Opinion: The “We Fought Tribe” is losing relevancy
This years “Tarehe Sita” seems to be downplayed and disregarded. Not that… it’s shocking or sincerely surprising. Since the reality on the ground is changing. The ones who fought and was part of the bush-war is dying, if not already dead. The few who is left behind is either defiant or betrayed. Except the few who is in the elite and the families who are benefiting from the 1980s war.
The National Resistance Army (NRA) and Museveni came with a promise. It came with pledges and words of fundamental change. We know by now that this has been thwarted and the goalpost have been changed as well. The reasons to go to war and the reason for resisting the ruling government are now gone.
The same ills, impunity and totalitarian government is served by the current regime. There is no fundamental change, when “drones” are taking civilians, civilians are charged in military courts and extra judicial killings are explained away. That’s what is happening, and the liberation of the NRA is long gone.
You know Museveni wants it to be his legendary tale, when he describes it like this:
“Congratulations all Ugandans on the occasion of the 42ndAnniversary of Tarehe Sita. To inform the Bazukulu, the 6thof February, 1981, at 0800 hours (Saa mbiri z’asubuhi), is when the 43 of us, but with 27 rifles, attacked the huge garrison of the Kabaamba Military Training School with the aim of regaining some of the 9,000 rifles, Fronasa had handed to the joint force created after the defeat of the Idi Amin regime. This united force had been given the designation of the UNLA” (Museveni, 06.02.2023).
We know that he wants it to sound prestigious and legendary. The mighty fell to a chosen few. Even when he boosted of a big personal army in FRONASA and as a part of the overthrow of Amin. Hard to imagine that these troops disappeared and went away that quickly after 1979. However, tales must be exaggerated and boasted with time. Just so it sounds supreme and glorious.
Just to put this into perspective:
“On December 23, 1978, rebel Museveni and his merry band of rebels (under the conductorship of Julius Nyerere) embarked on massive recruitment. Soon, Museveni had 200 fighters culled from Ugandan workers in Karagwe District, Tanzania. As he swept into Uganda, Museveni recruited more than 8,000 troops and that’s when Museveni’s Front for National Salvation (Fronasa) teamed up with Tanzanian forces to “liberate” Mbarara on January 28, 1979” (Phillip Matogo – ‘NRA’s 27 guns and tall poppy syndrome’ 02.05.2021, Daily Monitor).
The numbers speak for themselves, and the myth is created to make Museveni seem above it all. Because, if the numbers are better and larger army. The “Tarehe Sita” story makes it seems like an underdog beat the big dog. Instead, the reality might be more boring or more of the ordinary, which isn’t what Museveni wants people to believe. It is also easier to lie, when most of the “we fought tribe” is deceased and no one can counter his origin story. Alas, the records and the past tales will haunt him. Since, we all know that Yoweri cannot be silent or stop talking…
The ironies of the complaints of previous government from Museveni:
“Why such growth in such a short time? It was on account of the following reasons:
(1) People being desperately fed up with the brutality and non-accountability of the old armies ─ UA, UNLA;
(2) UPC blocking the democratic process of genuine and constructive debate that we warned them about many times but never paid heed to our warnings:
(3) The collapse of the economy ─no consumer goods, no wealth creation, magendo, kibaanda, kusamula” (Museveni, 06.02.2023).
Again, Museveni don’t have enough insight or understanding of his own making. The words that his expressing here about the past leadership, the ones he toppled. They can be used against him. The same reasons that he gave to take down Amin or Obote. Can now be used against him and rightfully so. The same traits, the impunity and lack of good governance is all what he does. The same security threats, the same societal issues and bottle-necks haven’t been resolved. Instead, he has amplified it for his own personal gain. That’s why the security organizations are taking away people’s liberties, rights to assemble and be active citizens. Because, if they are… they are easily targets and get’s into legal trouble. That’s just the acts of his government.
That’s why the tales of the Bush-War and the “We Fought Tribe” is becoming irrelevant. The reasons for the war and the toppling of Obote has been forgotten. The leaders, the elites and the President have himself become the same dictator he claimed his predecessors was. Museveni have become everything he fought against. He is blocking the democratic process, the possible peaceful transition and isn’t creating a feasible economy. If the President did… he wouldn’t be where he is today. Peace.
