Opinion: Mzee has to pose with soldiers ahead elections…

This is just like staple food. The President, the Head of State and the Commander-in-Chief Yoweri Kaguta Museveni are always posing with armed personnel, police officers and law enforcement ahead of the polls in 2021.

Soon, he will polish his rifle, wear an AK-47 and say he wants to crush his opponents. That is what this man does. Around the polls, the campaigns and such. He will warn, with stern words and use allegories to explain his position. The old man will use all means to address his opponents. While knowingly scare, intimidate and order force against them.

His allies will call them hoodlums, extremists and rascals. They are the ones who is to blame, when the tear-gas, the arbitrary arrests and extra judicial killings. The armed forces and the law enforcement will go hard towards the citizens who happens to attend or be close to the opposition candidates. That is just the way of life.

So, what the President does with this posing. Is not only to show his army, his soldiers and his police force. But trying to message that your not planning to mess with him and his agenda. You are supposed to listen and obey his command. If you don’t, then expect no mercy.

That is why he has the army, LDUs, ISO, CMI and so fourth to gather intelligence, get the wrong people into safe-houses. Ensure the public are silenced and intimidated. So, he can rule for life. Because, he cannot rule on popularity or love, but he can rule by the iron fist. It is with the power of the arms, the bullets and the possible he can run a nation.

Museveni is making sure of this. That is what he has and what he stands for. This is why his posing. Taking pictures and spreading the news of new enforcements. New trainees and officers to the rescue. To prove that the state is not only safe, but he has the force to combat anyone who pose a challenge. He got the guns, the trained personnel and the will to silence you. That is the message he sends.

He has done this before and now done it again. That is what this man does. Especially, ahead of another election. Just to prove a point. He just have too. He live by the guns and will die by the guns. Peace.

Opinion: Tumwiine thinks his above the law in concern of the safe-houses

What I know is there is safe houses but you (MPs) will not be allowed to go there because the laws does not permit you” – Gen. Elly Tumwiine on 28th August 2019

General Elly Tumwiine, the Security Minister and the one who has the oversight and governing role over the safe houses, the Police Force and so-on. The General has blocked the Human Rights Committee from the Parliament to access the Safe Houses. As they should be able to assess and report on the works of the state.

Alas, the General has denied that and even asked for the MPs to ask forgiveness for doing so. As they humiliated the owners and the ones whose running these houses. What is out of this world and lack of understanding of his role as a Minister. His not a higher ranking, above the people, but a servant of the public. His Security Ministry is in-charge of Internal Security Organization (ISO), External Security Organization (ESO) and Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI).

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) apparently needs these Safe Houses, as they are still keeping Nalufenya Prison also. The NRM are not interested in disclosing or stopping these practices. That is why the Parliament and the Committee are doing this to the General. Since, the General are not willing to let them overlook the acts of it.

Like the NTV report today:

Parliament has adopted a motion to censure Security Minister Gen Elly Tumwine for blocking the committee from visiting safe houses and repeated contempt of parliament and the office of the speaker. This follows a report of parliament’s Human Rights Committee that faulted Tumwine for blocking the committee’s work on safe houses, before also stopping the Director of Internal Security Organizations Col Kaka Bagyenda from appearing before the committee” (NTV Uganda, 05.02.2020).

The Parliament is not wrong looking into it. The General should be worried, when you easily access horrific stories of people whose been taken into these places without trial. Tumwine might think he can do it, because there is no repercussions for his actions. Neither will the NRM take any hits for this. Even as they continuing the post-colonial legacy of it. This practice was before the NRM and will hopefully be abolished after it.

The word “safe house” has now almost gone out of use in Uganda, but multiple sources within the police and accounts by people who have been subjected to torture recently suggest that such places still exist. In his narration to the MPs, the tortured Byamukama said the beating that nearly ended his life did not happen in Nalufenya, for instance. He was blind-folded and driven to a location within Kampala City where he was tortured and was only dropped in Nalufenya after the fact” (Eriasa Sserunjogi – ‘ON WHOSE ORDERS? Torture as an instrument of repression in Uganda’, The Elephant, 29.07.2017).

