KAMPALA – Uganda Media Centre executive director Mr Ofwono Opondo has Monday confirmed that the government has lined up a team of ministers to defend government image amid torture allegations.
Mr Opondo in statements issued on his and the media centre social media pages also summoned journalists to the government information centre as the state seeks to banish its image in the face of stinging criticism of the handling of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi a.k.a Bobi Wine and 32 others, arrested over treason charges and manhandled during arrest.
Bobi Wine who is currently admitted in the United States where he was flown on Saturday last week for specialised treatment following allegations that he together with 32 others including MPs were tortured at the hands of the Special Forces Command (SFC) and the Police while in their custody.
Mr Opondo said the press conference will start at 10:00 am on Tuesday at Uganda Media centre in Kampala.
Mr Opondo announced the press conference hours after Bobi Wine for the first time since the Arua fracas, spoke out in detail and also castigated the SFC for unleashing torture on him and 32 others with impunity.
Bobi Wine while recounting what happened since his detention both in Arua and Makindye military barracks revealed that SFC soldiers found him locked up in a room of Pacific Hotel from where they beat him up to near death.
In a dossier published on his ( Bobi Wine) social media pages that have also sparked off public discussion, the regulator noted “in the wee hours of the morning, the soldiers started breaking doors of the different hotel rooms. With rage, they broke doors, and I knew they would soon come to my room. I, therefore, put my wallet and phone into my socks. I also had with me some money which I had earned from a previous music show. I also put it into the socks,” he said.
He added: “A few minutes later, a soldier hit my door with an iron bar and after two or three attempts the door fell in. We looked each other in the eye as he summoned his colleagues in Swahili.
Another soldier pointed a pistol at my head and ordered me to kneel down. I put my hands up and just before my knees could reach the floor, the soldier who broke into the room used the same iron bar to hit me. He aimed it at my head and I put up my hand in defence so he hit my arm. The second blow came straight to my head on the side of my right eye. He hit me with this iron bar and I fell down. In no minute, all these guys were on me- each one looking for the best place to hurt. I can’t tell how many they were but they were quite a number. They beat me, punched me, and kicked me with their boots. No part of my body was spared. They hit my eyes, mouth and nose. They hit my elbows and my knees. Those guys are heartless!”
Bobi Wine said the soldiers, after bundling him in the vehicle, unleashed more torture by pulling his genitals until he became unconscious.
The statement has put government and security forces in a difficult position as the international community and human rights bodies have accused the State of torturing its citizens and failure to respect the country’s constitution and human rights values.