AFRICA.UGANDA: Uganda Media Center worker Obed Katureebe, who has been missing for two months, is in the custody of the Chief of Military Intelligence (CMI) and is being interrogated for allegedly criticizing Rwandan President Paul Kagame, according to his wife, Phiona Kanuuna.
Maj Gen James Birungi, the Chief of Military Intelligence, which is the army’s investigative arm, confirmed that Mr Katureebe, an employee under the Office of the President, was detained by them.
His confession followed a dossier Mrs Kanuuna wrote to President Museveni, with a copy to Major General Birungi himself, in which she alleged that CMI kidnapped her husband on the orders of the first son/Land Commander, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba.
“It is now becoming clear that General Kainerugaba is above the law and is very worryingly prepared to do whatever Rwanda asks of him without hesitation,” Kanuuna wrote, asking the president to intervene.
His military assistant and chief of staff, Colonel McDans Kamugira, did not get back at the letter even after a copy of the dossier was shared, which was also copied to Lt Gen Muhoozi to instigate his response.
In a letter dated July 3, Kanuuna noted that her husband’s arrest on May 2 was prompted by allegations that he operated a social media account @Gakwerere that pilloried President Paul Kagame.
She denied that her husband was at fault. Although, no official reply came from Rwandan Embassy in Kampala to ascertain the veracity of the allegations made to the President by Katureebe’s wife.
While insisting her husband is innocent, Kanuuna believes that her husband is being used to settle scores with Ugandan Governmnet.
“But assuming the allegations were indeed true, why would allegations by another country (Rwanda) lead to a Ugandan citizen, and an employee of the President’s Office, to be abducted and held incommunicado for over two months? Is Uganda still a sovereign country? Is Uganda still governed by laws? Are we now a colony of Rwanda?” she quarried. “This is not only shameful, but it is also illegal because the devices were taken without a court order and as a family, we intend to take the matter to court,” she said.
In an interview, Major General Birungi said, “We have her husband officially, he was not kidnapped, there are some allegations that we are investigating”.
He did not give any details about the case against the employee of the Uganda Media Center, the communications clearing unit under the Office of the President.
“It was not a kidnapping,” the army spy chief said of the arrest of Mr Katureebe from his home two months ago. He added: “Even the woman (Kanuuna’s wife) always has the opportunity to go after him (Katureebe) whenever she wants because we are now trying to investigate the allegations and then we will see whether to continue [prosecuting] the husband. or we’ll leave him.”
Meanwhile, the Ugandan constitution notes that: “A suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty and the supreme law of the land obliges any person arrested over suspicion of committing an offence to be arraigned in court, in any case, not later than 48 hours.”
However, The military investigators are yet to reveal as to why they are holding onto Katureebe for months without producing him in court or citing a valid reason for his detention.