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Gen Tumwine rejects MPs plan to visit safe houses

FILE PHOTO: General Elly Tumwine

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Minister for Security General Elly Tumwine has told the Human Rights Committee of Parliament that they cannot visit safe houses in the country for security reasons.

Tumwine was on Wednesday appearing before the committee chaired by Janepher Nantume Egunyu to answer allegations of torture in safe houses.

Last week, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga directed the Human Rights Committee to investigate reports on the presence of Safe Houses in Lwamayuba in Kalangala and Kyengera in Wakiso district.

In a heated meeting, Gen Tumwine and the MPs disagreed on the committee’s term of reference which requires them to visit and ascertain the status of safe houses in the country.

Gen Tumwine also requested for more time to respond to all the questions regarding safe houses.

Tumwine was asked to furnish the committee with details on the number of safe houses, under which laws they have been set up, how people are taken to safe houses, categories of people detained and whether they is torture in safe orders among others.

Gen Tumwine told the MPs that for security reasons, there are areas where the committee is not allowed to visit.

Tumwine also told the house that the constitution supersedes the role of MPs, a statement that angered the MPs.

However Latiff Ssebagala, the Kawempe North MP says that Parliaments committee on Human rights is investigating torture and therefore they can’t be stopped from visiting safe houses.

Nantume asked the Minister to make it clear if the committee cannot visit safe houses, yet they are supposed to monitor Government compliance to human rights requirements.

The Igara East MP Raphael Magyezi said Tumwine was undermining the role and power of the committee and was failing to answer questions in his docket.

Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu said the Minister was failing to cooperate with the committee and was being unapologetic of the fact that several Ugandans are being mistreated and held incommunicado.

Although the Minister requested for more time, the meeting ended prematurely with the MPs sending away General Tumwine.

He faulted the committee for not giving him enough time to answer his questions.

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