RDC parades before media man claiming to be on list of missing NUP supporters

Left is the Martin Lukwago who NUP claims is missing while right is the 45-year-old Martin Lukwago who was paraded by the RDC saying he was not abducted by security officials as claimed by the opposition NUP party. Inset, he displays scars from injuries he said were sustained after an accident. PHOTO/FRED MUZAALE

What you need to know:

  • The man says he was “shocked to find his name on the list of missing NUP supporters” presented to parliament by the opposition party.

In attempt to discredit what he described as National Unity Platform (NUP) “lies” about enforced disappearances of their supporters, Kayunga Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Moses Dumba on Thursday paraded before journalists a man claiming to be on the list of missing Ugandans on the opposition party’s list tabled before Parliament recently. 

Dumba said a one Martin Lukwago, 45, 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, Lukwago was “shocked to find his name on the list of missing NUP supporters.” 

“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 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.

When asked to show documents confirming he’s the person NUP reported to be missing, he didn’t have a national ID or any other official document detailing his particulars.

The December 7, 2023 press briefing comes days after the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Mathias Mpuuga, tabled before Parliament a list of 18 names of NUP supporters who were allegedly “abducted by security operatives” before, during and after the 2021 controversial presidential poll which some analysts have described as one of the most violent elections in the political history of Uganda.

According to NUP, one of their local mobilisers, Martin Lukwago, a father of three was abducted from Bugolobi Market in Kampala on November 23, 2020. He was aged 32 and has never been seen since.
Dumba told journalists that the 45-year-old Lukwago reported to his office in order to be guided on how to meet Parliament Speaker, Anita Among, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja and President Museveni so that he can “water down the lies being traded by NUP leaders.“

He claims he has since 2021 been living in Kamuli Village in Kangulimira Sub-county, Kayunga District.
At the Thursday 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.

However, he says he never received any financial support as promised despite being in constant communication with NUP leaders.

Lukwago adds that when he returned to his home in Luzira where he continued to receive treatment, a friend took him to Kayunga District to help him supervise construction works at Legency Resort Hotel towards the end of 2021.

“I worked at the hotel construction site as a supervisor until January 2023 when I returned to Kampala where I am currently staying,” Lukwago added.

However, Lukwago refused to disclose his current residence, claiming it would compromise his personal security.

“I also want NUP leaders to scrap my name from their list because I am here,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lukwago first told journalists at the press briefing that before the accident he was a secondhand cloth vendor, but he quickly changed his statement and said he was he is a timber dealer.

Asked to show his national ID, he said he didn’t have any.

NUP Secretary General Lewis Rubongoya said he called Martin Lukwago’s family who informed him that “their relative (Lukwago) has never been found.”

“I want to see his photo so that we can compare it with the one we have because this one could be another Martin Lukwago and not the one we have on our list,” Rubongoya noted.

But Rubongoya also wondered why Lukwago chose to go to the Kayunga RDC’s office and not local leaders in his area of residence.

“He should even have come to the NUP office and informed us,” he remarked.