Opinion: Nabbanja’s Faultline
Well, after reading the depressing statement “on alleged abductions” from Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja. We can clearly estimate and assess that the government is cleaning their hands or taking a blind eye to the fact. The National Resistance Movement (NRM) and their allies are not clever enough or wise to bring forth a proper statement. Neither able to articulate or make their statement believable. However, then again, the President appointed fishermen and not brilliant technocrats.
Like the PM stated in her statement:
“To say that Government abducts people, Rt. Hon. Speaker, is to impute that the Government leads someone away by force or fraudulent persuasion. Rt Hon Speaker, Government cannot rule out the fact that the word “abduction” is being maliciously used by the opposition for purposes of blackmailing us, and we highly condemn this act. The opposition are deliberately referring to arrests as abductions. An arrest done by a Police officer cannot in any way turn into an abduction. Rt. Hon. Speaker, I want to categorically state that Government arrests suspected criminals and has not abducted or does not abduct anybody” (Nabbanja, 02.02.2023).
With these sorts of words in early February 2023 makes it unbelievable. The person who says and print it cannot believe it herself. These words are just obnoxious and sincerely troublesome. It is saying that the opposition is “crying wolf” and stating it doesn’t happen. However, there are enough reports and enough people pleading for their loved ones. Who has been taken away, arbitrary arrested, abducted, kept incommunicado and later arraigned in courts after the fact. Therefore, the PM hope people are naïve or stupid. I don’t know which, but one of them is what she’s aiming for.
Without a doubt, the PM explained the nature of the “drones” by default too:
“Indeed, due to the evolving nature of crime to sophisticated levels owing to technological advancement, sometimes the Government may be compelled to effect arrests using plain clothed oflicers and vehicles with civilian registration number plates and other unconventional methods of arrest to keep pace with the ever changing criminal tactics” (Nabbanja, 02.02.2023).
While she claims this is ways to capture and arrest sophisticated criminals. We know these tactics and means to an end is to take in opposition, activists and other people who defies the government. That is an deliberate act by the security organizations and the “drones” are used frequently. The news of abductions and arbitrary arrests are common placed. That’s because of how these state security organizations are operating without fear or consequences. They are doing it and with the blessings of the “high above”. Which is why some civilians are arraigned in military courts to answer for their “alleged crimes” too. It’s a scheme to deter and silence critics. The PM is clear about the activity but claims the victims’ fault for being “criminals” without any facts or evidence of any criminal acts. That just proves the fault-lines of the PM.
The PM ends with some utter baffling response:
“Sharing information on the particulars of an arrest, that is to say who has been arrested, from where, by who and how, will go a long way to not only assist the Government to explain the whereabouts of the arrested persons but also determine whether the arrest was conducted by authorised persons or whether indeed it is a kidnap by criminal elements. Like I stated earlier, the leader of Opposition has not positively responded to the Rt. Hon Deputy Speaker’s request to furnish Government with adequate details/particulars of persons allegedly abducted such as Village of residence, place of work, next of kin, telephone contact, police reference of reports of missing persons, among others yet they are very important for investigation purposes. This has made it difficult for our security teams to trace for these persons” Nabbanja, 02.02.2023).
This is like the right thing to say, but the PM knows better. That’s if she wanted to be sincere. However, we know that she is a part of the problem and a figure head of the state. Which is why she’s undermining and acting “holier than thou”. The PM is just showing how the state neglects the victims of abduction and acts like it got the laws on its side. That the mere gist of the whole statement. She is denying and acting surprised that the Opposition is coming with lists of missing people. Like it never appeared and didn’t really happen. If it did happen, then they were sophisticated “criminals” to begin with. Therefore, we know the malice and the malicious attempts of cleaning the slate for own personal benefits.
We can with certainty say that the Government and the NRM will not take responsibility. It will act like it never happened. They will state the Constitution and the laws, but not say that it acts beyond that. Which is something we already knows, because we heard the stories and read the pleas of the families who has abducted family members. Therefore, the impunity and saga is far from over.
This is the liberty and freedom, the fundamental change Museveni promised in the 1980s. No, I was wrong. He said the opposite, but he stays in power by taking away liberty from the ones who stands in his way. Peace.
