JOINT MEDIA CONFERENCE BY THE YOUTH ON THE CONTINUED DETENTION INCOMMUNICADO OF SAM MUGUMYA

Youth Activists from Political parties and Civil Societies address after addressing the press.
Youth Activists from Political parties and Civil Society Organizations after addressing the press.

11 NOVEMBER, 2014

|1000 TO 1200HRS|

1 Katonga, Kampala, Uganda

PREAMBLE
First off, we would like to profusely thank our colleagues, friends and fellow citizens from the Fourth Estate for graciously honouring our invitation to this briefing.

Before you this morning are youthful Ugandan men and women from various civil society organizations, political parties, tertiary institutions, religious affiliations, professions and vocations.

SUBSTANTIVE SUBMISSION
We have convened this media briefing for two reasons:

  1. To address the nation on a matter of a fellow citizen, friend and colleague, Mr Sam Mugumya;
  2. To demand an explanation from the Ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs and from the Ugandan diplomatic corps that is resident in the DRC concerning our fellow citizen;
  3. To express our unshakeable solidarity with Mr. Sam Mugumya and, in view of the failure to arraign him in a court of competent jurisdiction for formal charges, demand his immediate and unconditional release.

Having given the above pointers, we will now explain ourselves in detail:

News of the arrest and detention was first broken by Lt. Col Paddy Ankunda the Army and UPDF Spokesman, who in a TV interview charged, prosecuted and summarily convicted Mugumya for subversive activities, details of which he did not provide. Days later, Lt. Col. Ankunda changed his narrative and stated that the UPDF was not in possession of Mugumya and was instead waiting for him to be extradited to Uganda by the Congolese authorities.

Yesterday, the Director of the Government Media Centre, Mr. Ofwono Opondo uploaded an exclusive image of a bare-chested Sam Mugumya, purportedly under detention in the DRC.

Since when did announcing the arrest and/or detention of a citizen in another country become the prerogative of the UPDF and why is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs conspicuously silent about this matter?

Where is Maj. James Kinobe, the Ugandan ambassador to Kinshasa in all this?

To the Congolese diplomatic corps resident in Uganda, why hasn’t the Government of the DRC confirmed the arrest and/or detention?

And finally, how did Ofwono Opondo access such an exclusive image and what proof do we have that our fellow citizen is actually in the DRC?

It is evident from our questions that the actions and omissions of the Government of Uganda and the UPDF raise more questions than answers.

We will not relent from the demands we have made in the foregoing until Mr Sam Mugumya is either released or arraigned before a court of competent jurisdiction.

As the youth of this country, we will never waver from defending our fellow citizens regardless of their political affiliation, religious profession, ethnic background or socioeconomic status…all persons are equal before and under the law. The presumption of innocence is a cardinal tenet of our criminal justice system and must be respected by government.

We demand answers to and action relating to Sam Mugumya by the relevant parties cited above.

Thank you for your audience.

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