Sunday, February 13, 2022

Ancient Greek Philosopher Socrates, and Jesus Christ said to have lived blameless lives were arrested, charged, convicted and executed because knaves accused them, and in Uganda today we have many knaves passing for MPs, journalists, writers, human rights ‘defenders’ and foreign diplomats some from countries with dubious human rights credentials.


So, it’s not un-expected that there is public revulsion over reports emerging of torture claims by suspects under detention by government security agencies. However, what should be noted is that torture to subdue, obtain information isn’t policy or method of government. To the contrary, government established laws and institutions to hold its officials accountable whenever such violations occur including during war, and there’re many examples to attest. Torture is therefore isolated, far and wide in-between, and an exception rather than the rule. Government doesn’t condone torture and continues to ensure its policies are adhered to. That however, doesn’t mean there won’t be dark horses, which we must collectively be vigilant against.


Recent examples in the Christian church with the longest tradition of civility, yet accusations often emerge that priests commit gross abuses, doesn’t mean that the church isn’t a noble tradition standing for good deeds. The hyperbole currently exhibited by government critics is driven mostly by the stung of their own failure in politics and falsely believe that these isolated incidents, turned high profile through social media graphics, could help dent President Yoweri Museveni and NRM government, a task they have so far failed to accomplish.


For sure these critics well know where Uganda came from on gross human rights violations including rape under bayonets, forced mass exile and murders. They also know about the forced disappearances of senior figures like Chief Justice Benedicto Kiwanuka, Makerere University Vice Chancellor Frank Kalimuzo, Anglican Archbishop Janan Luwum, and many ministers and MPs during past regimes.


There was Argentina (Mengo), Beirut (Makindye), Middle East, (Bugolobi), SRB (Nakasero), Basima (Mengo), Public Safety Unit (Naguru) that were detention, torture and murder facilities under previous regimes, and Nalufenya recently. In a sense, NRM is performing the task of Moses and Joshua in the bible, to open the house of Slavery, and to enter the Promised Land.


Mathias Mpuuga (LOP) is all-over himself leading his troops out of parliament with no clear target including his list of ‘disappeared persons’ which have no credible details, except perhaps for media optics. The infertile censure petition against Security Minister Jim Muhwezi Katugugu is additional evidence of malevolent intents that must surely be rejected. There is also a cabal of journalists so imbued with poison of lies taking advantage of unregulated social media platforms to spread calculated falsehoods and hate mainly for self political ascendency.


It is becoming clear that even where there is some truth in what they say, it’s often buried and lost in a sea of half truths that no human skill can separate from their effort to play the high stakes in mischief to run down Museveni and NRM. But, there are many people pressing forward with the pursuit for truth and grateful to what NRM is doing. We must therefore expose the weaknesses in the detractors’ narratives.


Security agencies exist mainly to protect citizens although occasionally lapses do occur. Had they not been based on the principle of securing the innocent, all malicious reports would be heaped at the CID, DPP and courts of law for prosecution, but many are turned down. Uganda’s security agencies are established by Acts of Parliament as services of honour, transparency, and open democratic accountability to civilian authority.


Many countries had been enslaved through the machinations of their intelligence services, and  so NRM at inception on its own volition decided that ISO, ESO and UPDF would all operate not as secret services but open, and without free-will powers to arrest, detain, interrogate or prosecute civilians. They have no legal powers to arrest let alone detain and interrogate civilians without the involvement of the police and LC leaders. They are not supposed to act in the dark, the reason all Director Generals, DISOs, GISOs, Division IOs, Brigade IOs and Battalion IOs and most operatives are known in the localities they are posted to ensure accountability.


Part of the smear campaign is to cause division or spilt within government, NRM, and keep Museveni in permanent negative news circle and taint him as he ages. It is a most frantic and vulgar political stratagem. Yet in judging a public servant as Museveni, his strengthen and success, weaknesses and failures ought to be set side by side and fairly weighed.


Heads of our security services are supposed to be people with quick eyes to see mischief but also canvas fairness for persons against whom false accusations are made, protect them from the invasion of their individual liberty and possible undue physical harm. NRM has ensured that decisions on public matters are tested by the standing invitation of open criticism to prove them factual or fallacious, and therefore it cannot muzzle debate for fear that its image and support will be undermined.