Opinion: Tayebwa defends protocol over injustice…
“Colleagues, whether you are who or who, no one will be allowed to blackmail this House because I have seen now where we are going. You have started a very dangerous game” (…) “Not any single day will a member come, undress here, try even to commit suicide here. If you are doing it for your constituency and you want to appease your constituency to show you are the one who has worked, do it, but it will never influence any decision I make here” (…) “Started that issue without honourable Zaake being here. Honourable Zaake has not been in this House for over 10 sittings and without my permission, but I have never spoken about him because he is a brother. You leave a colleague, maybe he is in a constituency, but I want to caution you…” (…) “If you ( Zaake) want to do drama, go and do it in your constituency, you can’t do it on this floor. If you want pictures of people holding you up and how you were arrested to use during campaigns, we can organise for you, we are near national theatre” – Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa (29.11.2022).
The Deputy Speaker of the 11th Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa is more into protocol and plenary rules, than into the plights of the people. That is obvious after the recent actions. His acting high and mighty, but he will fall like the rest of them.
Right now Tayebwa is useful. His a loyal subject and one of them who is eating. Nevertheless, when you fall out of favour or do one big miss. You will fall and never return to good graces. It is easy to be boastful and entitled when you have everything.
Zaake might have been out of order. He might have broken a rule or too. However, who would have believed or given him any time of day. Zaake MP has already lost privileges and been scorned in Parliament. It isn’t like his a big-man or a person of vast influence. No, his a renegade MP who fights for his causes. Maybe not doing it by the book.
What he did though, was to infuriate the Deputy Speaker and many others in such a fashion. That the people have to speak out about the kidnapping, abductions, the political prisoners and the “drones” which are used by the authorities. That’s what Zaake did and it’s clever that way.
Maybe Zaake will be punished or get violated in the Parliament. That will not be anywhere near as damaging as the torture he has felt or the injustice the authorities has served him in the past. Zaake MP knows the pain of the opposition leaders, activists and anyone who dares to question the government of the day. He knows the cost and that’s why his vocal about it. No one should blame him for that. He knows better than most how painful and what sort of suffering people are going through.
That’s why the Deputy Speaker can ridicule and mock him. Nevertheless, it doesn’t make the case less important. We know the Government and the Authorities has no interest in investigating or showing the real numbers of the ones suffering injustice. No, they rather act like it doesn’t really happen or is just an anomaly.
We know now that the Deputy Speaker will defend rules, but not have anyone speak out on the injustice done by the state. That is the message. The Parliament isn’t the place for grievances and it will only be Ministerial Statements from the likes of Muhwezi, which will not bring the truth to the table. Because, the authorities would never give a full picture and only small fragments of what is going on.
The kidnappings, the abductions, the keeping people incommunicado and without trial continues. The torturing and the extra judicial killings. That is all done on behalf of the government and the Deputy Speaker honourably represents that… he honours that and he will not have anyone crying out loud. No, he prefers silence and once in a while condoning it. Peace.
Opinion: Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka must think we are stupid…
“The Government of Uganda does not run any safe houses or ungazetted detention areas. It does not, and when we come back tomorrow, we shall share with you a report from Parliament where they went around all these places, which were alleged to be safe houses and they found they were none. If this happens, then that is a person acting on frolic of their own, and it is not a position of the government of Uganda” – Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka (09.11.2022).
Some days you are amazed. Some days you are flabbergasted and outraged, but not surprised. The Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka has a gift for lying. At a recent a recent meeting of the United Nations Committee Against Torture, the AG uttered these words and some more. Which is just the true definition of lying. He must know it and it should haunt him.
Because, by saying these lies. His just another merchant and a man who allows this to happen on his watch. The AG is content with the arbitrary arrests, kidnappings, torture and injustice served on civilians across the Republic. The AG can act like it never happen and isn’t existing, but we know better. We see the missing people, hear about the tortured people returned and the deposed bodies of activists or opposition leaders; which has occurred on the regular. Therefore, the lies is only showing that the AG is complicit and happy to be a part of regime.
“We can assure the committee here that the government of Uganda does not condone the acts of torture. It frowns upon it and we do prosecute those that have been alleged to have been committing these offences” – Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka (09.11.2022).
It is like the AG have forgotten about these reports alone. One from the former leader of ISO and the other the previous Minister of Security, late Gen. Tumwine. These told stories and we know it’s legit. The Safe-House are existing, the authorities are torturing and kidnapping civilians and this is happening on a semi-regular basis. That’s why these places or areas exists
This is why I just show these, I could have taken pieces from recent court cases of the recent years. Where the victims and innocent civilians has been violated by the state. They have been tortured and kept incommunicado. That’s why we know its happening and the AG cannot just act like it isn’t the modus operandi of the government.
