Supporters and friends of Talk Show host Simon Muyanga Lutaaya have kick-started a campaign to raise money and get him out of prison. But the controversy surrounding his arrest has led some sections to argue that Lutaaya may simply be trying to attract sympathy from voters and members of the general public for selfish gain.
Lutaaya, the host of “One on One With Tamale Mirundi” show on NBS Television was early this week committed to Kirinya prison in Jinja district over failing to pay petition costs reportedly amounting to UGX 51m to Bulamogi lawmaker Kenneth Lubogo. Lubogo has allegedly denied being behind Lutaaya’s arrest.
Lutaaya contested the Bulamogi County Parliamentary seat in 2016 on the Forum for Democratic Change FDC) ticket and lost to National Resistance Movement’s Lubogo Kenneth with16,546 votes against Lubogi’s19,179.
He challenged his loss in the High Court citing election malpractices and lost the petition on August 19, 2016.
He later appealed to the Court of Appeal and lost on November 22, 2017. Justices Richard Buteera, Steven Kavuma and the Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny Dollo ordered him to pay Lubogo UGX 296m
Lutaaya has reportedly been paying in instalments until Monday April 30, when he was arrested and committed to Kirinya prison for failing to clear an outstanding balance of UGX 51m.
Lubogo has, in an audio message circulating on social media, has allegedly denied playing any part in Lutaaya’s arrest.
He instead cautioned Muyanga against paying any money to lawyer Hassan Kamba since he currently has no authority in the case.
“I want to make it very clear to the nation that formal communication was made and documents were formerly made and Muyanga’s lawyers were served with those documents. It is clearly stated that lawyer Kamba has no authority or instructions to recover money from Muyanga. He was paid his money and that authority was withdrawn from him because of some reasons and Muyanga knows that,” Lubogo states in the message.
He says Lutaaya could have stage managed his arrest to seek public sympathy. “There is no way someone can claim that he has been arrested.
So, what I think is that this arrest was self orchestrated and they have designed it themselves, you know when these politicians are not being talked about in villages, they find ways of making news,” he adds.
But the drive to raise money for Lutaaya’s release continues through a steering committee headed by former minister Asuman Kiyingi and former Bugabula South MP Salaam Musumba.
Kiyingi said in a meeting early this week: “We are committed to fundraising until the required amount of money is got. We are starting with Bulamogi in Kaliro district and we invite all his friends to support him.”
Kiyingi claims that he met Kamba in Jinja early this week and Kamba claimed his legal fees had not been fully covered.