By Joyce Namutebi and Henry Sekanjako
Opposition MPs want a committee of Parliament set up to investigate what is happening in Rwenzori region. The Leader of Opposition, Wafula Oguttu said yesterday that there is a crisis in Rwenzori region which needs urgent attention.
The crisis, he said, has been characterized by confusion, misinformation and to an extent, lies.
“We think that this is an internal security matter but government has treated it as a defence matter,” he said.
He described the statement made by the Minister of Defence, Dr. Crispus Kiyonga in Parliament on the attacks as unconvincing and unclear.
On July 10, Kiyonga made a statement to Parliament on the July 5 attacks in the districts of Bundibugyo, Kasese and Ntoroko that led to the death of at least 90 people.
Among the measures he highlighted was the stepping up of deployment of the UPDF and the Police in the affected areas and the assurance that intensive investigations were going on to find the basis of the attack and its leaders.
Since the attacks, over 100 people have been arrested and charged in the military court martial.
Oguttu claimed that there were reports of massacre by the UPDF and Police of 100 civilians who were running to the barracks for protection, but that no apology has been made for the “mass” killings.
He also said there were reports of tribal conflicts among four groups in the area, reports of unfair distribution of land and neglect of veterans.
He raised concerns on mass graves found in Bundibugyo saying it was not clear as to who was buried in them and by whom.
Oguttu concluded by urging Parliament to set up an independent select committee to inquire into the matter so as to stop similar incidents happening in other areas, and to know the truth.
Responding to some of the issues Kiyonga said: “The allegation of existence of mass graves is under investigation. “Today (Wednesday) or tomorrow, exhumation is going to be done to know who these are.”
He reminded the MPs that when he presented his statement , the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga had told him to return to Parliament with a detailed report in a month’s time.
The opposition MPs protested the trial of suspects in the military court martial. “Under what law?” Oguttu asked.
Muwanga Kivumbi (DP) claimed the Inspector General of Police, Gen. Kale Kayihura was recruiting one ethnic group in the area as crime preventers.
He was, however, forced by the Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah to withdraw his accusation that Kiyonga was also involved in what is happening at what he referred to as ‘primary level.’
Oulanyah reminded the House that this was not the first time the issue of the attacks was coming on the floor of Parliament.
The minister, he said, had presented a statement as directed and debate had ensued and the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga had told him to make a comprehensive statement within a month.
At the same sitting Kibanda MP, Sam Otada demanded update from government on Karuma hydro power dam construction, particularly on the agreements signed with Sinohydro Corporation.
Mukono Municipality MP, Betty Nambooze urged parliament to summon the minister for ICT to explain what caused the flop of the exercise of registration of sim cards by telecom companies.
She said some criminals were using unregistered sim cards to torment people.
Opposition MPs want select committee to probe Rwenzori attacks