Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Gen. David Muhoozi, has said that most of the alleged missing persons have never been reported to the police.
While presenting a statement on the alleged enforced disappearance of persons during the plenary sitting on Wednesday, Muhoozi stated that, according to the law and official practice, for one to be declared a missing person, a missing person’s report must be filed.
“This can only be done with the police, which was not done and is still being resisted by the people approached,” Muhoozi said.
He added that some cases, where the Leader of the Opposition Mathias Mpuuga attributed alleged disappearances to security operatives, had been reported earlier by the relatives of these people as unwitnessed disappearances.
“The cases of Kasumba George and Kisembo Godfrey fall into this category. Regarding the case of Kibalama John Bosco, his vehicle was reportedly found abandoned along the road, and all the belongings he had at the time were intact in the vehicle, including a mobile phone, laptop, and an iPad,” said Muhoozi.
The minister noted inconsistencies in the numbers and testimonies in the various claims of reported disappearances, presented to the Uganda Human Rights Commission and the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights.
He also mentioned that the alleged missing persons’ next of kin have declined to give statements to the police, making it difficult for the government to conclude investigations.
“In a nutshell, lack of cooperation and the refusal to report, coupled with the other concerns raised in this response, make it extremely difficult to get to the bottom of the matter of alleged disappeared persons,” said Muhoozi.
He further refuted accusations of victimization of Muslims and claims that there are more Muslims in detention than any other denomination.
“The statistics from the Uganda Prisons Service as of 30 September 2023, indicate that Muslims constitute only 16.4 percent of the inmates in all Uganda Prisons. They fall behind Catholics who are 41.3 percent, and Protestants at 29.5 percent. It is, therefore, clearly not true that the number of Muslims in prisons is bigger than that of the other denominations,” said Muhoozi.
Mpuuga stated that he would make a rejoinder to the minister’s statement on Tuesday, 05 December 2023.
“I would like to ask you to allow me and my team to make a rejoinder to this statement. I will make very particularized prayers for which this Parliament will be on the test,” said Mpuuga.
Speaker Anita Among said Parliament would take a decision on the report after the LOP’s rejoinder to the minister’s statement.