Mao says Nalufenya is Uganda’s Guantanamo bay

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Nalufenya Police Station in Jinja district

Democratic Party President Norbert Mao believes Nalufenya detention facility located in Jinja district serves as Uganda’s version of Guantanamo bay.

The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a United States military prison located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, also referred to as Guantánamo or GTMO, which is on the coast of Guantánamo Bay in Cuba.

Since the inmates have been detained indefinitely without trial and several inmates were allegedly severely tortured, the operations of this camp are considered to be a major breach of human rights by Amnesty International.

“Our Guantanamo Bay has been Nalufenya. I hope Ugandans will now be demanding excellence from the police. It’s our duty,” Mao said on Thursday night while appearing on NBS “Frontline” programme.

According to Mao, police have taken a lot of beating. They have been seen as the naked forceful arm of government.

“I think if the IGP is not doing PR, then he is doing prejudice reduction. After a long time of police being led by non-career officers, now we have someone who was conditioned as a police officer from day one,” he said.

He added: “I would like Ugandans to have hope. All the lawyers did their best. I liked it when the CDF said we don’t deal with policies but we execute directives.”

On Thursday, the Inspector General of Police, Martins Okoth-Ochola, told members of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs that the order to close the dreaded Nalufenya police facility is “being drafted” by the Director of Legal Services of the force.

“I am going to close it; the Director Legal Services is drafting the order to close it [and] anytime from now, I will sign it,” he said.

He was responding to concerns raised by MPs including Butambala County MP, Muwanga Kivumbi and Budaka County MP, Mr Kezekia Mbogo on the state of Nalufenya Detention Centre.

Last month, the police dismissed reports that the facility, famous for torture had been closed.

According to Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu, it doesn’t matter whether it is from Katuntu to Katuntu’s son, the circumstances will eventually change.

He said the new IGP’s perception towards the police is different.

On closure of Nalufenya, Katuntu says it is not about a building but about the activities which have been happening from there.

Government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo, said he disagrees with the narrative that the new IGP Ochola is trying to undo what former IGP Kale Kayihura did.

“I want to believe that whatever Ochola and Kayihura did were intended to make the force better,” Opondo said.

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