Parliament Tasks PM Rugunda to Explain Mistreatment of Fishermen by UPDF


Parliament has Tuesday directed the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda to make a statement on the continued alleged torture of fishing communities by the army.

The matter was first raised by the MP for Bukooli island county in Namayingo district, Ouma George Abott. He informed parliament that in his area, the UPDF working with the Association of Fisheries and Lake Users in Uganda have been extorting money from fishermen and taking their fish with the last consignment being worth Shs 9 million.

Ouma asked that the officers terrorizing these people be arrested.

“These soldiers that are beating up our people should be brought to book and the mission be transfered to the fisheries department (Ministry of Agriculture),” Ouma said.

Ouma was supported by Busia municipality MP, Macho Geoffrey who noted that the actions of UPDF officers on lakes are making them to lose support and asked for action to be taken regarding the issue.

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga informed the House that while in Namayingo last week, two Kenyan legislators attacked her over the alleged torture of Kenyans by UPDF officers on the lake asking that such behavior be stopped.

Kadaga further informed Parliament that when she met with the Association of Uganda Fishmaws Traders last week over the same issue, nine of their representatives were arrested and wondered where they wanted Ugandans to seek help.

“We want action. Last week, I invited UPDF, Finance Minister, Minister of Agriculture and the fishing traders to discuss the conduct of UPDF against the population but when the people went back, 9 of them were arrested for having come here to speak,” Kadaga said.

West Budama North MP, Otheino Richard demanded that the UPDF Representatives in Parliament clarify on the matter. However when Lt Gen Ivan Koreta rose to speak, he said that these were tactical matters which are best suited to be responded to by his Seniors.

Koreta added however that the actions taking place are being done by individuals and not UPDF as a force.

The explanation did not satisfy the MPs, which prompted the Speaker to ask the Prime Minister to give a statement tomorrow without fail.

Kadaga said that in both Tanzania and Kenya they have marines on lakes and wondered why it is only in Uganda where fishermen are complaining.

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