The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gen Jeje Odongo says governments of Uganda and Turkey are holding discussions on the fate of Turkey based ‘toxic’ blogger, Fred Kajjubi Lumbuye.
Odongo who was Thursday appearing before the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament said the two countries together with Interpol are yet to conclude discussions regarding Lumbuye’s stay in Turkey.
“Lumbuye is a Ugandan who has been living in Turkey, to be specific Istanbul. The situation and position regarding his stay there is a matter of discussions still going on between Uganda, Turkey and Interpol and once those discussions are finalized, I will certainly be happy to share with you his status and fate, but as of now, discussions are still going on,” Odongo told members on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
The Minister who then proceeded to address the members on the matter of Afghan refugees coming into the country soon, was interjected by the Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister, Muwada Nkunyinji who asked the Committee Chairperson to task the minister to pronounce him on Lumbuye’s whereabouts.
“I want the Minister to be specific on whether Lumbuye was deported and he is in Uganda or he is still in Turkey because Hon Okello Oryem (State Minister for Foreign Affairs) recently said that Lumbuye was deported and now his senior minister is saying that discussions are going on, so which is which?” asked Nkunyinji.
Minister Odongo would instead ask Oryem who had accompanied him to explain himself on the matter.
Oryem said, “I beg not to be misquoted by the Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister. At no time did I say that Lumbuye was deported. I said he is supposed to be deported. Hon Nkunyinji is a lawyer himself, he is very careful with his statements and I am very careful with my words.”
“For him to claim that I said he (Lumbuye) was deported is a misrepresentation of what I said,” Oryem added.
It should be remembered that two days after news of Lumbuye’s arrest broke out, Oryem confirmed it, saying that he and a number of other Ugandans had been arrested by authorities in Turkey on grounds of violating several immigration regulations.
He would further reveal that Lumbuye and group were being deported and would arrive at Entebbe International Airport on Saturday morning.
“Lumbuye is in custody of the Turkish authorities with some other Ugandans and they have been charged with several offences the Turkish authorities have preferred including breach of immigration regulations and rules,” said Oryem.
The Minister added that Lumbuye and group “will be deported or are enroute to Uganda where they will arrive in the early hours of tomorrow (Saturday) morning.”
He said on arrival at Entebbe International Airport, Lumbuye and his accomplices would be received by relevant authorities before being questioned on the various offences they allegedly committed, that have direct implications in Uganda.
That morning, journalists and some of Lumbuye’s friends including lawyers who waited for his arrival didn’t see him, creating anxiety in the public about his whereabouts. Some people claimed that he was actually not repatriated while others said Lumbuye could have been secretly returned in to the country and kept in one of the security facilities.
In fact, The Observer newspaper, using its social media platforms would later claim that Lumbuye was “reportedly being held at the Gulu air force base in Northern Uganda as security continues to hunt for 11 of his alleged conspirators..”. This was however refuted by the UPDF saying it was only intended to bring the institution into disrepute.
“The Observer should henceforth retract it by the same means and advised to always double check their information,” clarified the UPDF.
In another interview with one of the local televisions this week, Oryem when asked about the whereabouts of Lumbuye said he is alive and would soon be presented to court by the relevant authorities.
“Lumbuye is alive as far as I know and people should not be worried about him. The relevant authorities who have Lumbuye will at the right time be able to bring him in public and before the courts of law,” he said.
Quoting this, Nkunyinji today, tasked the minister to come out clear on which courts of a law Lumbuye (whose fate is yet to be decided) would appear.
In response, Oryem said during that interview, he did not specify whether Lumbuye was to appear in Uganda’s courts or those of Turkey.
“I never mentioned anywhere – that he will appear in the courts of law in Uganda. I said he will be brought by relevant authorities to courts of law,” Oryem explained.
Lumbuye, is a famous blogger who for months used Facebook and YouTube to disseminate information deemed by many as false and baseless only aimed at inciting violence as well as causing divisionism and mayhem in the country.
He as well attacked Buganda Kingdom premier, Charles Peter Mayiga, top government officials, senior security officers whom he branded several names. The motor mouthed blogger also announced the Kabaka of Buganda dead as well as President Yoweri Museveni.
Police Spokesperson, CP Fred Enanga said on Monday that Lumbuye is not in their custody and that his whereabouts are also not known to them. He however mentioned that despite them not having him currently, police has about 15 cases files against him that would be made public after he is handed over to them.