Torture has a bright future in Uganda, says ex-spy

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David Pulkol

Former External Security Organisation [ESO] spy master, David Pulkol, is confident that torture has a shining future on the Ugandan scene.

Pulkol was on Monday responding to a report released by the Uganda Human Rights Commission that ranked police on top of the list of torture for the third consecutive year.

The 19th annual report of the UHRC was released at Imperial Royal Hotel in Kampala last week on the backdrop of torture allegations against police by suspected murderers of former police spokesperson AIGP Felix Kaweesi.

“It seems torture has a bright future in Uganda. No perpetrators have been brought to book,” Pulkol who was appearing on NBS TV “morning breeze” programme, said.

According to him, police officers are now behaving like judges and magistrates.

“They can prosecute and even remand suspects.”

Pulkol said it was not enough to issue a torture report, “they should follow up if the report is debated on; if not, blame Parliament”.

“Apart from this report, what has the Uganda Human rights council done to do away with torture?” he questioned Patricia Nduru, the Director Directorate of Monitoring and Inspections at Uganda Human Rights Commission [UHRC], who was present.

Uganda Human Rights Commission shouldn’t talk like any other citizens, the former spy insisted, adding, “You can even resign to make a statement. Are there rewards for the officers that report torture? Does the council do anything to catch the attention of citizens?”

According to Pulkol, as long as UHRC is in its comfort zones, it will not know that these people are being tortured day and night.

“I want to shift focus to the supervisors of the police; someone needs to back up UHRC, they should have teeth to bite.”

Turning to the question of the tortured Kamwenge mayor, Geoffrey Byamukama, Pulkol said Nalufenya detention facility in Jinja district will always be there “if we don’t fix the supervisory roles”.

Njala: Now let’s talk about Kamwenge mayor.

Pulkol: UHRC had to wait for a month to make a report.

Nduru: That’s a lie.

Nduru, in defence, said the Uganda Human Rights Commission has a mandate to provide reports but it’s not an implementer.

“As a commission, we made a statement to the tribunal but they said we were already biased.”