The government has reportedly named five people in its custody, out of a list of 25 missing Ugandans that was tabled by Leader of Opposition- LOP Mathias Mpuuga.
The said five were reportedly named during a closed-door meeting convened on Tuesday at the office of Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa.
The five shared by Mpuuga to Journalists at Parliament are Kaweesa Ivan Ddamulira, Kuteesa Saul, Ssembatya Vincent, Ssengendo Peter Mugabi, and Kato Hussein.
“This meeting has been pending for a while until I raised a matter as a way of grave national concern last week on Thursday when the Speaker committed the government to attend this meeting,” said Mpuuga. “We have the famous list of 25 to which they had committed to making a response, the response was a flimsy statement by the Prime Minister relating to a few individuals. Five of them.”
The Nyendo-Mukungwe MP said that according to the government, the five were established to be in detention and they have been variously charged for a multiplicity of criminal offences and therefore in the lawful custody of the government.
“What she (Prime Minister) did not answer, is when and why their charges had to take that long because none of them was charged within less than five months after detention, meaning that she was confessing to an illegality in a government which she is Prime Minister,” Mpuuga said.
He sustained the Opposition complaints about the abductions of citizens which have been ongoing over the last two years, saying that these are illegal, unconstitutional and a gross violation of rights.
Mpuuga insists that there is no accountability yet for the missing persons and tasks the government that it has a duty to account for every citizen including those who claimed to have fled the country.
“One of the claims is that some of them could have fled the country,” continued Mpuuga. “So, we have advised them that it is their duty to account, let them give a list of those who fled the country and the countries to which they fled. So the issues remain outstanding and we are waiting for their report.”
Mpuuga says that if the government fails to report to parliament as the events transpired during the meeting, the Opposition will offer an alternative report.
In her brief statement to journalists at parliament, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja said that the meeting was cordial and that issues raised would be handled one by one. Nabbanja said that some of those reported as abducted have been found to be hardcore criminals.
In his communication to the Tuesday afternoon plenary sitting, Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa said that the meeting was a follow-up of an earlier engagement and that they resolved that a comprehensive report is presented on Thursday.
Besides Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, the other government officials that attended the meeting were Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka, Minister of Security Jim Muhwezi, Minister of State for Defence, Jacob Oboth, State Minister for Internal Affairs Gen. David Muhoozi, Deputy Inspector General of Police Geoffrey Tumusiime Katsigazi, Police Director for Crime Intelligence Brig. Christopher Ddamulira, Government Chief Whip Denis Hamson Obua, Minister of Information Chris Baryomunsi and others.
The Opposition side led by LOP Mpuuga, had the Opposition Chief Whip John Baptist Nambeshe, Defence and Veterans Affairs Shadow Minister, Jonathan Odur, Shadow Minister for Internal Affairs Abdallah Kiwanuka, Shadow Minister for Finance Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi and Bugiri Municipality MP Asuman Basalirwa.
This is not the first time that the Opposition and government are meeting over the matter of missing people. In an earlier meeting last year, Mpuuga was required to submit a list of those allegedly abducted and the places of their abduction.
In March 2021 the opposition presented before Parliament a list of 423 missing people. This was after the Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen. Jeje Odongo tabled before Parliament a list of 177 Ugandans in state custody.
Mpuuga also submitted different lists of missing National Unity Platform (NUP) supporters upon the request of the government following a meeting that was chaired by the Deputy Speaker.