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‘They’re abducting everyone’

Why the crackdown on Bobi Wine supporters may backfire on Museveni and NRM

Kampala, Uganda | IAN KATUSIIME | On Feb.09, Lydia Nassolo emerged from Mityana’s newly constructed Kitalya Prison, 56kms west of Kampala City, and pondered her next step. Her husband, Umar Kagimu, was not in the detention facility.

“It was January 21 at around 3pm when men in a drone picked him up from his work place,” she told The Independent in reference to a silver Toyota delivery van that has become the symbol of abductions of Ugandans perceived to support former presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu aka Bobi Wine and his party  National Unity Platform (NUP).

The following day, she says, the men; some wearing military uniform and others in plain clothes descended on their home in Wakiso District, a few kilometers out of Kampala.

“They were about 30, searched our house, took his National ID, ATM card, computers and laptop, and drove away with him,” she said.

Since then Nassolo  has been to the army offices in Mbuya, Makindye Barracks but she is yet to see her husband. This has been the trend for hundreds of families over the past one month.

The General Elections held on Jan. 14 saw President Yoweri Museveni declared winner in the presidential race with a 58 per cent vote margin but lost heavily to Bobi Wine in the central region where almost all ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) candidates in elective positions were routed-   a development that has triggered paranoia among ruling party folk.  Desperate to consolidate its power, the NRM government through its state agents has embarked on random abductions targeting supporters of Bobi Wine and NUP.

The felling of almost all government ministers including Vice President Edward Ssekandi, in the previous election is believed to have fed the creation of bogus intelligence reports that NUP supporters were planning to burn Kampala, reports that President Museveni seems to have believed.  Hundreds of Bobi Wine supporters have been reportedly abducted, tortured and some killed.

Bobi Wine has repeatedly called for the release of his supporters who have been abducted by state agents over and over again.

On Feb. 10, the former presidential candidate visited Kitalya prison “to stand in solidarity with our comrades who have been incarcerated there for 43 days now”, he wrote on his Facebook page.

He added, “I looked at the thick walls of Kitalya and thought about the hundreds of NUP supporters incarcerated there for no crime whatsoever.”

Joel Senyonyi, the spokesperson for the NUP says the party lawyers are compiling a list of all those that have been kidnapped by state agents.

“35% of the people detained in Kitalya are NUP agents and supporters,” he told The Independent on Feb. 9.


  1. Things are worsening in Uganda

  2. AFRICA for africans alone.
    Its absurd that we intend to be independent,i understand that whites are donors to Uganda but it seldom means we cant do without them,so i think they are not our gods and matters arising about inhumanity in uganda should initially be solved by AU before penetrating to our perpetrator and Neo-colonialists because your enemy cant give you free food unintentionally.

    • Kyambadde Livingstone

      Parroting M7’s pseudo anti-imperialist rants doesn’t address the topical issue of kidnaps, torture & murder of political opponents by security operatives.

      The sovereignty you speak of isn’t absolute and also doesn’t give the govt the power to wantonly violate it’s citizens human rights. Besides humanity (which includes white people) has a duty to call-out or even to put to stop any such human rights violation in any part of the world.

      The history of AU, & in it’s earlier version the OAU suggests it cannot take action against any human rights violations given the way it’s funded, structured or administered. Also the AU lacks the means of enforcing its resolutions. Besides offending govt/ head of state could threaten to defund the AU to disabuse it of any pretense to power it may asserting.

      Internally M7 has also weakened Uganda’s institutions that should have countered & brought to book his security bodies’ human rights violations. This leaves only the EU/US with the means & the will to stop M7 shenanigans.

      Don’t get surprised that millions of Ugandans havevwelcomed the timely intervention of the EU/US whatever the motive of the EU/US.
      As in any case M7 & his associates are behaving like a foreign occupying force given their looting, neglect of public services, human rights violations.

      • EU has its own problems. You can ask them what led to the UK walking out on them. It was also in Europe that the partition of Africa was plotted to take away the independence of the whole continent. It seems you are reporting to the EU as your God-parents. Forget it!

        “This leaves only the EU/US with the means & the will to stop M7 shenanigans.” I didn’t know there were such colonized people still existing in Uganda. The Wazungu must be laughing at such a poor soul still believing in them.

    • The whites are not the problem my friend. If the AU has done nothing about the gross human rights abuse in Uganda, it’s not the EU’s problem. For the EU to sit there and do nothing when Ugandans are being tortured, kidnapped, and murdered would be grossly irresponsible. The EU can’t be like the bogus AU.

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