Gen. Tumwiine knows these stories, there been several cases in Court, which the state has lost. As they are breaching the Constitution and their own laws. By not abiding to it, as they are not gazetted neither are the detained and tortured individuals following the courts nor the rule of law.

That is why Nalufenya is still a thing in 2020. He might be censored, but that will not change the fact of the innocent behind bars and tortured in ungazetted safe-houses across the Republic. Where people who dissent or who are troublesome to the NRM are put. Without trial, without justice and without answering in courts of law. They are guilty before even proven innocent. Instead of being innocent until proven guilty. Peace.

My letter to Gen. Tumwiine on the role the MPs and their investigation of Safe-Houses!

I am a member of parliament, honourable members and I felt hurt when you ashamed the institution of parliament for knocking at peoples gates thinking that its a safe house. I want them to apologise for shaming parliament” – Gen. Elly Tumwiine (Moses Namayo – ‘Gen Tumwine wants MPs to apologise for “invading safe houses”’, Nilepost, 02.10.2019).

Dear Sir, General Elly Tumwiine, Members of Parliament (MP) and the Minister of Security.

I am writing to you, because clearly it is need. For someone being an MP and Minister. You surely need a kind lecture.

I know your arrogant and feels entitled to living lavish and being unquestioned for role in the National Resistance Army war against Milton Obote II government from 1980-86. Since, then you have been in power together with the President. This is public knowledge.

However, I am not writing to you because of your history. I am writing to you, because you need to hear this. I cannot believe I have to write it even, but apparently I do. The Members of Parliament are Representatives of their constituents, they are the Representatives of the citizens. Initially, they are the lawmakers and the ones having oversight of the government, the Republic and secures the state. The Security Organizations are mandated to secure the country for crime, spying and possible insurgency. The army has mandate to secure the territory and safe the Republic, but not to be policing.

Just as I wrote that, I have to be clear, as Representatives of the Citizens, they are there to ensure the citizens are safe and taken care of accordingly to laws. The MPs did their job as an oversight mechanism to see the state of the safe-houses. Because, this is ungazetted safe-houses should be scrutinized and analysed like Nalufenya Prison before its closure. Surely, there is found and litigated violations of laws from the safe-houses, as this has been proven in the Courts. Therefore, the MPs should be allowed to enter and report to the Parliament.

General Tumwiine, you need to understand your place. Your in the mercy of the MPs and the citizens who elected them. They are not your minions or your little civilians. They are the people, who is there to ensure the public safety. Which you are supposed to respect as a Minister and MP in Parliament too. Instead, you want to keep these practices secret and only the survivors and brave enough to speak about it. Get to give a little gist of the acts done by the Security Organization within these ungazetted safe-houses.

Mr. General, your not superior, these practices will be shed lights on, whether you like it or not. Because, the truth will appear eventually, not because you want it, but the reality will be surfaced or leaked. At one point, the acts and the questionable violations done in the mercy of the security agents of the state. Will shed lights on the ones you want to keep a secret.

Still, you should let the citizens and the MPs know what that is done. General Tumwiine you need to understand your part. Because, you got no rights keeping people without warrants, without court rulings or in detention indefinitely. These things needs to be brought to light. We cannot let this be in the darkness. What we already know about these Safe-Houses is grim and bleak parts of humanity, which a state shouldn’t do. However, you want this behind closed doors and forgotten.

What if one day, another regime put you and your family members in a house like this, General? Wouldn’t you like your MP to knock on the door and check if he laws was abided and your rights was preserved? Have you considered that?

General Tumwiine, tides are turning, times are changing. We don’t know tomorrow, that is why we have to make the best of today and try to make tomorrow, even better. Therefore, you should think of the future and what might happen to you. Who is now defending these practices, who says that you cannot end up in similar places?

I am not the one to charge you, I am just the one to make you think and maybe reconsider your approach. General, the MPs should be allowed to enter and do their duty. Just like you have the duty to ensure the Republic is safe and prevent crime. That doesn’t mean, the state shouldn’t allow questions in how it does it.

Time for you to respect others and actually listen to others. It would be helpful.

