Mr Nabendeh Wamoto

As the president was addressing the nation on 6th February 2023 at Mbarara, where he warned and rebuked officers and men of UPDF to deviate from harassing the civilian population. This was at our 42nd birthday celebrations, a one called Coster Muhongya earlier arrested in Kasese died in a detention centre in Kireka – Kampala. The media captured prominently this warning both on 7th and 8th of February 2023.

When the Commander in Chief repeatedly cautions and or rebukes the security forces without serious sanctions meted out to the perpetrators then there are indicators that matters are getting out of hand. This is a clear example of Gen. Idi Amin’s Uganda Army who downed on the population claiming that their Commander in Chief had blessed them to use their fire arms that because guns were the soldiers’ mothers and fathers. That they (soldiers) shouldn’t therefore starve when they had their guns with them hence the country went into untold anarchy which we must not regress to.

Prolonged arbitrary detentions of innocent people and death while in custody as lately become widespread, torture especially of political suspects is on the increase in Uganda. Many cases of torture, ill treatment and detention are almost in all the new casts in all media houses every other time. These reports show that many forms of torture including suspects being shown fresh graves, dead bodies, snakes etc.

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This is very chaotic and traumatic at the same time. Most of the victims are said to be supporters of former presidential candidates; Dr. Col. Kizza Besigye or NUP’s Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobiwine, it (the government) has continually accused those whom it sees as its opponents of support for rebels, treason, terrorism and other forms such as severe beatings, starvation, blind folding people and dumping them in dungeons, use of electric shocks and death threats which they use to justify extreme and illegal treatment of their citizens (taxpayers). The proliferation of agencies which detain suspects in ungazetted locations without legal authorization makes it had like it is now to locate a person who might have been abducted or arrested and difficult therefore to hold the government accountable

I remember in 2004 at the inception of Uganda People’s Defense Forces Senior Command and Staff College where I was anointed to supply foods and beverages to hundreds of top commanders of East African Community region and mark you this was at the climax of Alqaeda operations in the world. A one Dr. Ongodia of Uganda Management Institute and other two tough talking Makerere university lecturers in the names of Dr. Sally Simba and Dr. Tanga Odoi also warned that many African regimes fall because of the army(ies) becoming anti-people.

The army should therefore avoid abductions, torture, wrongful or illegal arrests, and malicious accusations because this paints a hazy picture of the state as a whole.  These practices appear to be designed to discourage future opposition and political activities sometimes to produce information to use in military intelligence reports (these are unhelpful reports) for use in military operations, sometimes to secure confessions (again this is unfair to use as the basis for prolonged detention of victims or for malicious prosecutions.

I recently shared a gruesome story by one of the victims (names withheld) who told me that over 20 torture victims many of whom were held either during the 2021 elections or at the time of machete attacks in greater Masaka who were subjected to very dangerous treatment while in detention that one was beaten for hours and the soldiers fired bullets above his head. The next day his legs were tied to a tree for two days and that one Maj. General ordered officers below him to dig a hole for his prison cell where he was kept for a whole year. I thought this is bad for our democracy and our national security and stability. Here are my recommendations;

  • To allow the situation to cool down because many are angry especially the youths below 30, through political wing there must be avoidance of further torture and that those responsible be asked to account.
  • The government disbands state security agencies that have not been created by acts of parliament.
  • Increase funding for the judicial system to enable at least one branch of the High Court to be created to function in each district of Uganda.
  • Speedy and adequate compensation of victims of torture, ill treatment, arbitrary detentions and malicious prosecutions.

Nabendeh Wamoto S.P. (0776 658433)


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