The Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University Dr. Lawrence Muganga has been arrested on charges of espionage and illegal stay in Uganda.
The Uganda People’s Defence Forces-UPDF Spokesperson Brig. Flavia Byekwaso said that Muganga was arrested by a joint security force team last evening from the Victoria University offices in Kampala. She, however, dismissed reports that Muganga had been kidnapped.
One staff at the University who preferred anonymity said Muganga was picked from his office by three plain-clothed men who dragged him into a waiting vehicle and whisked him to an unknown destination. The staff said there were four other people in the same car adding that although Muganga had a personal security guard, he was overpowered and violently dragged into the vehicle.
But Byekwaso dismissed reports that the VC was brutally arrested. “I wasn’t at the scene, but he was not tortured or assaulted because he didn’t resist the arrest,” Byekwaso told URN in a telephone interview. She added that Muganga was arrested by joint Security forces in connection with espionage and illegal stay in the country.
“I can only say he is safe in the hands of security agencies. He has been staying here without a Ugandan passport or even a working permit. So security suspects that he has been involved in acts of spying for another country or other illegal activities, but Investigations will reveal all that. Byekwaso added”
Victoria University Director Ravij Ruparelia confirmed the incident but said he could not comment and said the University management would release the official statement regarding the arrest of the Vice-Chancellor.
Muganga has been part of the group spearheading efforts to rename the community of Rwandan Origin living in Uganda, “Abavandimwe” on grounds that they are being segregated in the name of calling them “Abanyarwanda”. The group argues that they are systematically locked out of the economy and public service, by a system that does not allow them to get Ugandan passports, secure SIM cards, open up bank accounts, and acquire loans.
Relations between Rwanda and Uganda remain strained due to counter accusations of sabotage and espionage. Rwanda blames Uganda for arresting its nationals and holding them incommunicado.