Rwandan-Ugandan Academic Kidnapped from Campus by Ugandan Security Forces

Endangered Scholars Worldwide recently learned that Lawrence Muganga, Vice Chancellor of the private Victoria University in Uganda, was arrested in broad daylight on September 3, 2021, in the capital city Kampala. An amateur video posted on social media described the event as a kidnapping and shows armed men in civilian clothes forcing Doctor Muganga into a van, known in Uganda as a ‘drone’, which is associated with the kidnapping of government opponents.


Photo credit: @CanaryMugume


Dr. Muganga has a stellar record of success as a policy adviser and analyst, who has held positions in Canada, Ethiopia, and Rwanda. He holds a PhD in Educational Administration and Leadership, Educational Policy Studies from University of Alberta, Canada. Born in Uganda and of Rwandan ethnicity (Banyarwanda), Muganga was the spokesman for a part of this community living in Uganda. On various platforms he has denounced the Ugandan government’s efforts to alienate this community, allegedly by refusing to issue identity cards to its members and considering them as foreigners.


In a public statement Deputy Defense Spokesperson Colonel Ronald Kakurungu denied that it was an abduction, rather, he said, it was a legitimate arrest conducted by Joint Security Forces, and that Dr. Muganga was detained in connection with espionage and an illegal stay in the country. Dr. Muganga, who holds a Ugandan identity card that was at first ignored by officials, reappeared at a military facility, from which he was released two days later.


The case of Dr. Muganga has striking similarities with the abduction of the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Frank Kalimuzo. Kalimuzo was kidnapped and disappeared in 1972. We at the Endangered Scholars Worldwide condemn the arbitrary detention of Lawrence Muganga and call upon all international organizations, academic and professional associations, and other groups and individuals devoted to the promotion and defense of human rights to protest this arbitrary incarceration; to urge the officials of the Ugandan government to end the tactic of taking of dual citizen scholars and students hostage for political gains; and to respect, guarantee, and implement the provisions and principles of human rights.