Paul Muwumba, the former member of Uganda Young Democrats (UYD), am opposition coalition comprised of mainly the youth to fight President Museveni’s regime, has revealed how he survived being killed by the tyrant’s strong arm.
Muwumba revealed to us in an exclusive interview that he was trailed for months by the Uganda’s intelligence arm, with the aim of making him just disappear or kill him, like some of his colleagues had died mysteriously.
We have exclusively learnt that in 2004, just two years to the 2006 presidential elections, opposition leaders of the four main political parties; Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Democratic Party (DP), Conservative Party (CP) and Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), hatched a plan of forming a youthful coalition that would help sabotage government’s programs which in turn would give popularity to the opposition.
This was after they realized that there could be no peaceful transmission of power through elections or dialogue. They named their covert group P10.
This was after the regime had become less tolerant and more repressive. Indeed, it was and it is only getting worse as Museveni’s greed for power increases and people were getting more rebellious.
The group was to undertake subversive activities such as recruitment of youthful cadres to counter state militias, sabotaging government programs like recruitment into the armed forces, discouraging traders from paying high rates charged by landlords, and convincing of media personnel to join the struggle through boycotting state propaganda publications among other things.
The group was comprised of among others Vincent Lugonvu (DP), Tom Julunga (FDC), Sam Mugumya, Celina Nebanda, Leander Komaketch, Charles Bongomin, Oyaka P’ Makmot, Tony Kipoi and Opika Opoka. These were selected by the different political parties under the leadership of Maj Okwir Rwaboni, a retired NRA soldier who had fallen out of the regime and was now a member of the FDC party.
When the regime got wind of the existence of the group, its initial move was to arrest and incarcerate or kill key political leaders. Kiiza Besigye, Okwir Rwaboni and other key leaders were arrested but this was met by backlash from the international community especially the United States and other donor countries.
They then opted for another brutal yet effective method they dubbed ‘kuuakutokamzizi’ (Swahili word for – kill it from the roots). This was aimed at killing young cadres and aides to prominent politicians thus rendering them fearful, frustrated and ineffective.
Through the brutal ‘kuuakutokamzizi’ campaign, Lugonvu, Julunga, Nebanda, Opoka and many others were killed mysteriously while Sam Mugumya got detained by Democratic Republic Congo authorities up to date. The rest including Muwumba, who was a personal assistant to Longovu, are reportedly in exile in Europe and North America.
Lugonvu was murdered in July, 2005. At the time, he was the Secretary General of the Uganda Young Democrats. To date, the perpetrators of that heinous crime have not been brought to book much as it’s suspected that it was executed by the regime.
Being Lugonvu’s (RIP) aide de camp, Mr Muwumba started watching his back after his master’s assassination.
He narrates: “After the death of my mentor, I started watching my back. I was called to DP head office and briefed by the then party Secretary General, Mathias Nsubuga (RIP about how I needed to watch out since it was likely that the killers of Lugonvu would most likely come after me. This, he said, was because I knew all Logonvu’s secrets, thus privy to most of the information they would (killers) need. I was then advised to avoid moving late, moving alone and asked to relocate from my area of residence.”
Muwumba adds: “At the time, I was renting a two-roomed apartment in Namasuba. The SG gave me 800, 000 Uganda shillings (almost $500 then) which would help me in my relocation. I was advised to take cover and withdraw from the public eye for some time until the storm settled. I went into hiding in Mbale, Eastern Uganda near the Kenya border where I lived with a distant cousin. While there, I survived on small trade by buying commodities cheaply from Kenya and selling them in Uganda. I managed to live incognito for a while. I was always nervous especially if someone followed me for a long time or appeared to point in my direction.”
According to Muwumba, after the 2006 elections, he returned to Kampala after judging that it was safe to return. He joined FDC party which had gained momentum.
“When I joined FDC, I started working with Tom Julunga. This was because I had known Tom, since our P10 days and also because he shared the same ethics and etiquette with my former colleague Vincent Lugonvu (my former boss). Our job was to reach out to FDC cells which had been set up within Kampala and invigorate our P10 group. The group was still active in the country albeit under total repression. Our aim was to counter the militias that had been set up by the regime to torture people and instill fear in the masses ahead of the 2011 elections. Our boys were to counter them. These militias including Boda boda 2010 and Kifeesi are still active, killing, torturing and miming people in Uganda under the watch of the government.”
Unfortunately, Julunga was also killed on June 6, 2009 in Kampala.
“We had just had a meeting with him and some other colleagues at Rinsar Motel along Entebbe road about 2 miles away from the FDC headquarters. In the meeting, we had discussing about improving of our security and becoming more cautious. Both of us had noticed suspicious people trailing us. We reported to the security organs despite the limited trust we had in them, but not help was rendered to us,” Muwumba narrates what happened before the fateful day.
Muwumba said it didn’t take him many days before his life also fell in the dirty hands of the state militia.
“On the night of January 15, 2010, unknown people picked me from the house which I shared with my brother Anthony Mudoola, at about 11.00pm. The assailants crashed the door when we were about to go to bed. I tried to scream for help but I was gagged by the thugs. I, however, put up a fight and got bruises on my face, arms and legs but was overpowered when one of the thugs struck me with a blunt object,” Muwumba narrated.
“I was then driven to an unknown location handcuffed and made to lie on the bare floor while naked. I was blind folded until morning. At day break, the blindfold was removed, and then I was made to sit on a metallic chair connected to some electric wires. The man with a recorder held the cable in his hands. A man in military camouflage pants and a red shirt stood before me with a whip. Behind him was another thug with what appeared to be a recorder also.”
According Muwumba, he was accused of many things including; treason, theft, rape, robbery among others.
“At one point, the thugs even tried to forge a military number to claim I was a deserter. This would mean I would be court marshaled and be shot to death upon conviction,” he said.
“Every time they asked me anything, if I resented they would connect the electric wires and electrocute me. They also used pliers to pull my penis by the sheath. It was too painful. What almost killed me was when the thug hit me with a fist on my right jaw. I bled badly and lost some teeth. To date, I have difficulty chewing on the right,” Muwumba narrated how his fateful day was like.
He said his brother had reported disappearance case to the police and led by my area MP Hon Ken Lukyamuzi, they were searching for me.
Muwumba said after failing to get all the information they expected to get from him, they released him after three weeks of massive torture.
“God was still on my side and I was not killed like my colleagues had been killed,” Muwumba said.
He said, immediately after nursing the wounds, he sneaked out of the country through South Sudan to one of the countries in Europe for refuge, which he refused to reveal for security reasons.
“I still fear am on wanted list since their main aim was to finish up the whole group. So the moment I step my foot in Uganda in this regime, am more or less the dead man,” he said.