“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.
When reading the letter ‘Update on combating crime’, which was released today on the 3rd November 2019. It was like reading a spread-sheet from an Inspector General of Police. It was reading into the works of the police and investigations made by the Police Force. This wasn’t an letter made by actual President. The Head of State and the Command-in-Chief. No, this was the letter an Inspector General of Police (IGP) should have made.
That President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is micro-managing is now common knowledge. This is why just mere week ago or so, the Deputy IGP had to formulate a plan to criminal gangs, which was just putting basic policing onto a spread-sheet and call it a day. Therefore, what was made today, as a show of effort and work. The President really should have had the IGP J.M. Okoth-Ochola released this letter or something similar. Since, this is initially his job, if not let CP Fred Enaga do his thing and shred some cheese over it and call it a meal.
When saying all this. I will take some pieces of it and show why I feel like this. Because, that is the only way this letter from him makes some sense.
“Greetings, after some weeks of absence. This time, I will, again, address you on the issue of combating crime because crime was appearing, again, after we had suppressed it with Operation Wembley in the year 2002. The criminal groups, in recent times, had killed people in the areas of Kampala-Entebbe, Ntungamo, Lyantonde and the Kisoro areas. I have not yet received the report for Kisoro. However, for Kampala Metropolitan, Ntungamo and Lyantonde, the gangs have been wiped out. These gangs had killed 13 people, injured 2 and robbed sh. 24 million in total” (Museveni, 03.11.2019).
Francis K. Butagira statement at the United Nations in New York on the 8th July 2003: “The collection of illicit arms in an ongoing activity by law enforcement agencies. A Joint Task Force by the security agencies, code named “Operation Wembley” set up early in 2002 to tackle increased armed crime resulted in the recovery of hundreds of firearms” (Butagira, 08.07.2003). Sam A Akaki wrote: “Creation of ad hoc and unauthorised detaining agencies, such as Operation Wembley and its successor, the Violent Crime Crack Unit (VCCU)” (Written evidence submitted by International Lobby for Reform in Uganda (ILORU), December 2004). What this is showing how he promoted the Operation Wembly now and saying what is happening is the same the past ad-hoc action. This means, there are something similar in the path and usage of the police resources. Therefore, he could just have been an IGP and not so presidential.
After this he shows stories from several places in the Republic, where the been murders, thieving and gangs on rampage. Just writing a protocol of what is the gist of the criminal activity done and even whose name behind it. That is so not like a President, but like a Police Commander. However, he ended this piece with this:
“You all can see that what was missing was vigilance by the public and the Police and increasing the speed of responding by the Police. The cameras helped in a few cases. Forensic analysis of cartridges helped in all of them. Police dogs, helped a bit in the Ntungamo incidents. It is easy to defeat these criminals as I said from the very beginning. You can see, how the criminals are trying to use our good roads and the good telephone system to move from Kampala and commit crimes in Ntungamo or any other far corner of Uganda. I will not use permanent road-blocks to catch them. It disturbs Nalumanya and Ssalumanya (the ones who are guilty and the ones who are not guilty). I will always use the technology of jigger extraction. You do not hurt the toe because there is a jigger there. You patiently pull back the skin, until you extract the jigger itself and reward it with fire with little damage to the toe” (Museveni, 03.11.2019).
We can all see, that his pleased by his own achievement like a Police Commander would be, if his policies and his methods was working. However, his the President and not the Police Commander. Even, if he has the overall leadership of the Republic. That doesn’t mean that he should involve himself as directly as this.
The way he wrote the stories of the crimes. The way he is saying that the roads, the telephones and everything else makes it easier for criminals. What makes it easier for criminals to thrive is the lack of policing, lack of rule of law and also an impoverished police. What has been done here is ad-hoc acts of sudden change of what the police was focused on. Instead of focusing on opposition police, it actually did police work and went after gangs. However, that shouldn’t be commended, but says more about the lack of work been put in the right places by the authorities, by the President and by the supposed IGP. Nevertheless, this will continue and this is not the final word in the saga.
We just know it comes more, but this isn’t the sound of reassuring President. No, this is the words of a proud IGP doing his thing. Peace.
“Okay The point I’m making is this: Soldiering and policing, they ain’t the same thing. And before we went and took the wrong turn and start up with these war games, the cop walked a beat, and he learned that post. And if there were things that happened on that post, where there be a rape, a robbery, or a shooting, he had people out there helping him, feeding him information. But every time I came to you, my DEU sergeant, for information, to find out what’s going on out on them streets… all that came back was some bullshit. You had your stats, your arrests, your seizures, but don’t none of that amount to shit when it comes to protecting the neighborhood, now do it? [sighs] You know, he worst thing about this, so-called drug war, to my mind…it just, it ruined this job” – Howard “Bunny” Colvin – The Wire Season 3:10 (2004).
What Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP) Sabiiti Muzeyi wrote and spelled out to the media in this weeks “Enhanced Security Plan to Curb Violent Crimes”. It was basically spelling out what policing is all about. Not strange it is like this, when the army is more involved, the leadership is patriotic, loyal cadres of the army and leaders from with the Police Force itself.
That is why these fellows could have been re-watching The Wire or any other Police TV-Series, which has been known for a while. Even Pacific Blue, Luther, NYPD Blue, Colombo and all the editions of Law & Order. All of these could say about the same thing.
What the DIGP did launch was more surveillance and investigation capacities, fingerprinting firearms, improving forensics department and more visible police officers in the traffic. This is all steps of ordinary policing. That is not re-inventing an art-form. Alas, this is not changing the ways of doing work.
That is why what they are wanting to do. Is to directly wire-tap gangs, follow-up on CCTV Cameras and investigations itself. So, that they can follow-up on suspects and find proper evidence to link possible criminals. This should be their works, follow leads and breadcrumbs, even have proper detectives, that detect things and solves cases. That shouldn’t so hard, but you cannot anticipate soldiers and the army men to get this. They are securing a territory, they are in the line-of-fire, they are not getting affidavits, finding the motives and the evidence. The Army will use force to keep safety, they will guard a perimeter and secure a venue. They will not find a person with a guilty conscience and ID a suspect with fingerprints and so-on. This they could have learned from watching TV.
Therefore, this sort of enhanced plan to crack down on gangs isn’t that substantial. It shows more the lack of finesse, the lack of protocol and the lack of work ethic within the force. They are just soldiers on the beat and not doing policing. That is why they are not able to stop the gangs from existing. This is how it seems.
This report and PR hasn’t shown strength or ability to restructure. Instead, it has shown weakness and that they have been focused on other work. The Police is known for monitoring opposition leaders, their gatherings and such, but not handling actual criminals. This is maybe why it has to learn basic policing. Which is a sad sight.
Maybe, the UPF should hold seminars, hold course and even have bonus evenings in the police stations with talking points and questions after watching the Wire or anyone else. To see, if there are anything they could learn to do their actual job. Peace.
“I have given 2 days to Commander Sabiiti of the Police to come out with a plan to combat these gangs. The IGP is away in Peru for a meeting. I will look at that plan, comment on it and it will, then, be communicated to all of you. It is easy to defeat these gangs. Their crimes will only add to the credit of the NRM because we are going to defeat them. Yet, the People have already seen the bankruptcy and the criminality of these groups and those who back them” (Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, 15.10.2019).
Well, Deputy IGP Steven Sabiiti Muzeyi has really only about 24 hours to finish the plan to challenge gangs as a Police Officer, a high ranking security official and a former Major General in the army. This on orders and by commands put on Social Media yesterday by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. Who should have just sent him the package of already well-written ideas from last year. Unless, these are already fixed.
Because on the 20th June 2018, the President dropped his 9 Point Plan to end insecurity. Which was an extensive plan, but you can bug now 1 ½ year later if the Uganda Police Force and the other agencies did comply to this. Even if the magical plan of last year was implemented and put into action.
Like are the police able to collect fingerprints and ID guns? Are the police able to find out by register of boda-boda’s? How is it going with those specialized helmets for boda-boda drivers? Haven’t the CCTV’s done anything, now that they are actually up and going? How is it going with the building of that forensic laboratory? What is going on wit the Flying Squad? Are the any regulation of drones? How is it going with the thieves den on WhatsApp and on Social Media, any signals of catching up on that? Finally, have the Police and Customs acquired any scanners to secure transit of cargo?
This is brief and quick asking of the 9 Point Programme, as the DIGP Sabiiti only has one more day left. But if felt I left out the breadcrumbs of the DIGP to follow, as he stated earlier in his text: “However, for today, I will only comment on the pigs that are attacking People with pangas and mitayimbwa (steel- bars) and robbing them” (Museveni, 15.10.2019). Not that he has to register or look for lost pigs. No, that he has to register pangas, get people to them illuminated numbers in a registry and also combat illegal imports of steal bars. Maybe even, secure previous 9 point plan and actually enforce it.
Who knows, maybe the bans of hoods wasn’t an bad idea, since the Police Force neither has capacity or resources to follow up on previous orders above high. DIGP Sabiiti won’t say that, because than he might be forced to resign or get assigned to a foot-post in Kotido district or something.
If the President was serious he would have given him more time. As he himself hasn’t finished any of his previously made plans, starting all the way back to the 10-Point Programme, before the Vision 2020 or 2040, even the National Development Plan I and II. Therefore, the man should be a bit more patient with his technocrat or civil servant. However, don’t anticipate that. But just like the 9 Pointer of last year.
The additions made by the DIGP will be put in a stacks of paper and forgotten. That is just the way it is, because the funds are only for monitoring opposition and not fight actual crime. Peace.
“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.
Writer of Minbane
“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.
“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.