Best regards

Writer of Minbane

FYI: The use of Safe Houses are unconstitutional and Gen. Tumwiine is wrong!

What I know is there is safe houses but you (MPs) will not be allowed to go there because the laws does not permit you” Gen. Elly Tumwiine on 28th August 2019

Gen. Elly Tumwiine is again defending the indefensible. Where he is now apologetic in the concern of the safe houses, which is ungazetted arround the Republic. This is the Minster of Security, the one whose the head of the operations and he has no issues with them.

The Minister confirmed that indeed there were safe houses in Uganda and noted that safe houses were not peculiar to Uganda but they are a worldwide intelligence practice.

He told the Committee that some of the functions of safe houses included:

To coordinate clandestine intelligence operations

To debrief and re-brief intelligence assets

To secure and protect witnesses in danger, especially criminals who have turned into witnesses

To secure persons who come seeking to be protected by the state for various security reasons

To manage hard-core criminals who require a long time to reform and now need observation and surveillance” (Parliament Watch Uganda, 28.09.2019).

Clearly, the state misuse the Safe Houses, these unverified locations to keep people they have as suspects. It is a reason why this is problematic. Because, the people taken there is kept for long, without warrants, court orders or even following their citizens rights.

When the General speaks of permission, what in his right mind does he have to take away the public civil liberties and their constitutional rights?

Have the NRM during the time of Gen. Tumwiine at any point suspended the 1995 Constitution to give a free-for-all and take everyone as suspects before trial, before sentencing and discovery of evidence? Because that is what this seems.

Thanks to ulii.org and several of Court Cases, where innocent civilians was put into these Safe Houses and later won for damages against the state. These cases uses certain laws, which I will copy. To prove the misgivings within the law of the Republic for having these places. No matter, what Tumwiine says. Because, the Republic can never repay him back for his sacrifices, not even with their time and their freedoms apparently.

Lets look briefly at some pieces of legislation. Shall we?

Article 28 clause 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda as follows:-

In the determination of Civil Rights and obligations or any criminal charge a person shall be entitled to a fair, speedy and public hearing before an independent and impartial court or tribunal established by law”

Article 44(a) of The Constitution of The Republic of Uganda states:

Notwithstanding anything in this constitution, there shall be no derogation from enjoyment the following rights and freedoms-

(a)Freedom from torture and cruel, in human or degrading treatment or punishment.”

The National Resistance Army (Application to Civilians) Regulations 1996, Regulation 5(1) provides that – “upon arrest of civilian, that civilian may be detained in a military cell and shall be brought before a military court not later than forty eight hours after arrest”.

While these legislation proves how the state are supposed threat there suspects, but that is not what they do.

I will take some snippets from a court case dating to the Judgment on 19th August 2019 –

“THE HIGH COURT OF UGANDA, CIVIL SUIT NO. 386 OF 2014, LT. (RTD) GEORGE KIGGUNDU:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: PLAINTIFF VERSUS ATTORNEY GENERAL::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: DEFENDANT, BEFORE HON. JUSTICE MUSA SSEKAANA”.

As the Plaintiff testified this: “He testified that he was taken to the Head of Investigations Captain Mbahweza Ceaser who was a captain at the time, now a Colonel, who had a heap of sticks and started beating/assaulting him and asked him to remove his shoes and later locked him up in the toilet at Chieftaincy of Military of Intelligence. He was not informed of the reason why he was being beaten. PW1 further testified that was repeatedly beaten to a point when he started bleeding profusely. He was detained in some place in Kololo, which he came to know was a safe house in the dungeons. The plaintiff further testified that after about two weeks he was asked to make a statement that was when he was told that he was suspected to be recruiting PRA (Peoples Redemption Army) and ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) in areas of Kasese, Kampala and Masindi to which he responded that he did not know anything to do with any rebel activity. He insisted that evidence be brought forward connecting him to the allegations but to date nobody ever brought any evidence against him. Pw1 stated that spent sixty one (61) days in detention in a safe house under extreme torture, sleeping on floor, no visitors, and no treatment. As a result of that torture and detention, PW1 testified that he became black as a result of skin disorder, was beaten on his left leg and suffered severe grievous head Injuries” (High Court Judgment, 19th August 2019).