Just read these here.
“At that point, Kaka, then Director General of the Internal Security Organization, who owned islands, Lwamayiba, Ssemuganja and land on Funve and Bunyama Island found it wise to use Lwamayiba as a detention center. Several temporary structures were erected at Lwamayiba, soldiers taken as the place turned into a detention center. “While there, you cannot leave since there are no boats that are used for transport. Soldiers there determine whether you are under rehabilitation or punishment,” one of the victims of the harassment says. The area according to a one Musa, the LC1 Chairperson of Lwamayiba landing site, on Kaka’s detention center was not enough prompting the forwarding of some suspects and officers to Panorama cottages, a facility situated on Kalangala’s main Island, owned by Col Kaka” (Entebbe Post – ‘Col Kaka’s Panorama Cottages turns into a Safe House’ 13.08.2020).
“General Tumwine informed the committee that Uganda had safe houses and noted that safe houses were secure places used for intelligence work. He further said that all intelligence and security agencies world over operate safe houses and that the running of safe houses was not peculiar to Uganda but a worldwide intelligence practice” (Parliament Watch – ‘The State of Safe Houses in Uganda’ 05.11.2021).
We also know that the safe-houses haven’t been investigated. Some MPs was blocked from entering and investigating the premises. The then Minister of Security Gen. Tumwine didn’t allow the MPs to enter. We also know the current Minister of Security Maj. Gen. Muhwezi is claiming there is no safe-houses. However, we know that his lying too. Because, would Gen. Tumwine address it like this a year before?
Just like the state lied about the closure of Nalufenya. You can expect further places in operation and in use. Not only the ones on Lake Victoria, but other places too. There are safe-houses who is in operation and are used for the benefit of the state. That is the gist of things.
We know now that the AG is willing to drop the big lie. He is willing to tarnish his name and reputation to serve the impunity and injustice of the state. His not a man of honour or integrity. The AG is just a merchant of injustice. Peace.
Opinion: No one is safe – when the authorities can take you in for “guilt” by association
The “drones” or “Panda Gari’s” never left the Republic. It is clear that abductions, kidnappings, keeping people detained incommunicado, torturing and also extra judicial killing is far from over. The authorities does it in broad daylight, they do it in the middle of the day. They come unannounced and without warrants, take away people and their remaining family or friends are shocked.
This can happen because the family is in exile, associated with the “wrong” political party or has some sort “questionable” behaviour. There can be “intelligence” gathered against the person, but nothing has been in the courts. None of the charges or the reasons to apprehend, abduct or kidnapped has been proven or tested. It is only on a hunch and possibly by association with someone. That’s all it takes and there is no other justification for doing so.
This is being done by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), Special Forces Command (SFC), The Flying Squad (Uganda Police Force) or Internal Security Organization (ISO). All of them are doing at different times to various of people. It is just so commonly happening. The only reason why we know about it is because people leak videos and messages from “loved-ones” or family members who has been “taken-in”.
The amount of this practice is hard to figure. The numbers fluctuate and the accuracy is hard to know. However, with the lack of oversight and no one been able to look into the practices of “safe-houses”. You just know the state has more facilities where they are keeping “prisoners” or “people of interest”. As they are held without their legal rights or after the 48 hours window to be taken to court to be processed. Because, the entities and the security agencies doing it is operating on a flimsy basis. There is little to no “intelligence” or “proof of criminal activity”. If the security agencies had it. They could have produced warrants and justification for the action in the first place.
The ones that is amazed by this have clearly lost a step. This has been done so deliberately over the years. In such a manner, that the state is now and then forced to pay damages to people captured without a legal basis. That’s why the Courts are forced to so, because the laws are stipulated in that way and the state has to fork out funds. This is for a reason and it happens too. The ones that is fortunate enough to challenge the kidnapping, torture, pain and suffering, which was caused on them by brutal force.
This is the legacy that the National Resistance Movement will leave behind. The acts of the CMI, SFC, Flying Squad, ISO and others will be things that has tarnished its reputation. Everyone knows they are doing it and they cannot run away from it. They have their Argentina House and other facilities that does it. There is no way to run away from it now.
