On 13th September, 2021 renowned ‘rebellious’ human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo, the Executive Director of Chapter Four Uganda quietly left for United State of America (USA).
He later said his trip to the United States of America came at a time when he needed rest and respite following a difficult end of 2020 and tumultuous 2021.
Opiyo never indicated when he would return home, 18 months later, the legal brain remains on a vacation in U.S.
At a time of his departure, Mr Opiyo had been accused of fraudulently receiving a sum of USD 340,000 (1.2 billion Shillings) through the Chapter Four Uganda account in Stanbic Bank. The state said that the money was proceeds of crime and was subsequently arraigned before the courts and remanded to Kitalya Prison.
The State froze Chapter Four Uganda’s bank accounts on allegations of funding terrorism, before closing the organisation together with 53 other non-governmental organizations for alleged failure to comply with regulations governing their operations.
His charges were however, suspended by Court.
This website has learned of a move by government aimed at ‘rehabilitating’ and returning Mr Opiyo home.
The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Hon Norbert Mao is leading the mediation process just like he negotiated the release of National Unity Platform (NUP) lawmakers Mohammad Ssegirinya and Allan Ssewanayana that had been languishing in jail for close to two years.
Mao, the president General of an opposition party DP while acknowledging his appointment as Minister by President Yoweri Museveni last year said he would act as a bridge between government and anti-regime forces.
“The agreement is Opiyo should come back and be allowed to operate his NGO,” said a source privy to the talks.
Further the terms of engagement are that Opiyo will be allowed to continue with his lawyering business but he also ceases being critical of government and associating with anti-state actors like NUP leader Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi.
This website also established that Opiyo and Hon Mao are relatives, and the family has since exerted pressure on the latter to use his influence and bring back his brother.
It remains unknown if Opiyo has agreed to the terms laid on table by government but a source assured this website that the respected lawyer by all means will return to his motherland.
Also, the U.S envoy to Uganda Natalie Brown has been included in the talks since she is close to Mr Opiyo and it is believed that she could have arranged his departure from Uganda.
Efforts to reach Mr Opiyo for a comment were unsuccessful by press time.
Hon Mao was unavailable when contacted.