Police ‘hold’ man claiming to be on list of missing NUP supporters

Ssezibwa region police spokesperson, Hellen Butoto (R) with Mr Martin Lukwago at Kayunga Central police station on December 8, 2023. PHOTO/ FRED MUZAALE

What you need to know:

  • Police said they are protecting Martin Lukwago from people who might want to harm him as they investigate his claims 

Police have said they are holding one Martin Lukwago to help with investigations after he was two days ago paraded before journalists by Kayunga RDC, Moses Dumba to try and discredit what he described as National Unity Platform (NUP) “lies” on enforced disappearances.

Lukwago, 45, was paraded before journalists in Kayunga District on Thursday to refute reports that his name was on the list of missing Ugandans NUP resented to Parliament recently.

 Police said Friday that they are protecting him from people who might want to harm him.
Ms Hellen Butoto, the Ssezibwa region police spokesperson on Friday paraded Mr Lukwago before journalists at Kayunga Central Police Station and disclosed that besides giving him protection, they were also examining his claims.
“We are still with him   to help police with its investigations and we are investigating the validity of his statement,” Ms Butoto told journalists and barred Mr Lukwago from talking to the media.

Asked whether Mr Lukwago was under police detention and whether the police were doubting his statement, Ms Butoto laughed it off and said:“He is not under detention. We are with him carrying out some investigations.” 
Mr Dumba said on Thursday that Mr Lukwago showed up at his office contending that he has never been arrested or kidnapped by security forces as reported by NUP officials.

According to the RDC, Mr Lukwago was “shocked to find his name on the list of missing NUP supporters.” 
But Mr Lukwago who claims to be a resident of Luzira in Kampala when asked on Thursday to show documents confirming he’s the person NUP reported missing, he didn’t have a national ID or any other official document detailing his particulars.

Ms Butoto on Friday displayed to journalists a copy of national identification Card registration form with Mr Martin Lukwago’s name and other details.
However, a critical look at the form showed that it had been whitewashed before Lukwago’s details were written it.

“My name is number 13 on the NUP list but I want to tell the country that I have never at any one time been abducted by security organs as NUP claims,” Lukwago, who was flanked by Mr Dumba, Kayunga District Internal Security Officer (DISO) Barasa Kildon, police detectives and other unidentified security personnel told journalists in a press briefing organized by the government officials in Kayunga District on Thursday.

At the press briefing, Lukwago said he was on January 19, 2021 knocked by a speeding vehicle at Kibuye in Kampala, fracturing his right leg.  
“I was rushed to Mulago National Referral Hospital where I was admitted for three days before I decided to seek treatment somewhere else. But while at Mulago Hospital in pain, some NUP leaders approached me and asked to register my name on the list of their supporters who had been injured during the [presidential] campaigns by government agents,” Lukwago claimed.
Lukwago, who said he had never been a NUP supporter, explained why he agreed to be registered on the Opposition party’s list of missing supporters.

“I was hesitant to register but later accepted because I wanted financial support to clear my medical bills,” he said.
Although Mr Lewis Rubongoya the NUP Secretary General had rejected Mr Lukwago’s declaration that he was the one on the NUP list and provided a photo of the missing Lukwago they were looking for, a security source who preferred not to be named told this publication there are plans to take the 45-year-old Lukwago to Parliament where he would meet the Speaker Anita Among and thereafter paraded before the MPs.

“The Speaker of parliament has been informed about this man’s revelation and she is ready to meet him (Lukwago),” a security source told this publication.