11 June 2018

Uganda: Killings On the Rise, Says Report

Photo: Uganda Media Centre
(File photo) President Yoweri Museveni attending the memorial for Police Spokesperson Andrew Kaweesi, who was murdered outside his home.

Kampala — A Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) report indicates an increase in murder cases across the country in 2017.

The report, which was launched on Friday at Golf Course Hotel in Kampala, says 202 cases of murder and killings were reported to police last year, compared to 175 cases registered in 2016. The cases were recorded from police regions of Rwizi, Greater Masaka, Elgon, Kampala Metropolitan South, Albertine, West Nile and Busoga North.

The report also highlights the murder of former police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi, more than 23 women in Wakiso, 20 people in Masaka, kidnap and killing of businessman John Rwamutwe, whose body was discovered in Kagongo Division, Ibanda Municipality.

The report also mentions two female Chinese nationals who were killed in February 2017 from their rented house in Kikoni near Makerere University, Kampala.

Other notable killings

Also cited is the killing of Gulu Town Clerk, among other notable incidents.

"Internal Affairs Minister Jeje Odongo presented a statement before Parliament containing a list of 21 women who had been mysteriously killed in both Katabi town and Nansana municipality in Wakiso District. He attributed the killings to ritual purposes, domestic disputes as well as land conflicts," the report reads in part.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Kahinda Otafiire, who represented Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga at the launch, said the cases are being handled by the different security agencies.

"We commend the contribution of UHRC and we would like to tell the public that these cases are being handled at different levels. Let us just keep calm," Mr Otafiire said.

The UHRC chairperson, Mr Med Kaggwa, said they have continued to pursue human rights at a global level and the figures given had been arrived at through an extensive research.

"We had a thorough research to get our findings. The report covers the commission's assessment on the human rights situation in 2017. It also gives an assessment of UHRC's complaints management, investigations conducted; cases heard before the tribunal and inspections of detention facilities," Mr Kaggwa said.

The report also cites the police, individuals and the army as worst perpetuators of torture cases in 2017. It indicates the police leading the torture list with 419 cases reported against them, followed by individual torture with 210 cases, and the army with 44 cases.

As a remedy, police spokesperson Emilian Kayima said there is an ongoing strategy to continue sensitising the police on how to handle suspects.

Members of the civil society and politicians punched holes in the report, saying the findings are inconsistent with the previous report as the current does not give an update of what happened in the previous cases.

Ms Salima Namusobya, the Executive Director of Initiative for Social Economic Rights, said the report should have focused more on the cases being handled and given an update of the past.

The report urged the State to enforce criminal laws in response against intimidation of human rights defenders and journalists, retaliation against witnesses, and domestic violence.

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