Government safe houses are out of bounds to Members of Parliament says Security Minister Gen Tumwine
Security Minister, General Elly Tumwine informed Members of Parliament on Human Rights Committee that they are not allowed to access state-owned safe houses in the country.
Gen Elly Tumwine admitted that government runs several safe houses in different parts of the country, but purposely to coordinate intelligence information.
Tumwine who had appeared before the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee, to respond to claims that safe houses are used as torture chambers to many Ugandans informed Members of Parliament that safe houses are used as protection centres for witnesses under threat especially criminals that have reformed and those who request for protection.
“We have a sect of Ugandans who are even right now being tortured and many of them are dying right now. I pray Madam chair that we go change the fate of those people,” Hon Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, Kyadondo East legislator said.
But, Gen Tumwine refuted the claims saying no Ugandan has ever been tortured under government safe houses.
“I want to immediately answer Hon Kyagulanyi! I don’t have, I don’t know, I don’t hope a safe house under the ministry where people are tortured,” Tumwine informed legislators.
Despite Speaker Kadaga’s directive to have these named safe houses one in Kyegera along Masaka road and another at Lwamayuma Kalangala District, inspected by Members of Parliament sitting on Human Rights Committee, Minister of Security, Gen Elly Tumwine refused to say it’s outside their mandate to access these safe houses.
“There are limitations to everything! Even in your house, there are areas where some people don’t reach for security. This is the truth!” Tumwine said.
This angered Members of Parliament leading to counter accusations between Members of Parliament and Gen Tumwine saying no person in this country has limited access.
“This cannot be accepted Madam Chair. Madam chair there’s no person in this country whom you cannot access, there’s no police cell which you cannot access,” Ssebagala said.
This follows Speaker Kadaga’s directive she made to the Members of Parliament sitting on the Human Rights Committee on 16th August 2019, asking them to investigate claims by Kawempe North legislator, Latif Ssebagala that several Ugandans are being tortured in government safe houses located in Kyengera along Masaka road and Lwamayuba in Kalangala District.
Kadaga’s directive followed a matter of National Importance raised by Latif Ssebagala, Kawempe North legislator indicating torture tells from victims of the said torture centres.
Ssebagala informed Members of Parliament in a plenary sitting that many Ugandans are undergoing torture in those safe houses by Uganda’s security operatives.
Alleging that those who have been tortured to the extent of maybe death their bodies are thrown into the river.