Uganda’s Minister for Security, General Elly Tumwine, has confirmed existence safe houses in the country alleged to be torture chambers.
This was after singer-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi popularly known as Bobi Wine tabled a list of 30 individuals before a parliamentary committee on human rights whom he claimed had been tortured in the houses.
Pressed to explain Wine’s claims, Tumwine acknowledged existence of the houses, but said they are used for intelligence purposes.
“Hata mimi mwenyewe siwezi kufahamu ni nyumba ngapi zinazotumiwa na vikosi vyote vya ujasusi nchini Uganda. Nyumba za safe house zipo kwa ajili ya kufanya uchunguzi wa siri na hivyo haziwezi kufahamiki, zipo kwa ajili ya kupata maelezo ya kina, upelelezi haufanywi hadharani, upelelezi unafanywa kwa siri hivyo unawaita watu sehemu ya siri , na kuanza kufanya upelelezi zipo kwa kupata maelezo ya siri na maelezo ya faida, na huwa wanafahamishwa, loosely translating to, (“I am aware of safe houses in Uganda but I can’t ascertain their number. They are used for intelligence purposes), ” Tumwine said.
Wine told the committee that the houses are used to oppress those opposed to President Yoweri Museveni’s government.
Tumwine, however, dismissed the claims saying those who are spreading the claims should table evidence.
“Anayetoa tuhuma hizo sharti awe na ushaidi, kama kuna mtu yeyote amepotea, ameuwawa au kukamatwa kinyume cha sheria na kuteswa ana uhuru ya kwenda kuripoti kituo cha polisi, translating to, (Victims of the alleged injustice, if any, should make a report with the police immediately)” Tumwine stated.
The speaker gave investigators 14 days to probe the claims raised by Wine and his supporters.
This comes days after an artist signed to Wine’s label died after an alleged kidnap.
Ziggy Wine, born as Michael Kalinda succumbed to injuries that he sustained after he was allegedly abducted and tortured on July 21, 2019 while on his way to the Firebase Crew studios, Wine said.
The outspoken Kyadondo East Member of Parliament, was early this month charged with intending to annoy, alarm or annoy President Yoweri Museveni.
The MP,who strongly opposes Museveni’s regime was last year charged with treason charges for allegedly stoning the president’s motorcade.
While in custody, Wine reportedly suffered torture under the Ugandan police.
He was later flown to the United States for specialized treatment.
However, on arrival from US, Wine was re-arrested by the authorities.
In April, the legislator was violently arrested as he was headed to a concert in Busabala where he was expected to give a speech on police brutality, injustice and abuse of authority.
The defiant MP, who has declared his intention to challenge Museveni in 2021 elections, is also facing illegal possession of firearms and staging unlawful protest charges.