The Human Rights Committee of parliament has grilled Uganda Human Rights Commission –UHRC officials for their alleged failure to take action amidst the increasing cases of torture and human rights violations by security operatives.
The Commission officials were appearing before the Commission led by the Chairperson, Mariam Wangandya, the officials on Thursday afternoon. The committee is inquiring into the torture of suspects by security operatives, detention without trial and missing persons on the instructions of the Deputy Speaker, Anita Among.
The Opposition has since the 2021 general elections campaigns complained severally about the abduction of their supporters and subsequent torture in detention. In the past few weeks, there have also been several reports of torture of citizens by security operatives, detention without trial, and missing supporters.
Wangadya told the committee that whereas some cases of torture highlighted by the media are true and known to the Commission, there are deliberate efforts to use the media to exaggerate them. She tabled a formal statement on the matter before the committee. Wangadya however, expressed concern about the way some members of the commission treated her, saying can’t fully express herself.
Wangadya’s statements irked legislators led by the Committee Chairperson, Fox Odoi who described the UHRC report as shallow and non-convincing. Noeline Kisembo Basemera, the Kibaale Woman MP demanded that Wangadya presents before the committee adetailed report in regard to the human rights violations.
She said that the commission report was limited in information and does not indicate the outcomes of the investigations that the Commission has done. Wangadya conceded that her presentation lacked specifics and that she would present a detailed one next week.
Jennifer Mbabazi, the Deputy Committee Chairperson also wondered why the Commission was blaming the media for reporting cases of torture and questioned whether UHRC has a Public Relations Officer that can clarify matters to the public.
She also dismissed the complaints of limited funding presented by the UHRC insisting that the Commission should aim at maximizing the resources available.
The most recent case of torture is that of novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija. He was reportedly tortured by officers from the elite Special Forces Command- SFC for allegedly insulting president, Yoweri Museveni and his son, General Muhoozi Kainerugaba via his social media pages.
Shortly after his release from custody, Kakwenza undressed before cameras exposing torture marks on his back and thighs allegedly inflicted on him by security operatives on Muhoozi’s order.
In her presentation, Wangadya blamed the novelist for fleeing the country instead of filing a formal complaint with the commission for investigations.
Kakwenza is currently in Germany where he went to seek better treatment for the injuries he sustained as a result of torture.
FOR MORE CLICK HERE