KAMPALA-The Chairperson of Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) Mariam Wangadya has asked opposition Members of Parliament especially from National Unity Platform (NUP) to stop using her name wherever they talk about their missing members.
On addressing the press in Kampala on Wednesday, Wangadya noted that she is tired of MPs led by Hon Mathias Mpuuga , the leader of opposition of keeping on their endless demands about missing persons when they are well aware that these are lies.
“I can upon the legislators who are demanding for the release of missing persons to go and ask them from the right people. Let them go to the right people whom they accusse of abducting their people because me Wangadya a poor person I don’t have capacity to abduct any body.”
She also reported that they registered a case in their system of an individual who was promised money by some opposition members of Parliament to tell lies in the media that he was kidnapped and illegally detained. That this person after the work ,he tried to ask for his pay but instead he was assaulted.
In October 2023, the UHRC released a report on the missing persons , the report confirmed that out of the 30 , only 18 were proved to be missing since their whereabouts had not yet been traced.
On releasing thag report, Wangadya noted that the other 12 had been charged with various offences , released on police bond while others on bail.
The 12 who were charged and released are; Kavuma Jamushid , Godfrey Kirumira Marvin, Ssonko Haruna Badru , Abdu Bayani Babu, Khalid Sebi, Kabugo Alex Basajja , Ssebunya Yasin , Kagimu Fred and Mubiru Sadat were also arrested and later on released.
That the charges preferred against these people included; Murder , Terrorism, interference with electrical installation among others.
At the same occasion, Wangadya accused National Unity Platform’s Secretary General Lewis Rubongoya of forging evidence that was presented to the Commission in line with the missing persons.
Upon receiving that report from UHRC , On 12th October, 2023, National Unity Platform through its leadership, hosted families of the missing persons and called for an end to the ‘mockery’ of those seeking justice and expressed disappointment in Wangadya
NUP Party President Hon Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu described Wangadya as a person who has failed to serve in the above position to the expectation.
These confirmed that their people were picked from various locations by people suspected to be security personnel and since then they have never surfaced.
The Opposition legislators led by Rt Hon Mathias Mpuuga picked up the matter and agreed not to attend Parliamentary sessions until after government has set free all the missing persons.
Kyagulanyi added that presenting of these family members was to prove to the world that its true there are people who have been missing for close to three years and this has left their relatives worried.
In a report signed by Gen Kahinda Otafiire the Minister for Internal Affairs and it was presented last month to Parliament by his junior minister Gen David Muhoozi, he pinted out that some cases where the opposition attributed alleged disappearances to security operatives had been reported earlier by the relatives of these people as unwitnessed disappearances.
On the issue of John Bosco Kibalama’s disappearance, Muhoozi said tha their findings revealed that his vehicle was reportedly found abandoned along the road, and all the belongings that he had at the time.
The Minister also reported that there are inconsistencies in the numbers and the testimonies in various claims of reported disappearances as presented variously by the Uganda Human Rights Commission and the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, and the latest statement by the LoP.
About the largely publicized disappearance of John Bosco Kibalama in 2020, the Minister said the government’s investigations reveal that his vehicle was reportedly found abandoned along the road, and all the belongings that he had at the time, were intact in the vehicle, including a mobile phone, laptop and an iPad. He also added that there were other unwitnessed disappearances like in the cases of Kasumba George and Kisembo Godfrey whose relatives had reported to police earlier before even the Mpuuga made their case to Parliament.
Gen Muhoozi said that the government is aware that the opposition is using a smear campaign against President Yoweri Museveni’s administration before the international community and such allegations of missing persons are key factors.
The Minister also reported that there was some inconsistencies and testimonies of various cases of reported by Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights , UHRC and the leader of opposition.
However the opposition was not satisfied with the findings in the report and therefore promised to come up with an action after a few days.
On Tuesday, while responding to the Government report on disappearance, the leader of opposition Hon Mathias Mpuuga presented fresh demands to government which includes; Unconditional release
All political prisoners and institute Commission of Inquiry to Investigate the disappearance of
18 upporters of the Opposition National Unity Platform NUP party who have been missing Since 2021.
Secondly is for Parliament establishes a Select Committee to investigate alleged cases of rape, and defilement as well as the transfer of all persons
Mpuuga also demanded that Parliament establishes a Select Committee to investigate alleged cases of rape, and defilement as well as the transfer of all persons being subjected to unlawful trials before the Court Martial despite Such trials being outlawed by the Constitutional Court in a 2021 Ruling.
In response to the above requests, the Speaker of Parliament Hon Annet Among promised to engage the President about those issues and later a meeting will be held other people including Chairperson UHRC to forge a way forward.