MPs Task Security Minister to Produce Missing People

Parliament’s Human Rights Committee has directed the directed the Minister of Security, Jim Muhwezi to produce seven people who have been reportedly missing since 2020.
Courtsey image of Jim Muhwezi

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Members of Parliament on the Human Rights Committee have directed the Minister of Security, Jim Muhwezi to produce seven people who have been reported missing since 2020.

Muhwezi on Thursday appeared before the committee which is currently inquiring into the torture of suspects by security operatives, detention without trial, and missing persons.

The missing persons are Agnes Nangweri, Matthew Kafeero and Sarah Namayanja who went missing in November 2020.   Others are Matthew Kigozi, George Kasumba, Ibrahim Chekedi and John Damulira. 

Fox Odoi, the Human Rights Committee Chairperson told the Minister that every citizen must be accounted for. He said that the committee would avail details of the missing persons indicating their villages, Local Council chairpersons, parents, or next of kin to help.

He directed the Minister to respond to the Committee in a written report within one week.

Odoi also directed Muhwezi to respond to the alleged detention of suspects in safe houses where they are tortured.

This was after Nakaseke Central MP, Allan Mayanja Ssebunya noted the existence of safe houses in the country where suspects are tortured by security operatives.

Florence Namboozo, the Sironko Woman MP also said that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure the safety of all its citizens and that the necessary steps should be taken to stop illegal arrests and torture. 

Muhwezi told MPs that investigations into the allegations of the seven missing people will be investigated. He added that government does not condone torture and illegal arrests.

He said that security operatives are under strict instructions to follow the law and that they are continuing with the training of security officers on the observance of human rights while handling suspects.

Muhwezi said that he will present a list to Parliament of individual security officers implicated in torture, as directed by Deputy Speaker Anita Among.

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Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka said that re-arresting people after being granted bail by the court is legal since they could be needed to settle cases.

Speaking about the use of tinted cars by security agencies to carry out arre

sts, Kiryowa said that security agencies cannot alert criminals during their operations.

The Attorney General also emphasized that government does not condone torture and that if any person is tortured in a recognized place of custody, security officers of that particular institution should be held accountable.

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He also blamed social media for playing a role in misleading investigations which has seen suspects going free.

“It is becoming very difficult to prosecute or even investigate cases. Today, every Ugandan has become an investigator and a master of knowledge. There are processes that are undertaken and if we can keep quiet and let the processes go ahead, then we shall get the true results,” said Kiryowa.  

Regarding compensation of victims of the November 2020 riots, Kiryowa said that the process is ongoing and that the 56 deaths were regrettable.  

He said that a total of 1088 suspects have been arrested, 286 cases registered at police stations with 198 of these taken to court.  

Kiryowa said that 66 of the 198 have been convicted, 50 cases have been dismissed by the court, 80 are still under inquiry and 8 cases have been closed by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions- DPP.

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