Members of the media, FDC officials present, comrades in the struggle and all democratic forces in Uganda.
Today, we assemble here to bring to your attention a matter that is of grave concern to all of us. We are living in dangerous times.
We are concerned that hundreds of our opposition colleagues have been kidnapped by security agents and cannot be traced at this hour. Dozens have been arrested by police and other security personnel and detained in safe houses or ungazzetted detention centres where relatives, friends and colleagues cannot access them.
This trend of abduction, kidnap and mass arrests of our members was intensified after the 2016 presidential elections that we are convinced was rigged by the same security apparatus that is constantly hounding us today.
Most of those activists kidnapped like FDC youth leader Babi Kahemba cannot be traced anywhere on Ugandan territory yet we know they have all been variously picked by uniformed and non-uniformed security agents.
More worrying is that all our activists kidnapped have not been allowed access to their lawyers or formally charged in courts of law. We have reliable information that some colleagues have been tortured, ostensibly to force them into submission or denounce their allegiance to opposition politics in Uganda.
Some, we are have been told, are being threatened with possible links to armed rebellion in Uganda. This is totally unacceptable. We resist this political witchhunt against the convictions and persuasions of our members. We stand with them in this hour of need.
This trend of political events is worrying; worrying because our security agencies have been used to abuse the political rights of opposition youth in Uganda. The security agencies and especially the Police appear to have reneged on its core mission and duty of protecting citizens of Uganda.
It may not not be shocking that our members have been kidnapped by men in police uniform and others are held in various police sites spread across Uganda. We think is absolutely criminal for police to operate exclusive sites such as safe houses where they detain political prisoners and subject them to torture, cruel and inhuman tretament. We demand that police must come clean, release our members or produce them in competent courts to face charges, if any can be preferred against them. To keep them in ungazzetted sites is pure violation of their political and human rights.
We hold police totally responsible for the disapperance of members firstly, because they have the mission duty of protecting citizens of Uganda. But secondly, the police takes full responsibility for the disapperance of our members because at every last point of location of sight of our members before disappearance, uniformed police are always in sight.
We also demand that Police must stop acting like a political party. If the force wants to engage in politics, it should register as a political party and fully operate as so. It can even choose to ally with NRM. This business of wearing a national uniform and operate as an NRM para-military police force must stop. This political practice by the police, if unchecked will have consquences.
We understand that police also uses Nalufenya prison in Jinja as another exclusive torture chamber for those opposed to NRM military junta. Yes the facility is completely shut out to citizens even when relatives and friends are closed inside. Sources in police say those who are detained there are subjected to the worst forms of torture. They are beaten, deprived of sleep, given inadquate food rations and worst of all denied immediate health care. We understand that some of our members are detained in Nalufenya ungazzetted detention facility .
We urge local and international human right bodies to inspect the state of Nalufenya detention cell to establish if it meets the basic standards of holding political prisoners.
We also wish to reiterate that we remain committed to searching for our comrades and ensuring that they are freed. We are convinced that all our comrades are political prisoners.
We however demand police must release all our comrades in the custody.
We shall be free.
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY.