There is a huge gap between the number of people that the government says are missing and what leaders of the National Unity Platform (NUP) party say they have gathered.
Saturday Monitor has sampled different places across the country and gathered tales of abductions that have taken place during the ongoing political season.
While addressing newly elected NUP councillors last week at his home in Magere, Wakiso District, NUP president and presidential candidate in the January 14 election, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, said an estimated 3,000 party members have been abducted.
But Internal Affairs Minister Gen Jeje Odongo told Parliament on Thursday that the government is only aware of 31 missing persons whose whereabouts they are yet to establish.
He said a total of 44 reported kidnappings had been recorded at several police stations but only 13 had been investigated conclusively by the police.
In Mpigi, a total of 10 people are believed to be in the hands of security. Among these are Ms Gertrude Kawooya, 66, a traditional birth attendant at Kyewanise Village, Kituntu Sub-county.
Kawooya was reportedly picked up by armed men from her work place and driven to an unknown destination on January 9.
Mr Abdul Rashid Nkinga, aka Jjaja Katikanyonyi, the Buwama Town Council chairperson- elect, was kidnapped on January 6.
Others who were kidnapped on the same date include Mr Ronald Mugerwa aka M.R ,a prominent entrepreneur and proprietor of Jazz African Motel at Mitala Maria Trading Centre in Buvama Town Council, Mpigi District, Baker Kawooya of Lukadde Zone, Buwama Town Council, Mr Victor Makenya ,a resident of Jalamba Cell in Jalamba Ward and Mr Godfrey Kisembo, aka Buyaaya ,the proprietor of Buyaaya Glass Mart in Buvuma Town Council.
Mr Emmanuel Bazira , Fred Kijjambu, Willy Bogere –all traders in Buwama Town Council.
Muhammad Ssekimpi of Kayunga Village, Nnindye Parish, Nkozi Sub-county was abducted on January 20 by armed men who were travelling in a van with tinted glasses commonly known as drone. It had no registration number.
Ms Lydia Tumushabe , the Katonga regional police spokesperson, confirmed that the relatives reported cases of missing persons but the police have not yet established their whereabouts.
“We ask the public to come to us if anyone has information about these people. As police, we don’t know where they are, but investigations are ongoing,” she says.
In Kyotera District, a total of 19 residents have been missing since January 8 after being kidnapped by unknown gunmen.
The missing people are all residents of Kisamula Cell in Kasaali Town Council, Kyakkonda Ward in Kyotera District.
Mr John Paul Mpalanyi , the Kyotera County MP-elect , says the victims were picked up from their homes at night on different days during the month of January .
Mr George Kasumba, a former aspirant for Kasaali Town Council, Kyotera District, also went missing on the eve of elections on January 19 and his family members have failed to trace him to date.
Mr Patrick Kintu Kisekulo, the Kyotera District chairperson–elect, says they have given the government a one week ultimatum to unconditionally release the victims or inform their relatives where they are being held.
“It is unfortunate that ugly things which used to happen during the past bad regimes are resurfacing today when our beloved President [Museveni] is the one in charge,” he says
“ According to our records more than 1,000 people have been reported missing by 200 families but we ask the powers that be to talk to security agencies which carry out these arbitrary arrests to stop, if there are cases these people committed let them be produced in court ,” Mr Nasif Najja, the NUP coordinator in Wakiso District, claims.
We did not see the records he referred to.
Some of those missing in Wakiso, according to Mr Najja, are John Bosco Sserunkuma, a district councillor- elect for Nansana West, and Rogers Galilwango, a councillor-elect representing Nansana West at Nansana Municipality.
In Masaka , Mr Michael Mulindwa Nakumusana, the Nyendo-Mukungwe Municipality mayor-elect, says over 15 people are still in illegal detention though some were released last month.
He says a big number of those abducted were picked up from Nyendo, Kyabakuza, and Kirimya-all Masaka City suburbs.
The wife of one of the abductees, who identified herself as only Sylvia for purposes of her safety, says a white saloon car with covered number plates came to their rented room in Kimaanya Zone, Kimaanya- Kabonera Municipality; Masaka City on January 20 during lunch hours and took away her husband .