We are seeing a pattern of this, where the state keeps suspect without their constitutional rights respected, neither the lawful procedure, as the state has decided that a certain individual is a suspect and therefore, can be handled with the full arm of the law. Without any warrant, court order or sentencing. This is just one man out of plenty.

Lt. George Kiggundu got 20 million shillings in damages, which was a nearly half of what he sought out for, which was 50 million shillings. However, this proves that High Court see the damages, the way the CMI and most like ISO is breaking the laws in concern of the safe houses.

That is why I had to write to day and put pieces together. Because, Tumwiine wouldn’t want to end up with the treatment of Lt. George Kiggundu any day of the week. No one should, because, you should have fair trial and process. To see if the state is right about the possible crimes a person has committed. With the safe houses, all people are fair game and whatever snoops of intelligence the ISO/CMI/Flying Squad has gotten. They can abduct, torture and detain someone for long without the legal justifications for doing so. Plus breaking the law, by making the supposed suspects victims of state violence against them. Where the state justifiably breaks the articles of the Constitution and other laws to be able to hurt, damage and scorn people for life.

Just because Tumwiine and the NRM is afraid someone might be a criminal or spy, without even having the evidence. Therefore, they need houses to torture the incriminating evidence instead of gathering it and proving it to the Courts, that the person in question is planning/doing/evidentially connected to the sort of activity that would put their life in legal jeopardy. But the way the state is doing it.

They are not doing it right, not acting right and using the passage of power as a government and authorities to bring the peace. They are actually acting, as if people are guilty before they are proven innocent. Instead of everyone is innocent before proven guilty. Peace.

Opinion: A regime needing “safe houses” is a sign of brazen oppression of its citizens

“Madam speaker I wish to mention that a safe house is a secure place used for intelligence work, all intelligence and security agencies world over operate safe houses,running a safe house is not peculiar to Uganda but it’s a worldwide intelligence practice” security minister Gen. Elly Tumwine (August 21. 2019).

That there is reports and statements made during this week from Hon. Francis Zaake and Betty Nambooze, whose both have stated their evidence of the usage of Safe Houses. This has been known for a long while. There is several of these houses and used by the Internal Security Organization (ISO). Hotel Serena used to be a sort of house back-in-the-day, but has rebuilt to other use.

That the Nalufenya was closed earlier in the year, there is still other building used for the same ways. To torture, hide victims and supposed spies. That the state takes away in silence, abducts without warrants and usage of even soldiers to take away activists, political opponents and whatnot.

All of this isn’t new in the Republic. That National Resistance Movement (NRM) have continued the practices of previous administration. The NRM have been brazen and its been known that dissidents has been tortured and arrested for long time. This been done by the Flying Squad, CMI or even ISO. All of them has picked up people and kept them in “safe houses” without court orders to keep them detained.

Therefore, don’t be shocked when Zaake MP says he knows about 900 people, whose arrested and tortured at this moment at the safe houses. Surely, the NRM will not verify this. Because, they don’t want this to be a thing. They want to show the Northern By-Pass, that they used over a decade to finish, maybe more.

Let’s be clear, we don’t have all the information. Because, this is in the dark, grey-area, which is kept a secret. The state doesn’t want the news out. They don’t want to show the darkness, the only thing we know is the stories from a few victims. Since, there is no Parliamentary Report like on Nalufenya, which we got just days before closure of it. Then, it was shown the systemic violations of human rights and cruel behaviour of the state towards their own citizens.

We cannot know how big of deal this is, because the numbers, the lack of leaked reports and the proof is not there. But when the likes of Gen. Tumwiine verifies it. Shows there is an intention of open violence against the citizens of the Republic.

If these people picked up by ISO, CMI and other security organization from the state, they should have warrants and prove the criminal intent of the suspects. Not just abduct them and detain them in random “safe houses” unless the state wants to keep their activities as a secret. Because, if they were sincere … then the state would prosecute them like everyone else. Innocent until proven guilty of a crime.

Alas, that is not the case, because the state uses this to intimidate and oppress the citizens. Peace.