Be Specific on what you want; Gen. Tumwine sets Conditions to Access Safe Houses

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Security Minister Gen. Elly Tumwine before the committee on Wednesday

Minister for Security Gen. Elly Tumwine has set conditions the Human Rights Committee of Parliament must fulfill before his office divulges information relating to safe houses.

Appearing before the Human Rights Committee of Parliament on Wednesday, Gen Tumwine told the committee to be specific on the information they need from his officers before they appear in person considering the sensitivity of the information they hold.

He said intelligence information by law must be protected.

Gen. Tumwine was responding to queries from MP’s why the Director General ISO Col. Kaka Bagyenda has persistently eluded the committee despite having been invited to appear before the committee to explain circumstances surrounding allegations of torture meted on Ugandans by Kaka himself, or his officers.

Col. Kaka Bagyenda was expected to appear before the committee on Wednesday alongside the Security Minister, the Inspector General of Police, and the DPP, to share information on alleged gross human rights violations happening in un-gazetted detention centers spread across the country.

“If there are specific issues for Ndugu Kaka to come and explain, let them be specifically mentioned so that he comes knowing what specific questions he has to answer before the committee” Tumwine said.

He said it is a legal requirement that both military installations and personnel to be protected as provided in the Security organizations Act.

Section 10 of the act restricts disclosure of information relating to the duties of security agents, intelligence information, and secrets of either the organization or other officers. The offense carries a death sentence on conviction.

He said the committee through the clerk should first write a letter highlighting specific issues that MP’s require Col. Kaka to respond to before he faces the committee.

Gen. Tumwine however welcomed the idea raised by Hon. Simeo Nsubuga to have the committee work hand-in-hand with security agencies in order to have access to sensitive information relating to safe houses that operate under his office.

He also reiterated his earlier position that detention facilities run by security agencies operate within the confines of the law to serve as sources of intelligence information, while some people are held there for their own safety regarding the vulnerability in the nature of their cases.

Gen. Tumwine unequivocally stated that Hon. Latif Sebagala and other opposition politicians are maligning security agencies with matters that they have no clue about including the issue of safe houses.

Hon. Latif Sebagal is a member of the committee and the person who raised the matter to parliament before it was referred to the committee for investigation.

Before Gen. Tumwine’s interaction with the committee, Bashir Mukungu, Abdu Mulindwa, Moses Magoba, Deo Ssegawa and Alex Adola testified before the committee on Wednesday that they were tortured in safe houses in Kyengera and Namayuba on Kalangala Islands, but were released in August 2019 and dumped at Police Stations including CPS in Kampala, Wakiso Police station, and Bulenga Police station.

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