There is no clever spin or sort of reasoning that can suggest otherwise. These actions will remain as dubious and be seen as deliberate acts of vengeance. They are not only done on political leaders, activists and random bystanders. It is also done on people by association and connected by blood. They haven’t even done anything, but their kin did a decision either in absentia, in exile or are already captured themselves. That’s how the state operates and they are not even hiding it. Peace.
Opinion: The “drones” never left
The “Drones” or the Panda Gari’s never ceased their operations. The National Resistance Movement (NRM) have only reconfigured things and made it their own. The same resistance group and rebellion, that promised freedom and liberty. Alas, security for all and no fear of sudden arrests, which would happen according to law. However, with the time that has withered and its now obvious that this was a lie.
The NRM wants to rule on intimidation, fear and strike vicious vengeance towards the ones that is defying it. That’s why people are ending up missing. Cheiftancy of Military Intelligence (CMI) is known for suddenly abducting, keeping people incommunicado and some even end up dead.
It is various of authorities who does this activity, not only the CMI, even if that is the one who is most recognized for it. The army own branched Special Forces Command (SFC) has been doing and so has other agencies like Internal Security Organization (ISO). It is not like the Uganda Police Force (UPF) or Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) haven’t worked in tandem on this.
There is a reason why “safe-houses” exists and they are used for keeping people unknowingly. They are there, usually tortured and battered. The authorities using violent means, which are supposed to break the spirit and get them to tell stories. However, this is only showing the brutal side of the government. As these people are detained, tortured and in harms way without any due process. The civilian are taken there and kept without warrants or court order. They are not deemed felons or people who has breached any statute or law. These people just happens to be caught, captured and be maligned for a crime they didn’t do.
That’s the sort of activity the Parliament is condoning, but never acting upon. No, the government isn’t stopping it. The Parliament haven’t been allowed to investigate and the authorities will only give progress or cliff-notes on the few that is mentioned in Plenary Sessions. The vans are coming to a street near you and someone is going to be at the mercy of the law.
When someone is saying it’s hard to spot the difference between a bloody gang and the people running the “drones”. That is saying something about how they operate. There is the same sort of acts that goons or street thugs do. They come silently and strike powerfully. The victim can be taken brutally away from the location and be kept at unknown location indefinitely.
With the usage of these means, it is hard to separate who is criminal and who is law enforcement. It is the same sort of violent approach and it’s no difference then in Amin’s time, which Museveni has said to be different too. He is actually using the same means and intimidation. His security organizations are using similar means and they not even concealing it. That’s why the Penal Code haven’t been revised and the authorities have the same colonial laws to pin civilians in. Heck, the same government is using military court to detain and charge civilians. That is just showing how far the authorities has taken it. There is no boundaries and the state is willing to do everything to silence the ones in its way.
The drones never left. They were prevalent in the year and months in advance of the 2021 elections. They have been active since then too, but now they are targeting more people. It is happening so often and with such haste. You know the government is trying to do a point. Just like it did with the Flying Squad and the Black Mambas. Things are just coming back and we can rest assured that the LDUs will soon kick-it off too.
This sort of government don’t come in peace, but it comes in resounding viciousness and no one is left untouched. That’s the justice and liberty that the NRM serves the public. You have to be careful. One day it might be you. Just because you were associated with the wrong people at the wrong time or the CMI/SFC has grudges against people like you. Peace.
Opinion: Museveni promotes impunity in regard to disregarding court orders..
“I would want some amendment to this idea making independence to be a convergence of principles of justice. We should get time and discuss it deeply. Part of the problem they(security agencies) don’t implement court decisions is that they don’t agree(with them). There is need for convergence on what is justice in some of the cases between the courts and sometimes the population. For instance, we have got a problem of land issues especially in Buganda. You have got 5000 people in a parish and a magistrate says all of you must vacate because he has agreed with the landlord. Then the RDC says they must stay on the land. What is the historical position of the Ugandan reformers( NRM), freedom fighters and you the lawyers? If we just accept that court has decided that 5000 people must vacate, the RDC will come in and say they can’t leave. We say rubbish, they can’t go. If you say independence, it is abuse of power. You are making a big injustice to the population which can cause you a security problem” – President Yoweri Tibuhurwa Kaguta Museveni (21.09.2022).
It is really special and unique for a man that has appointed all judges and has all his cronies in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. The President has also appointed the Minister of Security and has total control of the National Army. All parts of Law Enforcement is following his command and is imagined in his idea of security. Therefore, the mannerism of what he said is so at fault. His blaming the same people he has trusted with the Judiciary.
