By Mulengera Reporters
Senior MP Latif Sebaggala (been MP since 2001) has narrated the humiliation Speaker Kadaga endured at the just ended Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) meeting in The Netherlands. IPU brings together more than 140 national Parliaments from the world’s most civilized and powerful nations (militarily & politically). They meet regularly to discuss the state of governance, democracy and respect for Parliament as an institution. Sebaggala, who was one of the MPs that formed the Kadaga delegation, says they had a very rough time throughout the meeting as Uganda’s declining human rights and torture record was discussed and condemned almost daily. Sebaggala says they even had to be referred to a special IPU committee on human rights where Kadaga (as delegation leader) had to answer hard questions. In the human rights committee, Sebaggala says all options were on table including calling for sanctions against Uganda. “We were surprised delegates from allover the world had torture videos from Uganda including those we had never seen. But that of Bobi Wine and others walking on sticks in Arua because of torture wounds caused us more hardship because the victims were MPs whose integrity IPU is here to protect. It was a difficult moment. We all accepted that Bobi Wine had grown into something even the Speaker couldn’t understand. But what helped us and eased our efforts to defend Parliament of Uganda was the fact that there was a record. They wanted to know which steps Parliament had taken to defend human rights in Uganda and the Speaker’s record was impeccable including the protest letters she has been writing to the President condemning torture.
That’s how we were let off the hook as Parliament. The Speaker told the committee that these are things only the executive and the military can explain and it was agreed that IPU sends a team to come to Uganda and investigate the actions of soldiers and the executive which controls them,” said Sebaggala who praised Kadaga for the honesty with which she explained her history of condemning torture by Ugandan security agencies. Kadaga has twice written to President Museveni to protest brutality against MPs both in Arua and Parliament December last year as age limits were being scrapped. According to Sebaggala, as they went about chest-thumping thinking the IPU trouble was done (at least for this year), the images of Yusuf Kawooya torture came in. “We as Ugandan delegation hadn’t even become aware but our colleagues from other countries already had the images on their phones and it was even worse showing more brutality than all earlier videos. The IPU Secretariat and organizers had copies already and people started saying this must be norm in Uganda and not the exception. We were speechless now. We couldn’t say any thing. All this was played for the delegates and everybody was appalled. We only kept saying we shall give an explanation after acquainting ourselves with this new video but the conclusion was clear Uganda is hard brand to sale.” Appearing on Med Nsereko’s talk show, Latif Sebaggala told CBS FM listeners that the Speaker was angry such acts will only hurt Uganda’s efforts to sell its tourism potential. Tourism minister Godfrey Kiwanda on the same show agreed torture was going to cost Uganda a fortune.