Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The censure motion against security minister, Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi has collapsed with only 88 MPs out of the required 176 signing the motion.
The Opposition sought to censure the minister for allegedly abdicating responsibility in the face of torture of Ugandans by security officers, detention without trial, and missing persons. The MPs signing a motion seeking to censure Minister Muhwezi started on February 10 and the 10 working days provided for under the Parliament Rules of Procedure elapsed on Thursday.
Out of the total 529 MPs in the 11th Parliament, the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party enjoys majority numbers with 336 MPs, and 109 opposition MPs.
Addressing journalists at Parliament, the Leader of Opposition Mathias Mpuuga confirmed that 88 MPs signed the motion and that two Opposition MPs including People’s Progressive Party (PPP) lone MP, Santa Akot representing Aruu North and Jimmy Lwanga, of Njeru Municipality had apologized to him for not signing since they are out of the country.
Mpuuga says that he is not disappointed by the failure to raise the necessary signatures, noting that this will not deter him from demanding justice.
This is not the first time that the Opposition in Parliament is moving to censure different Ministers. In the past, different Opposition leaders sought to censure Ministers but the process collapsed after failing to raise the required signatures due to their decimal number in parliament.
In 2013, a motion seeking to censure the then Kampala Minister Frank Tumwebaze flopped after only 20 MPs signed out of the required 125 for the censure to go ahead during the 9th Parliament.
Another censure motion against former Security Minister Gen. Elly Tumwine collapsed after a section of Members of Parliament faulted their colleagues for shying away from the censure process. Tumwine was being accused of contempt of Parliament.
On Wednesday, Muhwezi described the move by the opposition MPs to censure him from office as a mistake. The Minister said that singling him out as an individual to bear the responsibility for the alleged human rights violations was incorrect because there are different layers of security and defense actors under different ministries.
The Rujumbura County MP also exonerated himself and government from the accusations of torture, saying no court had proved any case of torture against the government.
However, Mpuuga insists that Muhwezi is in charge of the country’s security and that should be answerable for the torture cases.
Mpuuga says that they are to continue with another motion to call for a countrywide inquest into violations of human rights.
Last week during the Opposition boycott of plenary sittings in protest of torture, Deputy Speaker Anita Among directed the House Human Rights Committee to investigate cases of torture reportedly meted on citizens by security personnel.
In the past few weeks, several pictures and videos of citizens have been circulating on different media with reported torture by security forces while in detention. The most recent case is that of Novelist Kakwenza Rukirabasaija and Samuel Masereka, the National Unity Platform-NUP Coordinator in Kasese district who displayed torture marks on their bodies received under detention.