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Uganda: MPs collect signatures to censure Gen Tumwine

Members of Parliament yesterday started collecting signatures in support of a motion to cause the censure of Security minister Elly Tumwine which was adopted by the House last week.

The list of all the 457 MPs with whoever supports the censure motion to append a signature against his or her name has been put at the main reception of Parliament with the proponents of the move wooing their colleagues on arrival for work.

Gen Tumwine is accused of blocking the work of Parliament when the Committee on Human Rights was probing illegal detention centres or safe houses in the country in which many Ugandans have allegedly been tortured.

After the MPs amending the Committee recommendation that had sought to ‘punish’ the minister without providing details, Butambala County MP Mohammad Muwanga Kivumbi (shadow internal affairs minister), moved a censure motion under Rule 56 of parliamentary rules of procedure.

Last year, the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, instituted an investigation into the alleged torture by Internal Security Organisation (ISO) after Mr Latif Ssebaggala (DP, Kawempe North), and Kassiano Wadri (Ind, Arua Municipality), alleged that ISO was running safe houses to torture people in Kalangala District and Kyengera in Wakiso.

Gen Tumwine while appearing before the Committee chaired by Ms Janepher Nantume (Buvuma Islands, NRM) later admitted that government was running safe houses for intelligence purposes but not torturing civilians.

The Committee noted from some of the testimonies that individuals use security agencies to resolve their personal conflicts and recommended that security agencies should avoid being used by the public to settle personal vendetta.

The MPs argued that the alleged victims should be encouraged to seek damages for unlawful detention and torture.

Before the start of yesterday’s plenary session, this reporter had seen at least six MPs append their signatures on the petition which proponents want to take to the Speaker after 10 days such that the matter is put on the order paper.

Appended signatures
Those who Daily Monitor saw append their signatures by 3pm yesterday are Mbwatekamwa Gaffa (Kassambya County, NRM), Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga County, NRM), Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka Municipality, DP), Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West, DP), Moses Kasibante (Rubaga North, Ind), and, Abdullatif Sebaggala (Kawempe North).

“We need approximately 150 signatures and the process has started today. So far, I have appended my signature but I can’t tell how many people have signed because it is not in my interest to see who has done so” Mr Mbwatekamwa said.

He, however, claimed that Gen Tumwine had started “intimidating” MPs who are signing the petition by deploying someone on an errant purposely to take pictures of whoever appends his or her signature.

“His political assistant, the lady there is standing with a phone because whoever signs she must record and take pictures.

I told her you take photos I am going to sign because I cannot hide. She is nobody here at Parliament..,’’ he claimed.

Other incidents
Under the 1995 Constitution, Parliament has successfully censured two ministers and forced five others to resign after raising the required signatures.

Those censured are Mr Sam Kutesa (1999) and Maj Gen (Rtd) Jim Muhwezi (1998) whereas Kirunda Kivejinja, Mathew Rukikaire, Kabakumba Matsiko, Syda Bbumba and Khidu Makubuya resigned from Cabinet.

By Daily Monitor

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