Mr Moses Kibalama, the man who handed over the National Unity Platform (NUP) party to Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine has gone missing from his home for three days and security personnel wearing military uniform have been deployed at his house since he disappeared on Monday.
People close to him said Mr Kibalama was last seen at his home in Buwambo village in Wakiso District said the former escort and driver to the late president Milton Obote was last seen on Monday morning being driven out of his house by his driver.
When Daily Monitor visited Mr Kibalama’s home in Buwambo yesterday, his private guard, Mr James Eyotu, said people in military uniform had barred him from accessing the second gate which leads to his boss’ house.
Inside the gate stood three armed men in military attire who did not allow any journalist to access Mr Kibalama’s house.
“Toka hapo, harakisha, (leave that place, hurry up)” one of the men in uniform ordered Daily Monitor reporter in Kiswahili.
Residents told Daily Monitor that strange people had been asking them about the movements of Mr Kibalama but they could not tell the motive.
“Strangers one day asked my wife who has a shop next to the office of Kibalama [in Buwambo town] about where KIibalama lives and what time he comes to the office. There have been many people moving in this area and asking about Kibalama,” the resident said.
Mr Fred Kizza, one of Mr Kibalama’s sons told Daily Monitor yesterday that they were worried about their father’s life because his telephone numbers had been switched off since his disappearance on Monday.
“I tried to call the driver but the person who picked up the phone told me to assure our family that our father was safe and was with the security answering some questions. I haven’t heard from him up to now,” Mr Kizza said at their home in Buwambo.
However, Brig Gen Flavia Byekwaso, the spokesperson of Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), said the army had not deployed at Mr Kibalama’s home.
“We only came to learn of the deployment at Mr Kibalama’s home this morning. UPDF is not responsible for it and we don’t know where Kibalama is. This could be an operation held by our sister agencies but if I get any developments, I will let you know,” Brig Byekwaso said in a telephone interview.
Mr Joel Ssenyonyi, the NUP spokesperson said: “We are still examining this matter to understand what is happening. We know that the state is going to hold onto anything to make any claims but we are clean and ready for anything.”
In July this year, Bobi Wine unveiled the NUP party at a joint press conference with Mr Kibalama who said he had been convinced to hand the party to the musician-cum-politician because of the values the latter espoused.
Two weeks after this declaration, however, Mr Kibalama said unknown people had intruded into his home one night and tried to harm him but he managed to escape.
Yesterday, Mr John Ssali, the Local Council chairman of Buwambo central village, said he had received several complaints from Mr Kibalama about the security threats to his life and had informed police about it.
“This gentleman has been telling me that he is scared for his life. A few weeks ago when he approached me, I informed the OC (Officer in Charge of police) station, he deployed and they fired twice in the air to scare anyone away. But his disappearance has put the village in more fear,” Mr Ssali said by telephone.
This is not the first time Mr Kibalama is getting into trouble after handing NUP party to Bobi Wine. Last month, two people, Mr Difas Basile and Mr Hassan Twala, petitioned High Court saying Bobi Wine illegally used the NUP documents to become the presidential flag bearer for the party and his candidature should be nullified.
Bobi Wine was jointly sued with the Electoral Commission (EC), Attorney General (AG), NUP acting president Moses Nkonge Kibalama, NUP leaders David Lewis Rubongoya, Aisha Kabanda, Joel Ssenyonyi, Flavia Kalule Nabagabe, Fred Nyanzi Ssentamu, and Paul Ssimbwa Kagombe.
During the hearing of the case in court, a lawyer from the complainants’ side presented an affidavit claiming Mr Kibalama had sworn new evidence that the process of registering the party had been done fraudulently.
This contradicted the earlier affidavit presented to court by the defence team where Mr Kibalama had presented sworn evidence that the process of transferring NUP to Bobi Wine had been transparent and lawful.
On Tuesday this week, Justice Musa Ssekaana dismissed the petition, saying issuing an interim injunction against the nomination of NUP candidates could stir confusion since the party had participated in some elections.
Yesterday afternoon, a video whose source and circumstances could not be established, circulated on different social media platforms where Mr Kibalama and Mr Ssimbwa appeared saying Bobi Wine had not fulfilled the pledge to pay them $5m (about Shs18b) for the ownership of the opposition party.
Daily Monitor could not readily verify the source or the circumstances of the video by press time.
But at the launch of NUP political party in July, Mr Kibalama said there was no monetary transaction in their deal with Bobi Wine.
In a two-page statement published on his social media platforms, Bobi Wine responded to the video saying it is an attempt by President Museveni and NRM “to derail our progress in the struggle for freedom and democracy.”