Parliament has directed Government to produce a list of all citizens who have been victims of torture and those killed under the watch of security agencies.
The Deputy Speaker, Anita Among made the directive yesterday during a plenary session in which she said the Minister for Security; Jim Muhwezi should name all torture victims and their tormentors.
“Stories of torture, mishandling of human beings suspected of committing crimes and in extreme cases killing have been rife in this country for a while now but as part of accounting for the lives of all Ugandans, we want to know who has been tortured or killed and even the perpetrators and the action taken against them,” said Among.
This was after MPs raised concern over the continued misbehavior of security agencies that they accused of turning the crime of torture into a norm and acceptable behavior within security agencies.
They said it has become a norm for the officers to shoot and torture civilians and yet no action has been taken by the relevant authorities. They demanded that the security agencies be put to order.
The State Minister for Internal Affairs, David Muhoozi presented a statement on the shooting incident of Police Constable Mukebezi Robert a traffic officer by a UPDF soldier CPL Babangida Bashir Mango.
In his statement, he informed the Parliamentarians that indeed Mukebezi was shot by the soldier after a scuffle but was now out of danger recovering at home.
He assured the House that the Ministry of Defense together with the UPDF was doing everything to track down the errant officer who is currently on the run.
He added that financial and moral assistance would be extended to Mukebezi and his family and that arrangements were being made to give him an artificial limb when he fully recovers to aid his movements.
Mawogola MP, Gorreth Namugga said that there are many cases of shootings and torture and yet nothing has been done about them. She added that it would be unfair to concentrate on one case and ignore the others which are equally important.
Terego District Woman Representative, Rose Obigah also expressed concern about the number of victims she has had to bury because of these killings.
She cited an incident where she was also mishandled by an officer even after she told him she is an MP. She demanded that the officer be identified and brought to book.
The MPs wondered why the UPDF, an entity that was known for its discipline had changed for the worst. They said the UPDF no longer respects the police who are a sister organization.
“The level of discipline or tolerance of the officers in the armed forces has gone down that they have no moral obligation to respect the police. I would like to see that this arrogancy of these armed forces is dealt with,” Tony Ayoo (Kwania County)
The legislators added that security officers kill civilians at will even when the victims are not armed or confrontational with them.
Bugiri Municipality MP, Asuman Basalirwa informed Parliament that security officers misbehaving is a matter to do with many Ministries: The Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Security, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He said that matters to do with security should be addressed when all the line ministries are present for it to be addressed in a cosmopolitan way.
Muhwezi responded saying Government condemns the reckless acts by the officers and the officers act on an individual basis. He added that he had taken note of the MPs’ concerns and would be reaching out to the relevant authorities to gather the list of all victims, perpetrators, and the actions that have been taken.