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MPs clash with Gen Otafire over Masaka killings

Gen. Kahinda Otafire was appearing before the Parliament’s Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs to answer questions on security issues within the country. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Parliament’s Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs clashed with the Minister of Internal Affairs Gen. Kahinda Otafire over the machete attacks in greater Masaka.

The clash erupted while officials from the Ministry of Internal Affairs led by Gen. Kahinda Otafire were appearing before the committee chaired by Sheema District Woman representative Rosemary Nyakikongoro, to answer to key security issues but also on the budget of the entities under Internal Affairs.

The committee had demanded that Otafire reconsiders the issuance of National IDs to foreigners who reportedly cause atrocities and run-away and cross back through the borders to terrorize the locals in Masaka region.

Otafire told the committee that Masaka machete attacks need collective effort with local leaders who need to collaborate on security to defeat the insurgents.

He said that the politicians went there and convinced the population that they were the best to represent them, but later ran away leaving the locals under attack from the assailants.

He says the politicians should now use the same networks they used to win elections, to fight crime by involving their people.

However, this statement angered the MPs including Namanya Naboth of Rubabo County – Rukungiri district and Hajji Bashir Lubega Ssempa, the Mubende Municipality MP who said the minister was justifying the alleged involvement of the politicians in the Masaka killings.

Namanya Naboth said Otafire should stop saying politicians who defeated NRM in Masaka are the chaos of the killings. He said politicians in greater Masaka used their network to look for votes, adding that this should not be linked with machete-wielding assailants, but Otafire insisted that these are the same networks that politicians can use to help government fight crime.

Bashir Lubega Sempa said although he is an NRM supporter, the remarks of the minister were tarnishing the image of NRM. He expressed disappointment over the remarks saying this should not be treated casually.

Otafire says that he has experience in conflict and he understands the need to work with the communities but the local leaders also need to play their role.

Earlier, Brigadier Christopher Damulira, the Director of Crime intelligence told the committee that Masaka is now peaceful for the past three weeks, with the only incidents being copy cat crimes of throwing letters to threaten people.

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