Opposition legislators have walked out of Parliamentary sitting in protest over the re-arrest of NUP MPs Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West) and Muhammed Ssegirinya (Kawempe South).
Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of Opposition led the opposition MPs out of the parliament chambers after disagreeing with the statement issued by the Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja and Attorney General, Kiwanuka Kiryowa saying “it was not satisfactory.”
In her statement, Nabbanja admits that it is true that the two MPs were re-arrested and that Ssewanyana has already recorded a statement while Ssegirinya is expected to be interrogated later today in the presence of his lawyers. This did not go well with the Mpuuga and the opposition MPs who decided to walk out of the plenary in full watch of the Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah. Some of the opposition MPs broke the parliament dress code and donned T-shirts calling for the release of the two legislators.
“I am very disappointed with the Leader of Government Business because she had nothing to tell us and it was even made worse by the Attorney General who seems to be reading his own constitution and forgotten about the 48 hour rule,” Mpuuga said.
"Hon Ssewayana and Ssegirinya have not 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."
The AG Kiryowa said that whereas the two NUP MPs will be presented to courts of law and treated in accordance with the law, Police will continue re-arresting them as many times as the offences they commit.
Ssegirinya was first arrested together with Ssewanyana on September 7th 2021, and taken to Masaka Magistrates Court on charges of murder and terrorism arising from the recent killings of people using machetes in Masaka. They were remanded and sent to Kigo government prison before they were re-arrested last week.
Speaker Oulanyah applauded the Leader of Opposition for majestically leading out his Members without any drama, saying expression of dissent is acceptable if done in a civilized manner.
“I applaud the Leader of Opposition for the good leadership. It is part of the rights of any member of this House to signify dissent, but in a civilized way. I am not in disagreement with the act of walking out except for the change of the dress code,” Oulanyah. Oulanyah faulted Security for not informing him about the planned re-arrest of the two legislators and wondered if this was an emergency.
“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 and follow the law. It costs nothing to do the right thing under the law. What is the emergency? Because when you do things like that then we end up in this kind of situation,” Oulanyah said, before adjourning the House.