The second part which is really troubling is that the President of over 30 years. He has created a new Constitution and enacted dozens of laws, which images what he stands for. The President has had the power and the majority for over 30 years. That’s why the President has the laws he deserves. Museveni knows this and the laws are there because of him. They are there for one reason. He wanted them and he has amended the laws several of times, as his mind has changed or being a President for Life makes it impossible to keep the old articles.
So with that in mind. Museveni should let the Courts judge in according to the laws and their judgements after their interpretations of these laws. Museveni has ensured the Judiciary are living within these limitations and scope of enforcement. The Law Enforcement and the Authorities are bound by the laws and how they are coded. That’s why the Courts cannot order differently or act against certain laws. This is because the President and his majority party has enacted these laws. As long as these laws are active and not repealed. The Courts have to follow them and judge accordingly. That is a very simple reasoning.
A man who has held power for so long and not willing to follow the Courts. It is just disgusting. Just shows the contempt of the same laws that he has enacted. He wants the Law Enforcement and Authorities to be above the law. In such a manner, that the laws are only mattering to civilians, but not the authorities, which are supposed to following it too. This is impunity and a double standard. One law for the people, another law for the security organizations that follows my orders.
The President wants his orders and directives to be more powerful than the laws. It shows that he don’t want rule of law or constitutional order. He wants to rule by his whims and direct orders. That’s what Museveni wants and this is why he defends defying court orders. This he does because it doesn’t fit his political alignment or his tinkering at that very moment.
The President surely defies court orders as a way of punishing his enemies or dissidents. He doesn’t care about not following the law in any concern. Museveni rather have his way than actually following the laws he has enacted. As a President his wording and pompous Head of State who clearly doesn’t value the legislation he himself has ensured or enacted it. In the years in office, he could have repealed or gotten his MPs to write laws that fits his current state of mind. If he had done that, the Judiciary and the Court would have ordered things differently. However, that has never been the issue, because if he did that. He would have higher stakes with the donors and with the ones who is supporting his reign. It would be draconian and be totally disregarding the values he came into office with.
That’s why Museveni is conflicted… and the President just shows contempt of the same laws he has enacted. This is disgraceful and distasteful, but its the epitome of how his ruling the nation at this very moment in time. It is also why he never wants accountability over the “safe-houses”, the drones or any sort of misuse of power. The President wants the fear and intimidation. He wants the ability to order tyranny and use the security organizations to his advantage. That’s why he don’t value the laws or court orders. Peace.
The state ordered to pay in total 400m shillings in damages to 2 URA employees after illegal detention and torture of them in March of 2021…
“(i) The affidavit evidence of A1, A2, Capt. Isingoma, AIP Kisa Claire and Mr. Kabagambe when considered in totality look that like a movie. A1 and A2 are arrested through the use of trickery as if they were on the run whereas not. A1 is deceived that he was reporting for deployment on an operation. When he reports at the appointed time and place he is literally abducted. He is made to leave his vehicle unattended at a fuel station as if he was a terrorist.
(ii) A2 was called by a fellow driver at midnight claiming he needed help having got a mechanical problem. He is lured in the middle of the night and arrested like a terrorist” (High Court, 12.09.2022).
The state sponsored torture story of Robert Asiimwe Akanga (A1) and Kalemba Stevens (A2) is nothing new, but it needs to be told. These two gentlemen won their case against the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA). This case just shows how the state uses torture and keeping people illegally detained without producing them to the courts within the 48 hours deadline. That happened to the people of this case and it is significant, but not shocking.
This sort of case should be spread, because it shows what the state does and how it operates. The authorities are acting like this on the regular. They are allowed to operate like this and it has no consequences. The state is paying damages and costs of the case, but the officers and the authorities will not clean up their act. This is how they are and it’s only a few of these stories that ends up in the Courts. Most of the torture cases are happening in silence and the victims cannot or have no options but to stay silent.
Just read these quotes… and it should make you shiver…
It all started with this: “The allegation is that on the 28th day of February 2021, Al and A2 being employed by Uganda Revenue Authority as a customs officer and driver respectively stole USD 410,000 the property of GAK Express Co. Limited. The two deny the charges” (High Court, 12.09.2022).
So, this all starts with alleged criminal behaviour, which is directly false. The authorities have pinned two men and because of their role in URA. They were easily targets as the work of Customs Officer and a Driver. However, there was never any proof or evidence of this crime.
