our right to know after all.
But in all this confusion, what is at stake for Turkey as a country, to retain a cordial relationship with Uganda by being tight lipped or washing its hands off the matter in favour of their application to join the European Union?
It is understood that they- Turkey- are in advanced stages of negotiating their accession to the European Union (EU) as a member state. If by bad luck Lumbuye was killed, I personally don’t think Turkey or Uganda played any role, those who have been using him are to blame but will try to push the blame as far as they can.
I have got to remind those who don’t enjoy reading international news that in October 2018, a prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a US-based journalist and critic of Saudi Arabia’s government, walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he was murdered.
In the months that followed, conflicting narratives emerged over how he died, what happened to his remains, and who was responsible. Saudi officials said the journalist was killed in a “rogue operation” by a team of agents sent to persuade him to return to the Saudi kingdom but when he refused, taking his life was the best way of getting rid of him.
Note that at the time of his death, Jamal then aged 59-year-old was once a close ally to the Saudi royal family and also served as an adviser to the government.
But he fell out of favour and went into self-imposed exile in the US in 2017 just like Lumbuye was before the mafias followed him and sweet talked him into working for them. Just like Lumbuye, Jamal Khashoggi, wrote a monthly column in the Washington Post in which he criticised the policies of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the son of King Salman and Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler.
It was discovered after the investigations that Khashoggi’s murder was ordered by the head of a “negotiations team” sent to Istanbul by the Saudi deputy intelligence chief to bring Khashoggi back to the kingdom “by means of persuasion” or, if that failed, “by force”.
Investigators concluded that Khashoggi was forcibly restrained after a struggle and injected with a large amount of a drug, resulting in an overdose that led to his death. His body was then dismembered and handed over to a local “collaborator” outside the consulate for disposal.
As for Uganda’s Fred Lumbuye, we can only pray that he not been forced to become the late and to change his address from earth to heaven. As for now, our fingers will be crossed with the hope that one day he will return to continue from where he had stopped the kigula lugi style.
The writer, Roger Wadada Musaalo is a Lawyer, human rights activist, researcher, and politician