Opposition Directs Lawyers On 25 Missing Persons

The Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Mathias Mpuuga has revealed that several lawyers have been directed by his office to file for production orders for 25 missing people before court.

Mpuuga told Journalists at Parliament on Thursday that the decision to make habeas corpus applications follows the failure by government to explain the whereabouts of the people despite being furnished with lists on the floor of Parliament.

Habeas corpus, is an order for production of detained person.

The Nyendo-Mukungwe MP was addressing the media in his end of year press conference, in which he highlighted the performance of the Opposition.

“This week, at the prompting of the Deputy Speaker, the Prime Minister promised to come and make an account by way of comparing what we are questioning and what they know. And the last meeting was supposed to take place yesterday in the Deputy Speaker’s Chambers. None of the persons turned up for that meeting,” said Mpuuga in part.

He added that his team that included the Shadow Minister for Internal Affairs Abdallah Kiwanuka, National Unity Platform (NUP) Spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi, Butambala County MP Muwanga Kivumbi and Busiro East MP Medard Sseggona were ready for the meeting but none of the government officials showed up.

Those that Opposition seek their production include; John Bosco Kibalama abducted from Kanyanya, Micheal Semuddu from Rubaga, Muhammad Kanatta from Mukono, Yuda Sempijja from Mukono, Musisi Mbowa from Kisenyi, Mubiru Hassan from Kawaala, Paul Muwonge from Komamboga, Isma Sesaazi from Makindye, Daudi Mulungataba from Wakalolo and others.

The others are Peter Mugabi Sengendo from Busonko -Kakiri, Ivan Kawesa Damulira from Kakiri, Vincent Sembatya from Busonko-Kakiri, Saul Kuteesa from Namagera-Kakiri, George Kasumba from Kyotera, Abbey Semakula from Ben Kiwanuka Street, Hussein Kato from Budo, Phiona Katushabe from Bulenga and others.

The others are Kirya Peter, Wangolo Shafik, Zimula Dennis, and Luwemba Mustafa from Kyebando- Nansana, John Damulira and Moses Mbabazi from Kiseka Market, Vincent Nalumoso, and Martin Lukwago from Bugolobi market.

According to the list issued by the Opposition, the 25 were abducted between 3rd July 2019 and 7th November, 2022.

Mpuuga says that the height of this year has been the growing human rights violations that have even, for some reason, made people forget the difficult economic situation that the country is going through.

Mpuuga and Prime Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja have previously met over missing opposition supporters. Their last meeting was on Thursday in the office of the Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa. The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Defence, the Minister for Information and National Guidance, and the Government Chief Whip.

In an earlier meeting, 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 supporters upon the request of the government following a meeting that was chaired by the Deputy Speaker. 

Now during last Thursday meeting, Mpuuga declined demands to resubmit a fresh list of the abductees and asked the Prime Minister and her team to retrieve a record of Parliamentary proceedings for the lists.

Deputy Speaker Tayebwa later told MPs during a plenary sitting that the meeting was not conclusive and that another would be held.

“In a follow up with issues to do with a response of government on cases of people whom the Opposition reported to have disappeared and the government had not yet come out to clearly state whether it had them or not, we held a meeting and in that meeting, we found that the documents we had were not conclusive, so the meeting was not conclusive,” said Tayebwa in part.

Tayebwa then told the MPs that the meeting agreed that another meeting will be held on Tuesday and they come to a conclusion on the matter.  Tayebwa had also promised that on Tuesday, a report would be made to the House on the way forward.

However, the meeting did not take place on Tuesday due to a special sitting for the late Judge Ruby Opio. URN learnt that this had been rescheduled for Wednesday but it also did not take place.

Between 2020 and 2021, several people subscribing to the People Power Movement which metamorphosed into NUP were abducted, and held incommunicado for several months but resurfaced with heinous injuries all over their bodies.

Former CMI commander, Maj. Gen. Abel Kandiho, who was transferred to Uganda Police Force to serve as chief of joint staff barely a year ago, was sanctioned by the United States on grounds of having directed or personally participated in abductions and torturing of Ugandans because of their political affiliation.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

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