Kampala, Uganda | EVA NAMUGABI – URN | Stella Nayiga, 24 year old wife of one of the 177 ‘missing persons’ listed as being under government custody, is wondering who has been eating the food she has on several times taken to Kitalya prison for her husband Kassim Migadde, 32.
While Prisons Commissioner General Dr. Johnson Byabashaija clarified that cooked food is not allowed into the prison, Nayiga says the food she has been taking was accepted by officers at the entrance to the prison.
“We do not accept cooked food from outside to the inmates. No,” Byabashaija said on twitter after the news broke, adding that “I believe she knows whom she has been giving the food. All our uniforms have names emblazoned on chest pockets.”
Nayiga explained that before the government released the list of the people they have in their custody, she has been taking food and other items to Kitalya prison. However, the list of the 177 detainees on which Migadde appeared shows that he is detained in Makindye barracks instead.
This has left Nayiga wondering whether someone has been enjoying the food items and other requirements that include sandals, toothpaste and soap that she delivered to Kitalya for him.
‘‘I have been taking rice, cooking oil, sugar, soap and other items to Kitalya and spending over 200,000shs every time I go there,” Nayiga says. “Now I am just wondering who could be the person taking advantage of a poor woman like me for all the tree times I have delivered things there!”
Nayiga narrates that her husband Migadde, a boda boda rider in Kajansi was arrested by people in a drone vehicle on December 21st 2020, from Kajansi in broad daylight.
She says she learnt about the arrest of her husband on December 23rd 2020, from one of his friends who was present during the arrest at Kajansi stage.
Nayiga explains that the information she got was indicating that Migadde was taken to Makindye barracks, but on reaching there on December 26th 2020, the security personnel on the entrance told her that they did not have any one with the names of Kassim Migadde and she was referred to Kitalya prison.
She says that after two days she went to Kitalya prison and on reaching there, she was told that the person she was looking for was not there.
‘‘When they told me that he was not at Kitalya prison, I decided to go back to Makindye that very day with my anger but this time with my husband’s brother,” Nayiga said. “This time we were very furious with the security officer who was on the gate who then admitted that they have my husband though they did not allow us to see him.’’
Nayiga says that on January 18th 2021, she read from the newspapers that Uganda People’s Defense Forces- General Court Martial in Makindye had remanded seven National Unity Platform-NUP supporters to Kitalya prison for unlawful use of military uniform and her husband Migadde was among them.
She says that after reading the news article, she had to wait up to February 1st 2021 when accused were to return to court though this never happened, according to her.
She says that she gained confidence when the information she got from the article was confirmed by the security in Kitalya that her husband was under their custody. Nayiga says that she tried to reach out to the National Unity Platform –NUP about the matter .
It was at this point that she learnt about the presence of Edward Ssebufu aka Eddy Mutwe in the same prison. She narrates that on the first visit to Kitalya prison she went with people who had gone to visit Eddy Mutwe and other NUP members and they had carried with them some food items.
She says that since that time she also started taking food items to Kitalya basing on the information that the seven NUP supporters that included her husband were remanded to Kitalya prison.
Nayiga says that though she never got access to see her husband due to the excuse of COVID-19, she continued to visit the prison using the little she had.
“They told us that we cannot meet the detained because of Corona Virus. Strange because we interact with the prison officers, without fear of COVID-19. I now ask if the the prison officers are the one who ate the food? They do not allow us to talk with our people in prison, even if on phone, saying gadgets are not allowed inside the prison” she said.
She says that her husband was the breadwinner of the family of two children who are now with their grandparents. She says that she is currently renting a small room where she is doing tailoring, adding that it is from this that she tries to support her children and the husband in prison.
‘‘Considering what I am still going through since the arrest of my husband, it is regretable if the food I have been taking to Kitalya with hope that my husband is there, he has never tested it,’’ Nayiga added.
Kassim Migadde appeared on the list of missing persons that was released by the internal Affairs minister Jjeje Odongo and is one of the seven persons that pleaded not guilty on accusations of being found wearing red berets that are said to be monopoly of defense forces ,following their arrest during the November 18th 2020 riots.
However, the Prisons spokesperson Frank Baine, confirms that Kassim Migadde was on January 18th 2021, remanded to Kitalya prison by the court martial.