The Defense State Minister, Col Charles Okello Engola and representatives from the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, Uganda Prison Services and Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF showed up for the meeting but Kayihura was no show. Security Minister, Henry Tumukunde communicated his absence from the meeting, saying he would be out of the country.
Amooti Katebalirwe, the acting Chairperson UHRC, says although most of the accusations are targeted at Police, they didn’t send any representatives. The security chiefs were expected to appear with responses to the status and command structure of Nalufenya Detention facility, torture of suspects at Nalufenya and other police facilities, prolonged detention of suspects and the Police Flying Squad Unit.
“We postponed the meeting last week after the Deputy IGP, Okoth Ochola asked that we move it to this week when the IGP is around to attend it,” Katebalirwe said. Adding that, “The DIGP only told me last evening after I failed to get to Kayihura that he would attend a meeting at Internal Affairs in the morning. We thought he would come later or send a representative.”
The meeting with the security chiefs follows two on spots checks by UHRC including one led by the UHRC chairperson, Medi Kaggwa to Nalufenya police detention facility where they recorded statements from suspects. One of the suspects interviewed by the Commission is Godfrey Byamukama, the Kamwenge Town Council LC 3 chairperson.
UHRC has postponed the meeting to a later date when the security agencies and ministers will appear with responses to the raised issues. “We will communicate another date for the meeting and we hope Kayihura will be in attendance,” said Katebalirwe.
Uganda Police have been on the spotlight for torturing suspects picked up in connection to the killing of Kaweesi in an attempt to extract confessions from them. The issue came to the fore after some of the suspects appeared before court limping with wounds and scars on their bodies. The pictures of Byamukama lying in his sick bed at Nakasero hospital with wounds on the knees and ankles went viral on social media drawing angry reactions from human rights activists, legislators and members of the public.
This prompted president, Yoweri Museveni to write to Kayihura warning him against using torture to extract confession from suspects, saying some of the could be innocent. At least police operatives have since been arrested in connection to the torture of Byamukama.