A young man renown for introducing yellow piglets into parliament of Uganda, has gone missing.
Norman Tumuhimbise and Robert Mayanja in July last year were arrested from their offices at City House in Kampala after beating security at Parliament and taking in the piglets, painted yellow, in protest of what they called corruption and extravagant spending by MPs.
They were granted bail by a court in Kampala and later re-arrested on charges of interrupting parliamentary activities, criminal trespass and conspiracy to sneak piglets into parliament.
When they were freed from Luzira prisons afterwards, Norman and Mayanja continued their activism under the banner “Jobless Brotherhood”.
They are responsible for dropping yellow pigs on Kampala streets, along Jinja road and in Jinja town on Labour with the same message that government was ignoring unemployed youth.
Norman goes missing
On Thursday, youth dropped more piglets near the entrance of parliament.
The Jobless Brotherhood later claimed responsibility in their “Last Letter to Government” dated August 19, 2015, saying officials were “buying monster cars at Shs103m each, iPads worth Shs 6m, a fancy parliamentary parking of Shs 36bn, spending Shs 6bn on the president’s sole candidature and Shs100m to legislators as fuel allowances”.
“In your reasoning, you have chosen to add an extra burden of atleast Shs 60bn which is expected to facilitate extra 46 M-pigs in terms of salaries,” they wrote.
That same evening, Norman went missing; his colleagues say he was kidnapped in Kasubi while returning home by unidentified men.
Norman is the national coordinator of the Jobless Brotherhood.
“Comrades, it’s now 2 days when Norman Tumuhimbise, the national coordinator of the jobless brotherhood is missing,” reads the latest message on their Facebook page.
Last month, Norman said he had received a call from media crimes department Kibuli police CIID headquarters “inviting me to record a statement in regard to what I spoke on NBS television.”
A day before, Norman had appeared on NBS TV Morning Breeze where he reportedly called Youth minister, Evelyn Anite, “a courageous fool”.
He snubbed police summons saying he was “busy and had no time to waste”.
Norman says the Jobless Brotherhood is “neutral and non-partisan; however members on an individual level have a right to sideline with any person they think will deliver so long as their deeds are not repugnant with the principles for which the brotherhood was founded”.
“Our founding principles are clear; fighting youth desertion, manipulation and exploitation period: I believe that there’s nothing wrong with Uganda that can’t be solved by what’s right in Uganda.”
In July, 2013, Norman was arrested and interrogated over a “devil” in the title of the book he wrote titled: “Behind the Devil’s Line”.
The activist said the devil was President Yoweri Museveni who he described as a “traitor”.
Museveni, who took power by force in 1986 and then promised to reform the country’s violent politics is now one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders and a dictator in the eyes of some.
“The devil, to be frank, is the president,” Norman who doubles as a member of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change party, told AFP.
“The longer Museveni stays in power, the more he becomes a liability to this country,” he added.
His book was unfortunately rejected by local bookstores forcing him to carry around copies that he sells to trusted agents because he is concerned that the state intends to buy all printed copies and destroy them.
In the book he accuses Museveni of what he calls “arrogance and big-headedness” and likens him to the late Libyan leader, the late Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
Ofwono Opondo, government spokesman, told AFP the activist’s book was a work of propaganda that did not deserve wide readership.
Unsowing the mustard seed
In June 2015, Norman announced the launch of a book titled ‘Unsowing the Mustard Seed’ exposing president Museveni published “falsehoods” in his book ‘Sowing the Mustard seed’.’
“In this book, we have detailed the untruths told and how President Museveni’s comrades lost their lives in the liberation struggle and only he emerged the hero,” he told press.
Col. Samson Mande stated in a forward to the publication said: “The Ten-Point-Program was more less a mustard seed that we thought would sprout from the ground with vigour and vitality and produce delicious fruits that would be enjoyed by all Ugandans.”
Norman promised to mobilise youths and students and shun the 2016 general elections that will give Museveni a fifth term in office.
His colleagues now say he has been “kidnapped” by state agents and is being held in “a safe house”.
His parents, siblings and relatives say they have checked in all police stations but he is not there.
They say police has been trailing him for sometime now.
Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango, says he is aware that a case was reported at Kawaala Police post concerning Norman’s disappearance but are not holding him as claimed.
He asked the youth not to be violent as they investigate the matter.