Internal Affairs minister Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire has ordered police to probe leaders of the opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) party for allegedly parading fake torture victims at a UN human rights conference in Kenya last month.
According to Otafiire, some of the pictures that were paraded were victims of boda boda accident crashes. The conference in Kenya was attended by some of Uganda's opposition key figures including NUP president Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine, Dr Kizza Besigye and Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) national coordinator, Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, former leader of opposition Winnie Kiiza among others.
Kyagulanyi in his speech indicated that the government was torturing citizens for political reasons. He utilized the chance to parade some of the alleged victims of gruesome acts by state agencies.
"These were boda boda accident victims. The government does not drive boda boda and it has never put anyone on boda boda. I have directed the crime intelligence director to look for these people and hand them to the CID director [Brig Gen Chris Damulira] so that they can be taken to court," Gen Otafiire said on Thursday at the sidelines after commissioning police housing units.
In response, NUP secretary-general, Lewis Rubongoya, said they have never hired people to disguise themselves as torture victims. Rubongoya added that some of the victims have been injured by police teargas and police have on several occasions issued statements admitting that people were injured by their officers.
Rubongoya tasked Otafiire and all security agencies to identify people they took to the UN conference on Uganda's human rights status that they are victims of boda boda crashes.
"There were no victims of accidents. In any case, some of them are in the police reports. Like a young man of Makerere who was hit with a teargas canister. There's no need for investigations and all of them are there, they should tell us who was a victim of accidents," Rubongoya said.
But Otafiire said that the alleged torture victim masqueraders should be charged with treason as well as the people who paraded them. 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.