“They were three people inside the car and the one who was driving was wearing an army uniform and the other two were in civilian clothes, they ordered him [husband] to enter the waiting car and they sped off,” She says.
Mr Henry Mukiibi , also a resident of Kijabwemi Village, says one of his friends, John Mary Birimuye, was picked up by security operatives when watching European football matches at Tropics Bar.
“We have checked with police, but he is not there,” he says
Mr Muhammad Nsubuga , the southern regional police spokesperson, says they simply hear reports of missing persons in the media and relatives have not yet reported to the police.
In Mukono, where 15 people are missing, Ms Christine Byogero, the wife of Junior Kiberu (one of the victims), says it is now a month since her husband went missing .
“We reported the matter to police but we have not been helped, the search is still on,” she says.
Ms Hadijah Munyenze , the mother of Abdul Karim (missing person) says her son was abducted from Kabembe Village and they have not seen him again. “My son is not a politician, but I don’t know why he was abducted,” she says.
Mr Innocent Ssemuddu, a resident of Kabembe Village, says six people were abducted from his neighbourhood, of which four have since been released while two have not been seen since December.
In Mityana , three people –all residents of Wabigalo Village ,Tamu Division ,Mityana Municipality - are missing, according to Patrick Mugisha Nshimye, the newly elected district chairperson .
Some four youth in the same district are also nursing wounds at Mityana General Hospital, which relatives say they sustained during brutal arrest by police on January 16.
The victims include Ramadan Kaweesa, Muhammad Nsereko, Ali Musisi and Matia Kibirige –all casual labourers at Kitinkokola Village .Nsereko was rendered unable to talk while the other victims are visibly weak.
The victims were reportedly picked up from their homes after police suspected them to have mobilised residents ,particularly youths to riot, following the arrest of Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament Francis Zake in Kampala on January 16 while he attempted to visit Mr Kyagulanyi.
LIST OF MISSING PEOPLE
Yuda Ssempijja Mukono
Juma Mukasa Mukono
Sula Kiwanuka Mukono
Joseph Kyakuwa Mukono
Muhammad Nahiru Mukono
Junior Kiberu Mukono
Abdul Karim Muganga Mukono
Twaha Kagimu Mukono
Isma Ssenkubuge Mukono
Stephen Ntulume Mukono
Muhammad Kanatta Mukono
Gaza Kharim Mukono
Muhammad Mutebi Mukono
Musa Male Mukono
Sowedi Lwanga Mukono
Jolly J. Tukamushaba Rukiga
Gertrude Kawooya Mpigi
Abdul Rashid Nkinga Mpigi
Ronald Mugerwa Mpigi
Baker Kawooya Mpigi
Victor Makenya Mpigi
Godfrey Kisembo Mpigi
Emmanuel Bazira Mpigi
Fred Kijjambu Mpigi
Willy Bogere Mpigi
Muhammad Ssekimpi Mpigi
Shafik Nyombi Kyotera
Andrew Kakinda Kyotera
Vincent Muwonge Kyotera
Emmanuel Ngobya Kyotera
John Kiwanuka Kyotera
Ronald Muwonge Kyotera
Farouk Mukapa Kyotera
Javiira Luyombya Kyotera
Mahad Mukasa Kyotera
Fahad Kasinga Kyotera
Ronald Kawuki Kyotera
Barrack Kyazze Kyotera
Sulait Kyambadde Kyotera
Emmauel Ssegirinya Kyotera
Ivan Kawenja Kyotera
Frank Lusembo Kyotera
Derrick Ssebugenyi Kyotera
Mahd Kyakuwa Kyotera
George Kasumba Kyotera
John Bosco Sserunkuma Wakiso
Rogers Galiwango Wakiso
Compiled by Al-Mahdi Ssenkabirwa, Wilson Kutamba , Malik F Jjingo, Robert Muhereza ,Denis Edema, Ambrose Musasizi, Joseph Kiggundu, Barbra Nalweyiso & Wilson Kutamba