KAMPALA – The Minister of Security, Elly Tumwine has tasked the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee to apologise to Ugandans whose homes were mistaken as safe houses saying the move was so dishonourable.
Tumwine made the remarks on Wednesday while interfacing with lawmakers who are investigating allegations of torture within safe houses in both Kalangala and Kyengera.
He said that however much the security agencies have sought to work with Parliament to ensure there are no human rights violations in Uganda, there are still scrabbles on the method the Committee is using to carryout investigations into the human rights violations.
The Minister said, “I think there is a bit of problem in your methods of work, which as Parliament I think we can improve and do better. I was really concerned and to some extent ashamed seeing MPs peeping through doors and when you started entering private people’s home, forcing doors open. As MP I felt ashamed, there would have been better ways. If you had asked, it would have been easy to show you where we could go.”
“When you are dealing with some of our people, don’t take everything for granted. They misled you that this is a safe house. I will blame you and I request this committee to apologize to the public. When you trespass in somebody’s home do you apologize or not? I request this committee to apologise to citizens whose rights you violated,” added Tumwine.
However, Committee Chairperson, Nantume Egunyu told off Tumwine that Parliament has mandate to conduct on spot visits and that the Committee was simply carrying outs its duties after the Minister had earlier denied them access to the safe houses.
Tumwine denied allegations of barring MPs to safe houses, “But there is a method of work on how to deal with security work. You just don’t bump into somebody’s home. However much you want to go everywhere there are procedures to follow. There are places where you can never get because they are of security interest. There are places which are inaccessible by the public.”
Tasked to reveal more safe houses, Tumwine said that of the three houses the Committee visited, the one in Kyengera was indeed a safe house and the Committee is now free to access the premises but said the Committee can’t have access to other safe houses, “You are free to visit it. I have cleared with security services that use it, it must be on the information that, so that security and guards are informed, that is how things are done. For the other houses, there will no longer safe houses for those people who need security if they are exposed. That is the truth, I can’t change it.”