Internal Affairs minister, Gen. Jeje Odongo finally tabled before Parliament a least of opposition supporters that were abducted days before and after the January 14 presidential elections – but his list drew more questions than it offered answers.
Odongo’s list had 177 names with details of when, where and why they were arrested but it did not satisfy the MPs who challenged the minister to produce a complete list.
Many of those on the list, Odongo told Parliament, were arrested for possession of military stores while others were involved in meetings to plan for post-election violence.
His list of 177 names that he said is the total sum of all the people who have been arrested did not tally with the breakdown and categorisation of the suspects he made before Parliament.
“ln summary there are 43 persons arrested for participating in the riots,156 were found in possession of military stores and 17 arrested from meetings planning post-election violence, six persons were released
on police bond,” Odongo said.
This brings the total to 216 persons which leaves 39 people unaccounted for.
MPs readily countered Odongo’s list with Masaka Municipality MP, Mathias Mpuuga, tabling a list of 432 opposition supporters who are still missing.
“I have followed the minister’s list and not even a tenth of what I have on my list have been read. We need to know the whereabouts of these persons,” Mpuuga said.
Manjiya MP John Baptist Nambeshe wondered why Odongo’s list excluded names of Ugandans that were picked from other parts of the country outside the central region.
Mawokota South MP John Bosco Lubyayi read out nine names of his constituents that were not included in Odongo’s list while Lwemiyaga’s Theodore Ssekikubo asked Odongo to explain the whereabouts of 18 people that he said were picked from his constituency. The 18 did not feature on the minister’s list.
“There is no way we can allow political differences to end in military courts. It is sad to note that abductions are continuing,” Ssekikubo said.
Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, the Kiira Municipality lawmaker said that in presenting the list, Odongo had made an admission that indeed Ugandans are being kidnapped and wondered why the minister is not bothered that agencies that are not mandated to arrest Ugandans are doing so and only presenting lists to Police.
“This government now admits that it kidnapped people because the minister responsible for police did not know where these people were. Infact, he only knew of 44 people of which he only accounted for 13 people,” Ssemujju said, adding, “The minsiter of Internal Affairs says that, he has the honour to present a list of the kidnapped people! Which honour? You should be having regrets. People did not know where their relatives were, and now you have the honour to bring the list.”
Ssemujju also noted that to date, his constituents are still being abducted with their whereabouts not known.
Gilbert Olanya (Kilak) demanded for more answers regarding the disparities in the numbers being given since during President Yoweri Museveni’s recent security brief, the country was told about 318 missing persons with only 55 in security custody and the rest not accounted for.
Odongo said that he would study the lists presented by MPs saying that more investigations are still going on. He appealed to anyone with a concern about a missing person to report to the police so that investigations can be carried out.
He also told Parliament that a good number of the abductees is detained at Makindye Military Police barracks and their relatives can seek the permission of the police’s chief political commissar to visit them.
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