On Thursday October 16th Sam Mugumya, a popular Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) youth wing and aide to former FDC President Dr Kizza Besigye decided to travel to Rukungiri district on two missions – one was political and the other family.
After the death of his brother, the responsibility of taking care of his family, especially his frail mother Edinat Turyomurugyendo, now rested on his shoulders.
But he was also determined to use the opportunity to reconnect with FDC cells in the district.
Before leaving Kampala, he was engaged in numerous meetings in preparation for the safe travel of former FDC President Dr Kizza Besigye and Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago who were scheduled to appear before Magistrates Court on November 3rd in Kabale.
According to FDC women league boss Ingrid Turinawe , although the initial plan was to travel with him on October 31st, Mugumya decided to go ahead of them to Rukungiri.
Indeed when Besigye, Lukwago and other opposition figures like Kawempe Mayor Mubarak Munyagwa spent the night in Rukungiri during the weekend.
The November 1st planning meet was indeed the last day Besigye recalls seeing Mugumya. The meeting was held in Besigye’s Kampala office on Katonga road.
Besigye explains that though he had had limited communication with Mugumya over the last three months, this was not unusual.
Besigye says that his relationship with Mugumya is more of comrades in the struggle than boss and surbordinate. He says they tend to work closely together in bursts before Mugumya moves on to concentrate on other party tasks.
Besigye notes that before Mugumya’s disappearance, he had been concerned about the welfare of his family as sole bread winner.
He acknowledges that the death of Mugumya’s brother has had a bearing on his involvement in activism.
Ingrid Turinawe says she last made contact with Mugumya in the last week of October. She says that Mugumya called to explain how thugs had broken into his mother’s office and destroyed the window. He wanted to have the windows welded.
Mugumya’s close friends though admit that he was not very keen on keeping in touch unless a mission was at hand.
Another Besigye aide Haron Kaija says that Mugumya’s silences were tolerated by their network because he was known to forget his phone at home.
Mugumya apparently did not see why he should always have a mobile phone on him if he was not going to use it that day.
But Kaija says they became suspicious after four days passed and none of his colleagues had sighted Mugumya.
Kaija says that the FDC youth fraternity started to make inquiries on Mugumya’s whereabouts.
Kaija scoffs at the suggestion that they should have reported to the police. He says whenever the police arrests any of them, they know which police station to check at.
Their greater fear are the arbitrary arrests by security operatives. These operatives do not report to police the arrest.
“One day I was at Mulago Roundabout and plain clothes operatives arrested and whisked me to JATT offices. I was saved by a friend from American Embassy who as he passed by at Mulago witnessed the brutal and irregular arrest I was subjected to,” Kaija said.
“It was obvious that this is the same scenario of how our colleague has gone missing.”