The Opposition in Parliament has resolved to move a motion censuring the Minister of Security Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi over accusations of failing to stop gross human rights violations targeting their supporters.
The MPs said there has been deliberate persecution of opposition politicians including subjecting them to detention without trial, torture, abductions and in extreme cases murder but Muhwezi has failed to stop such actions, raising questions over his ability to occupy the office.
Addressing journalists at Parliament, the Leader of Opposition, Mathias Mpuuga noted that he had already lodged an official notice of censure to the Clerk of Parliament, Speaker and Deputy Speaker’s office.
“We believe that the minister for security has totally abdicated his responsibility, is in breach of public duty and seemingly not bothered and we find him unfit to continue to occupy that sensitive office. As a sign of displeasure to the status quo and as part of our protest, we want him censored for either his direct or indirect collusion with the tormentors of the population,” Mpuuga said.
Mpuuga said that they had received reports and seen many Ugandans who continue to be tortured by security agencies but relevant authorities have not taken any measures to deter such action.
He said that the opposition had resolved to have a register at every Constituency opened where citizens can officially record their complaints regarding human rights abuses.
“We have resolved at every constituency office for an MP, a register is going to be opened where citizens are going to officially record their complaints; for those whose family member disappeared, detained without trial or for long without charge and we are aware some families paid ransoms to security agencies to have their members released. We want to give these families a chance because we are going to demand justice,” he added.
He urged all the MPs including the National Resistance Movement (NRM) MPs to embrace the idea of putting up a register in their constituencies so that the public can register their complaints officially.
“We are going to demand for justice for these citizens and this is not a preserve for MPs from the opposition but even those in the NRM are invited to do the right thing,” He added.
The LoP also confirmed that the opposition had resolved to uphold the ongoing boycott of parliamentary sittings that they announced last week protesting the continued violation of human rights in the country.
He added that the opposition is planning to provide telephone contacts through which people can register their complaints and that all these will be appended to a motion that the opposition will move before Parliament after their boycott.
Rule 109 of Parliament’s rules of procedure provides for the vote of censure process against Ministers and requires any member desirous of moving this motion to notify the Clerk in writing of his or her intention, citing the ground for the proposed censure motion and giving detailed particulars supporting such grounds.
The rules require that any signature appended to the list shall not be withdrawn and after at least one-third of the MPs have appended their signatures in support of the proposed censure, the Sergeant-at-Arms shall forward the list to the Clerk.
Out of the total 529 MPs in the 11th Parliament, the opposition outnumbered by the ruling NRM’s numerical strength would require 176 signatures for the motion to succeed.
After raising the required signatures, the Clerk is required to transmit the notice of censure, not later than 24 hours to the Speaker accompanied by the particulars supporting the various grounds of censure and signatures.