KAMPALA — Human Rights lawyer Nicolas Opio, the proprietor of Chapter Four, a local law firm has hit out at bush war generals, suggesting that their ‘we fought’ claim is ‘nonsense’ and that it only depicts an intolerable ignorance and little education.
This was after the security minister Gen Elly Tumwine appeared before Parliament’s Committee on human rights while in bullish mood — telling MPs off that they have nothing to do with safe houses and that they should back off investigating the matter for security reasons.
“There is nothing which is open to everyone, there are limitations to everything even in your house; and there are areas which some people don’t reach. There are areas which for security reasons, this committee is not allowed to visit,” Gen. Tumwine said, prolonging the discussion.
Last week, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga directed the Human Rights Committee to investigate reports on the presence of Safe Houses in Lwamayuba in Kalangala and Kyengera in Wakiso district.
In a heated discussion, Gen Tumwine and MPs disagreed on the committee’s term of reference which requires them to visit and ascertain the status of safe houses in the country
Tumwine told MPs that safe houses are necessary for security operations and that there is no law barring their existence.
His comments during a heated debate, however seem to have angered a section of the MPs and members of the public with some accusing him of suffering from Post- traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD).
“I think General [Elly] Tumwine is not arrogant. He is ignorant and suffers from PSTD,” claimed human rights lawyer Opio.
He added: “We put former rebels and killers to work right after war without rehabilitation. These actions are accumulated stress disorder combined with little education.”
PSTD is a disorder characterised by failure to recover after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event.
Science says that PSTD is a condition that may last months or years, with triggers that can bring back memories of the trauma accompanied by intense emotional and physical reactions.
Members were however not convinced with the Minister’s responses to the torture claims and use of safe houses.
The Chairperson, Hon. Jenifer Nantume Egunyu, said that the Minister needs to be clear about the number of safe houses and whether the Committee on Human Rights can visit them.
“We need to know the several safe houses that exist or that you know of. We have heard of safe houses in Kyengera, Kalangala and others which we want to visit,” she said.