Internal Affairs Minister Given 1 Month to Address Opposition’s Human Rights Concerns

The Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Gen David Muhoozi. PHOTO/FILE

Kampala, Uganda | THE BLACK EXAMINER | The Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Gen David Muhoozi, has a 30-day deadline to address concerns raised by the Leader of the Opposition (LoP), Hon. Mathias Mpuuga, regarding alleged human rights abuses and the diminishing space for civic activities. Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa issued this directive during the plenary sitting on October 19, 2023.

Tayebwa stated, “I am going to engage both sides. LoP, I would request that by tomorrow, you provide the Minister with this information, and then we will require the Minister to issue a statement with clear details in response.”

Mpuuga dismissed the Minister’s statement, arguing that it seemed to justify repression and suppress political dissent in the country. He said, “I do not find the Minister’s statement acceptable, as it falls short of addressing the rampant human rights abuses, the growing culture of impunity, a general breakdown of the rule of law, and the shrinking space for civic activities. I invite this August House to reject that statement.”

Mpuuga demanded accountability for the alleged murder of 22 supporters of the National Unity Platform (NUP) during the 2021 campaign trail of the party president, Robert Kyagulanyi. He emphasized that their families continue to suffer without hope of ever receiving justice for their loved ones’ deaths.

He also pointed out that the government has failed to provide accountability and justice for 18 individuals who have been missing for nearly four years. These individuals were reportedly taken from their workplaces and homes by state security agencies, and their whereabouts remain unaccounted for.

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Mpuuga highlighted that over the past three years, numerous Ugandans have been arrested and detained without trial, representing a significant violation of human rights. He noted that in 2021, more than 500 NUP supporters were arrested across the country on various weak charges. Most of them were released after a year without a trial, and some had to pay a ransom for their freedom.

The Minister responded by stating that he could not provide a response as the issues raised by the LoP were sub judice (under judicial consideration). He added that an unsatisfactory response does not eliminate avenues for accountability, and the government is committed to upholding civic space and the rule of law.

He concluded by emphasizing that the government will ensure civic space for the opposition and all citizens while maintaining a commitment to the rule of law and constitutionalism.

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