Opposition Members of Parliament Tuesday walked out of a plenary sitting citing dissatisfaction over the information provided by the Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja and Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka on the manner of arrest and reason of re-arrest of the legislators Allan Ssewanyana and Muhammad Ssegirinya.
The two legislators who were arrested weeks ago in connection to Masaka murders had been released on bail before they were brutally re-arrested.
The Leader of the Opposition, Hon Mathias Mpuuga, asked whether the Speaker was notified of the re-arrest of the two MPs, Hon Ssewanyana and Ssegirinya.
“The families of the two MPs have been denied access to them…”
Hon Ssewayana hasn’t been produced in court beyond the 48 hours and we are here legislating normally.
“We know that even if they were guilty, the laws of the land state how they must be treated,” Mpuuga noted.
“Without the state explaining this, we are constrained to move as though is normal business when MPs have been abducted. We ask through you for an immediate explanation from govt. We seek your guidance on whether u have been briefed as was the first time.”
Hon Theodore Ssekikubo said the presumption of innocence is cardinal in the criminal procedure system.
“Today you may think is Ssewanyana & Ssegirinya but tomorrow, it maybe you. I see MPs of the UPDF but they are quite. This a top challenge to this House. It is unexplainable and unjustifiable that the government of the people is involved in kidnapping.”
“The matter is serious and I need to know the circumstances under which my members are being arrested. When they were summoned the first time, we met them and even discussed lawyers our expectation was the processes would continue,” said Speaker Jacob Oulanyah.
“What the Hon for Lwemiyaga told me today wasn’t in my knowledge. The people who did the re-arrest did not come to the Speaker to inform me. It was not done and is irregular under the law. I need to know the reason they were rearrested, where they are being kept and why. Can someone give me that information because i need to know.”
The Minister of State for Industry, Hon. David Bahati, said the House should grant the executive some time to offer an explanation on the re-arrest of the two MPs.
“I will inform the minister for minister of Internal Affairs to provide the report tomorrow”.
Oulanyah then suspended the House for 15 minutes to allow the Government Chief Whip get the Internal Affairs Minister to come and offer an explanation on the re-arrest of the two MPs.
“Unless we get answers to the questions I have asked, we shall not proceed with this sitting,” he said.
However, when the house resumed, the Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja confirmed that it was true that the two MPs were re-arrested.
She said Hon Ssewanyana recorded a statement in Kireka and interrogated while Ssegirinya will also be interrogated today in the presence of his lawyers.
The Prime Minister informed the House that the information on the arrest of the two MPs will be availed to the Speaker soon.
Hon Ssekikubo: Why didn’t you use the same method of summons through the Speaker? Have you found the Office of the Speaker deficient that you are taking over the role of the Speaker? Is the Prime Minister procedural right?
Oulanyah: The Prime Minister says the letter to the Speaker is coming. I don’t know if it is coming by boda boda. But that should have come before the act.
The Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka told plenary that the two MPs will be presented in court.
“They can go back as many times as the offences they commit.”
That was when the Leader of the Opposition Mpuuga led the Opposition side out of the Chamber.
“It past of the right of any member of this house to signify decent way. I am not in disagreement with the act of walking out. The option would be to stay and make the situation difficult. I applaud the LOP for the good leadership,” Oulanyah concurred.
“The Constitution is clear on procedure. Why flout the rules! Can we just do things right? The biggest problem is technical people who rush to implement; technical people must step down & follow the law. Costs nothing to do the right thing under the law,” he added.