Security agencies on Friday night released the Victoria University vice-chancellor Dr. Lawrence Muganga who was roughed up while arresting him from his offices in Kampala on Thursday.
According to a video clip, Muganga was received by Rajiv Ruparelia the Managing Director of Ruparelia Group of Companies which include Victoria University.
This short video posted on social media, Dr. Muganga was with Frank Gashumba. He expressed his thankfulness to all members of the public who raised spontaneous alarm that compelled his captors to release him .
“I am back but it was because of you. From the bottom of my heart, i thank you. I am still alive, happy, determined and I can always count on you brothers and sisters. This man here (Frank Gashumba) and others out there, you are great and I am forever indebted to you,” Muganga said.
Frank Gashumba who is closely working with Lawrence Muganga to advance the cause of Rwandan originating Ugandans, thanked media houses and everyone else across the various social media platforms who put their voices and power together to push for the release of Dr. Muganga following his unlawful and despicable arrest and detention.
“Power belongs to the people, and this release wouldn’t have happened without all your efforts,” Gashumba said.
Gashumba added that they would be releasing a statement on the matter soon.
He also thanked President Yoweri Museveni for the intervention in the matter. It should be noted that president Museveni had ordered security to offer a personal body guard to Dr. Lawrence Muganga. During the arrest, this body guard was overpowered as Muganga was whisked away in in the infamous drone van typically used by plain clothed men to kidnap citizens during and after the January elections. In the same way, his personal assistant who tried to pursue the van on a motor bicycle was also bundled in the same drone, and were driven to unknown destination.
“We would also like to thank President Yoweri Museveni for his intervention in the matter that saw the immediate release of Muganga. God bless you all, and God bless and protect our country,” he added.
“Brigadier Flavia Byekwaso the UPDF spokes person said that Muganga was arrested “arrested by Joint Security Forces in connection with espionage and illegal stay in the country. Investigations into the matter have commenced. His status in Uganda is not clear because he holds a foreign passport and has no work permit.”
However, sources in the security intimated that President Yoweri Museveni was personally unhappy with the arrest and directed for his immediate release.
Dr. Muganga’s arrest had also drawn several castigation from his family members the general public and human rights activists who questioned why the security did not just summon him but rather resorted to inhuman arrest.
On Friday, family members led by Bruno Makyabire (nephew) and Muganga’s sister Hellen Batambuze who were flanked by their lawyer Isaac Ssemakade and Gashumba appealed to the Government agencies holding him to allow them access.
“Muganga is my uncle and I have known him all my life and I am a very fully grown old man now with children. On Thursday I received a very terrifying phone call from someone that my uncle was being dragged at the stairs of Victoria University by armed men. It was not a good day because I believe that a person of his stature shouldn’t have been treated like that. If he hasn’t resisted arrest nor been summoned, you don’t kidnap him,” Makyabire said.
Ssemakade noted Muganga’s arrest was similar to the kidnap of the vice-chancellor of Makerere University, Frank Kalimuzo who was a close friend of Idi Amin and disappeared.
Gashumba condemned security over how they had effected the arrest. He also noted that the move by security to arrest Muganga was part of the wider scheme to implicate the Banyarwanda in acts of espionage and make them a hated tribe in Uganda.
One of those friends who had put up a spirited fight for his release was Annet Ojede who noted that Muganga had good intentions to give back to Uganda which did welcome him as a child refugee.
“I received some shocking news about the arrest of one of my good friend, Dr. Muganga, who grew up in Uganda as a child refugee when his family fled Rwanda due to civil conflicts. Some of his siblings were also born in Uganda. Lawrence went to school in Uganda from primary up to the university and that is the only country he and his family called home. To charge a man who grew up in the country for over thirty years before he left for Canada for graduate studies is outlandish and quite frankly sounds ridiculous,”
She noted that it was probable that he is being misunderstood. “I could be wrong and that is why, we as his friends, are waiting for all the facts to come out. Dr. Muganga, we are rooting for you and we wish you well throughout your struggles and we will continue praying for your safety,” she added.