Throughout the weekend there were reports that Turkey-based Ugandan blogger and government critic, Fred Kajjubi Lumbuye was landing in the country to face different charges.
This followed confirmation by the state Minister for International Affairs Okello Oryem that the dissident critic had been arrested and was being brought home anytime soon.
However, when the Turkish Airways touched down at Entebbe International Airport , there was no evidence of the critic.
To comfirm his absence further, Speaking during the weekly security briefing at Police headquarters in Naguru, police spokesperson Fred Enanga disclosed that Lumbuye is not in their custody yet.
“If he’s not in our hands, how do you expect us to come out and tell the public where he is? The police is a very respected institution and we’re going to wait until he’s handed over to us,” said Enanga before revealing how they already have 15 case files against him.
Immigration spokesperson Jacob Siminyu also confirmed that Lumbuye is not in Uganda.
“We do not have any information indicating that Lumbuye entered Uganda,” said Siminyu.
Now it has emerged that the Ugandan government is not finding it easy to have Lumbuye returned, thanks largely to efforts by the National Unity Platform, (NUP), who have mounted a campaign to have Lumbuye instead given asylum in the Netherlands.
Reports indicate that NUP have dispatched a delegation to Turkey to try to rescue their man.
In a social media post by Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake, NUP tirelessly followed up and engaged the concerned Turkish authorities to establish what had inspired the eventual arrest of their comrade which they were since briefed that he was incarcerated allegedly on the command of the regime which ‘imposed trumped charges meant to silence his resolve’.
He further said that they hired an international human rights lawyer to mitigate the extradition efforts and rather push for the granting of asylum documents to Lumbuye so he could be taken to a safer haven in another European country or North America.
“Our lawyer wrote to the Turkish attorney and laid a series of humanitarian and political grounds that would implore Turkey to heed to our prayer of either granting comrade Lumbuye a resident permit to stay within or consent to his asylum to another willing country which in this case was Netherlands where the paperwork of asylum had even been concluded,” he said.
He further says that as a party, they solidly and overtly stood against Lumbuye’s extradition.
“We were against the Museveni regime’s plans to take Lumbuye to Uganda for trial. We have all acted in accordance to our means. What we need to advocate for at the moment is that our comrade regains his freedom,” he said.
It emerges that the Turkish government may want to use the Lumbuye situation as payback time since Uganda also refused to handover some individuals who were wanted by the Turkish government.
A few years ago when some military men went on riot and wanted to overthrow Recep Tayeep Erdogan’s government, Turkey accused the US based dissident Muhammed Fethullah Gullen of plotting to overthrow his gov’t.
The Gullen Movement was believed to be among the supporters of the Turkish Light Academy and Erdogan wanted them banned from Uganda but Museveni refused.