That didn’t stop the state from doing this to them, which is quotes from the Court Ruling…
About the Arrest and Torture methods used on A1:
“In his affidavit in support dated 25th March 2022 A1 stated that on 3rd March 2021, he received a phone call from Paul Karatunga, the In-Charge Operations Team 1 informing him of a planned operation along Entebbe road. Karatunga assigned A1 to lead the team. They met at Total Petrol Station, Kajjansi at 6.30 am. Karatunga was in company of two soldiers namely Captain Charles Isingoma and Captain Winnie Kusiima plus two armed escorts. A1 was instead arrested under gun point and pushed him into a vehicle. He was taken to URA offices where he met other UPDF and Police officials attached to URA. He was handcuffed. Lt. Col Zaakye informed him, the arrest is in connection with theft of money belonging to a Sudanese national. He denied participating in theft” (…) “Col. Cassette Ignatius Wamundu asked him to confess to the theft of money or be tortured by the Joint Anti -Terrorism Taskforce until he does so. That he was denied a right to contact his lawyer or make any phone call. On 6th March 202l at 7 am was picked by a team from CMI, blindfolded and taken to CMI Hqrs at Mbuya where he was subjected to torture” (…) “It was executed by 10 well-muscled men using weapons such as guns, sticks, batons, metal bars, pliers, chains, ropes and electric wires. He maintained his innocence as they demanded for the money he is alleged to have robbed. He lost consciousness due to prolonged torture. He regained his senses to realise he was in a corridor. He was bleeding and still chained. He was taken back to Custody at SIU Kireka during darkness. He could not walk” (High Court, 12.09.2022).
About the Arrest and Torture methods used on A2:
“A2, in his affidavit of 25th March 2021 states that on 2nd March 2021 at around midnight, hg received a call from Sekweyarna, a fellow driver at URA, claiming to be stuck near his home and needed help. A2 responded only to find army captains who put him under arrest at gun point. Col Cassette Ignatius Wamundu asked him about the money. He denied knowledge of where the money was. He punched him in the right eye and as he fell down. He was kicked in the ribs at gun-point before his children and wife who cried and shouted. He threatened to shoot him unless he admitted having stolen money on 28th February 2021. Present were Captains Isingoma. Diana Museveni and Winnie Karugwara. They took him back to his home” (…) “That on 6th March 2021 he was taken to CMI offices in Mbuya and taken to a room where four muscled men had assorted weapons including guns, sticks, batons, metal bars, pliers, chains, ropes, electric wires among others. He was undressed. He was badly and severely beaten using the electric cables, hang on hand cuffs up the ring as his legs were tied down and suspended in one position for a whole day as he was being beaten” (…) “He was tortured again on on 8th March 2021. His body became swollen with wounds on the legs, back, hands, ribs and abdomen. He did not receive any medical attention or have access to a lawyer or family members. Further mistreatment went on until he was produced in court after an ordeal of 16 days in detention” (High Court, 12.09.2022).
The damages they are getting for all of this:
“Taking all these factors into consideration I award A1 as the main target and focus of torture a sum of 200 million as compensation for pain, suffering, and physical injuries. I award another 50 million to A1 as punitive damages for subjecting him to humiliation and embarrassment. I Award a sum of 100 million to A2 as damages for pain, suffering and physical injuries. I award another 50 million to A2 as punitive damages for subjecting him to humiliation and embarrassment. A1 and A2 are also awarded taxed costs of this consolidated application” (High Court, 12.09.2022).
We know the state will only condone but not act upon the mischief. These sort of cases never cease to exist. There is no retribution or stop of the practice. This has been going on since the inception of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and done by the government before it too. The NRM promised to end it, but they never will…
The damages of 400m shillings won’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things. The officers, the men who did the torture and the authorities will not go after the ones who did it. No, the mentioned high ranking officials and others will walk free. The only thing happening is that the gentlemen who was arrested, harmed and tortured will get damages. The system will not change… and that’s how the story goes.
A1 and A2 are reminders of how the NRM and the Authorities are working. This isn’t a one of or an isolated case for that matter. No, this is how they move and allowed to work. It just happens that this one ended up in the High Court. Peace.
