Minister Odongo tables before Parliament list of 177 missing Ugandans

Thursday March 04 2021
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Internal affairs Minister Jeje Odongo

By Job Bwire

Several MPs Thursday expressed concern after internal affairs Minister Jeje Odongo tabled before the House a list of names of 177 missing Ugandans who he said are in detention following their arrest during and after the January elections.

Whereas the minister tabled the list with names identifying the person, the date, the place, the reason for their arrest and the case management history, some MPs questioned the authenticity of the list with others saying the names on it did not match what they had on their lists.

Additionally, the statement accompanying the minister’s list also had contradicting figures.

According to Gen Odongo, 43 persons were arrested for participating in the riots, 156 found in possession of military stores and 17 arrested from meetings planning post-election violence, while six persons were released on police bond.

A summation of the figures in the minister’s statement accompanying the list indicates that a total of 222 people were arrested by security operatives.

This therefore, means that details of 45 people arrested by security operatives are not on the list tabled by the minister before Parliament.

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CLICK TO OPEN:List of missing Ugandans tabled by Gen Jeje Odongo

“Today I’m presenting to you a list of 177 names clearly identifying the person, the date when the person was arrested. The place where the person was arrested from, the reason why the person was arrested and the case management history. In summary, there are 43 persons arrested for participating in the riots, 156 found in possession of military stores and 17 arrested from meetings planning post-election violence, six persons were released on police bond,” Gen Odongo told Parliament chaired by Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah on Thursday afternoon.

“I would like to inform the house and the general public that a copy of this list is at police headquarters with the office of the CPC. The public is encouraged to check with that office the whereabouts of their missing persons and to get permission to visit them. However, in doing so we should maintain SOPs and avoid overcrowding,” he added.

However, Masaka Municipality MP, Mathias Mpuuga said the names on the minister’s list did not match what he had on his list.

"I have followed the Minister’s list and not even a tenth of what I have on my list have been read. We need to know the whereabouts of these persons,” Mr Mpuuga said.

"Hon Jeje should read for us those names one by one, so that we know the reason of arrest and where they are. I’m afraid Parliament is being used as a clearing agent. Let him read one by one as I compare with the list I have," Kira Municipality MP, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said.

Obobongi MP, Mr Hassan Fungaro called for a commission of inquiry into the events surrounding the abductions of persons by security agencies.

He also demanded that the ministry of internal affairs gives more details.

In response, the minister warned of more arrests saying they would be conducted “reasonably.”

“This is what I have so far, I will go back and check our systems to know where these persons are kept. I will look at the lists members have presented here and establish the whereabouts of these people. I cannot stand here and say there will be no more arrests. Arrests will continue, as long as there is reason and it is conducted reasonably," Gen Odongo.

This comes days after National Unity Platform (NUP) party on Tuesday said at least 458 Ugandans are missing from their families and their whereabouts remained unknown.

However, a copy of a list of missing persons prepared by NUP, which this publication has seen, however contains names of only 243 people.

The alleged disappearances of citizens, which Kampala Archbishop Cyprian Lwanga last month said mirrored the ‘dark days’ of past regimes, has raised concerns about the state of human security in the country, chipping away what the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party has proclaimed for years as its gain.

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