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Missing Mukono Man's Families Rendered Destitute a Year Since his Arrest

Following his arrest on accusations of being a November riots ring leader, Kanata’s whereabouts remain unknown. URN has visited Walusubi village and established that the four wives, eleven children and a sickly 82-year-old mother Hajjarah Nakilyowa are living in destitution.
Muhammad Kanata, abducted NUP supporter who is still missing. He was a resident at Walusubi, Nama Subc County in Mukono.

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Family members of Muhammad Kanata, a resident of Walusubi village, Nama sub county in Mukono district have expressed the agony they undergo to to survive without their sole bread winner who went missing days after last year's 18th November protests.

Kanata's family say since November, security operatives started monitoring their homes asking his whereabouts. Although he had left home for his away routine duties of construction that could sometimes last for over a month, upon his return, on the night of December 23, he was arrested by armed men dressed in plain clothes on accusations that he was among the November riots ring leaders in Mukono since he subscribed to the People Power movement.

  

Since then, Kanata’s whereabouts remain unknown. URN has visited Walusubi village and established that he left behind four wives staying in different homes but on the same village with a total of eleven children and a sickly 82-year-old mother Hajjarah Nakilyowa. The wives are Madina Najjemba, Agnes Nabwiire, Catherine Kagoya and Irene Muloni.

Agnes Nabwire, one of the wives says at first they had hope of re-uniting with their husband, until they had sold off almost each of their house hold belonging to raise money for the search which has remained fruitless to date.

She narrates that to survive, they team up to work for food in other people’s gardens and sometimes in sugarcane shambas apart from Irene Muloni who left to stay with her parents in Lugazi town. 

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Madina Najjemba, another wife to Kanata uses the evening and night hours to weave mats they also sell to supplement their income. She is worried for the children who may not return to school due to requirements that where purely provided by the husband.

She also notes that much as they toil, only earn hand to mouth and not a single coin has been saved despite of the many demanding challenges including a 6-year-old boy diagnosed with cancer and the mother to the husband whose medical bill requires over shillings 400, 000 every month and has now taken days without meeting her prescriptions.

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Catherine Kagoya, another wife to Kanata notes that the husband was abducted before completing the construction of her house. Currently she is on the verge of being chased away from the rented two room apartment by the landlord whom she owes 500,000 shillings for 10 months.

  The LCI-chairperson of Walusubi, Ronald Kawere says Kanata’s disappearance was a big blow not only to the family but also the village since he was a person who hooked people up people to various job opportunities.  

Arrests, abduction and torture acts did not only happen to Kanata in Mukono after the 18th November protests, over 30 families experienced similar incidents. Police on several occasions confirmed that their arrest was related to the protests much as it lacked knowledge about their whereabouts.

  After recurrent outcries from the community and family members, most abducted people were released in phases. The last group of eleven people was released in February 2021. URN has established that most of these managed to recover from severe wounds but have remained jobless.

  Fred Kamya Yuya, a resident at Katoogo saw two legs had started rotting at his home following a warning form his abductors to keep away from public health facilities. However, after his stories went viral in the media managed to get proper treatment.

Kamya says recovering has been a difficult journey which has left him almost helpless. A father of 20 children, he has been forced to sell part of his land to get money for supporting his family.

  “I had bought the land with plans to create a leisure center but it is unfortunate that my dream will never see light now," he says. Y"es, I have recovered but I have not recovered my energies to do any work including farm activities.” 

 

Margaret Nattabi, a youth councillor for Mukono Municipality says as NUP leaders in the district have not forgotten people who were mistreated and tortured by security. She notes that they are closely monitoring their condition before appealing to people of good will offer any support they can to sustain families of the victims.

Mukono Division Police Commander Annabella Nyinamahoro says police still has the file of Kanata as a person missing during the previous campaigns and continues to follow it up.

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