Lawmakers, Muhwezi clash over Masaka killings probe

Wednesday September 08 2021
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Security Minister Jim Muhwezi addressing a meeting organised by the Parliamentary committee on defense and internal affairs on Tuesday. PHOTO / GERTRUDE MUTYABA

By GERTRUDE MUTYABA
By AL-MAHDI SSENKABIRWA

Lawmakers on Defence and Internal Affairs Committee yesterday clashed with Security minister Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi over interviewing survivors of the killings in Greater Masaka Sub-region.

Gen Muhwezi, who travelled with the committee members on a fact-finding mission in the affected areas, had on Monday warned MPs against asking much information from residents and local security people, insisting that it may jeopardise ongoing police investigations. 

But the legislators led by the committee chairperson, Ms Rosemary Nyakikongoro, disregarded the minister’s advice and sought more information while interacting with one of the victims and local leaders at Kibinge Sub-county in  Bukomansimbi District yesterday, prompting the minister to interject.

“This I mean the Police, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and of course the Ministry of Security, that is the division of work.  It is true honourable members of Parliament, especially this committee  oversees government in doing its work, but the responsibility of investigation and bringing to court the perpetrators, killers of our people is squarely on the Executive,” Gen Muhwezi  said.

The minister said although Ugandans want to know the perpetrators, which have so far claimed 26 lives in the subregion, the matter is already before court.

“We have made arrests and even our colleagues, Members of Parliament [Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana] also made statements,” the minister added.

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In response, Ms Nyakikongoro said they were sent to Masaka by the Speaker of Parliament, not the Executive and their work would not in any way jeopardise police investigations.

“We are not the real investigators, but we are investigating the investigators so that they do work as expected,’’ she said.

She cited an example where a detective can mismanage a case file and a robbery suspect returns to the village and starts from where he stopped.

“This is why wherever we go, we advise residents to be vigilant and report wrong people...,” she added.

Mr Bashir Ssempa Lubega, the Mubende Municipality MP, asked Ms Nakikongolo to call off the meeting if the minister insists they don’t interact with residents.

Bukomansimbi is among the districts affected by night attacks by machete-wielding thugs and on August 4, they hacked Hassan Mugera,32, after digging a hole in his house at Kyetume Village.

According to Mugera, who testified before MPs: “Ever since I was attacked, I have not seen police investigating my case.” 

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