A brief look into the Committee on Human Rights Report on Human Rights Violations in the Country from January 2020 to date
Today I will look into the Parliamentary report named: “REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS ON THE STATE OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE COUNTRY, PARLIAMENT OF UGANDA, FROM JANUARY 2020 TO-DATE” which is dated in July 2022 and received by the Clerk of the Parliament during August 2022. This report is important, as we know the usage of the authorities against dissidents, activists and others during the campaigns and after it too. So, that should be reflected in the report.
I will take out the quotes and statements, which is showing the true character of the oppression and how the state operates. It would be shocking if there wasn’t some sinister actions reported or information about. The news about these acts and the common knowledge of it should be mirrored here.
The report is bluntly very long and could be taken into plenty of pieces. As there are enough pain and suffering to speak about. I am only taking a little part of the greater picture. Just to show what sort of things the state does to the citizens during the election period. Because, focusing on to big parts it will be becoming erratic. There are so many stakeholders who supplemented the Report as well.
So there could be taken out so much material. However, here is just a small fragment and it still prints a bleak picture. I believe this is only the top of the ice-berg and we don’t know what is underneath the surface. The state would never release the whole picture, but only the cliff-notes. That is obvious here….
A brief overview of human rights violations:
It starts with: “the highest number of complaints reported to UHRC was torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (443), followed by deprivation of personal liberty/detention beyond 48 hours (378)” (…) “The Commission reported to the Committee that some of the law enforcement or security agencies wear civilian clothes, sometimes with their faces covered
in masks, while those in uniforms lack name tags. The identification of perpetrators is further compounded when there are joint operations by the Uganda Police Force, UPDF, CMI and ISO” (…) “The Committee notes that there was arbitrary deprivation of the right to liberty because of wrongful procedure of airest by Police and security agencies. Most suspects were held incommunicado and were not informed of the cases against them” (…) “The Committee noted that UHRC reported 90 cases of alleged deprivation of the right to life. However, the report did not contain any additional information on how each case was handled and the status of said the cases” (Report, July 2022).
Abductions during campaign season:
“The Committee was informed that between the months of January 2020 and March 2021, the Uganda Human Rights Commission received 65 complaints of alleged disappearances of persons in the districts of Kyotera, Mukono, Kampala, Wakiso, Mpigi, Pallisa, Bundibugyo and Mityana” (…) “Some of the released persons allege to have been freed from the Special Investigations Unit in Kireka, Wakiso district while others contend they were produced in court and remanded to Kitalya Prison” (Report, July 2022).
“HURIPEC reported that from the start of the official presidential and parliamentary election campaigns in November 2O2O, not less than 500 Ugandans were abducted, kidnapped, held in custody without trial or in military facilities and “safe houses”, or killed extra-judicially. HURIPEC
alleged that on November 18 and 191h 2020 alone, it was estimated that over 100 Ugardans were executed on the streets of Kampala in a bid to contain protests that were triggered by the arrest of NUP Party flag bearer Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu” (…) “They further claimed that while a few of the citizens arrested in this onslaught were arraigned before courts of law, an unknown number were found dumped in jungles and other remote places; often in poor health, bearing torture marks. Some women reported to have been sexually violated- These acts have gone hand in hand with a growing practice of trying Ugandan citizens in military tribunals. HURIPEC expres concern that this is against the letter and spirit of Uganda s constitution” (Report, July 2022)
“Rt Hon. Speaker, UJA reported to the Committee that several journalists were injured by security during the course of their work; covering the 2021 elections. A survey conducted by UJA, for the period November 2nd 2020 and May 12th 2021, they recorded violations of rights for over 50 journalists in form of physical attacks, confiscation of work tools, vandalism, tear gas and
pepper sprays, unwarranted arrests, detention and intimidation by the security forces and private citizens” (Report, July 2022).
Violations of the LDUs:
“Local Defence Unit (LDUS) personnel were reported to have used excessive force, including beatings and extortion of money from Boda boda riders, food vendors and taxi drivers in Kampala, Wakiso, Entebbe and Jinja purportedly to enforce Presidential Guidelines for the prevention of COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021” (Report, July 2022).
This is grim, but sadly not shattering. We have heard and read similar before… it is sinister that a state can act like this and only show a little of it. They are drip-dropping about it, but never revealing the whole picture. That’s why we know… that there is so much more to it all and so many more cases, which has never been told. This is the real trick of it all.
No one should have gone through this, but there are plenty of more that never gets into print. Peace.