Opposition leader Kizza Besigye has said the promise by Inspector General of Police Martins Okoth-Ochola to close down Nalufenya, a notorious detention facility in Jinja District, will not end the practice of torture in the Force.
According to Dr Besigye, torture is in the DNA of the police and other government security agencies and not in a building like Nalufenya.
“I don’t know why people are paying attention to what IGP Ochola said about closing Nalufenya; it is only a building, there are many places were torture goes on including the many safe houses around the city. As long as the need for torture is there, they’ll torture people. It’s not where the torture is happening at a particular time, it’s the need to torture and the current state of the regime,” Dr Besigye said while appearing at NBS TV Morning Breeze show.
The four-time presidential candidate said the current police only serves to protect the regime and will do anything to keep President Museveni in power.
“The role of Police is to protect the regime against the people, not protect the people and in this case it can only coherently be repressive. The police is now part of the criminal gangs,” Dr Besigye added.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Defense and Internal Affairs to defend the Shs 630Billion Police Force Budget for the Financial Year 2018/19, the Police boss said that after several engagements within the force, it was agreed to have Nalufenya closed, which he said will happen soon.
“The Director Legal Services is drafting for me an order to close Nalufenya and any time from now I will be signing it,” Ochola told legislators.
Located in Jinja district, Nalufenya was established in 1954 as a Police post.
It was, however, transformed into a Special Investigations Centre of police by the former Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura.
In the recent past, all suspects, who were treated as hardcore criminals, were detained there.
It became synonymous with torture, human rights violations, inhumane and degrading treatment following glaring images of the Kamwenge town council chairperson Godfrey Byamukama who was reportedly tortured in the hands of the Uganda Police Force.
On NBS TV, Dr Besigye also took a swipe at government’s decision to introduce new taxes, saying they won’t benefit the country.
“We’re now at a point where results of that are indeed showing, the tax base has remained small because were weren’t investing in that. The more you take away taxes from people, the less people have to invest, you’re denying them the ability to invest. Secondly, you’re investing tax in things that don’t help the people. A lot of money is spent on the regime and not the country,” Dr Besigye said.
“You find that we pay more to people to simply support the regime, these donations that go on and not invest in what supports the public good like agriculture, infrastructure. This together with massive corruption has deprived the country of resources in areas that would underpin development,” he added.
Dr Besigye also accused the ruling NRM government of ruining the economy and being insensitive to Ugandans’ needs such as failure to increase salaries of workers.
“The country is in an economic collapse, the government has no money, you’ve seen from all media that we’re borrowing to pay salaries; that’s how bad things are. I think there’s an anticipation that there is going to be a dispute again in the public health sector and in that anticipation, they want to blackmail the Ugandan doctors that if you don’t do what government wants, they can bring others. If the government of Rwanda can pay Ugandan doctors well, why can’t the Ugandan government that trained them pay them well?” he said.
“I sometimes don’t have the words to characterize the insensitivity of the regime that is running this country. If you listen to what Mr. Museveni said when coming into power, it’s the total opposite of what he is doing right now,” he added.