Minister Mao promises fair trial for MP Ssegirinya 

Together with the Uganda Human Rights Commission chairperson Ms Mariam Wangadya (R), Justice Minister Mr Norbert Mao met Kawempe North MP Muhammad Ssegirinya's mother and wife at his office on August 9, 2022. PHOTO | COURTESY

Newly appointed Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Norbert Mao has assured the mother of jailed Opposition MP Muhammad Ssegirinya of fair trial.

Minister Mao was responding to Monday’s incident, where Ssegirinya’s mother, Ms Justine Nakajumba, stormed his office, demanding that he intervenes in her son’s situation.

She said Ssegirinya, who is also the Kawempe North MP, is not responsible for the spate of killings in Masaka Sub-region that left at least 26 dead last year.

“This is a mother, whose waiting has turned into wailing, she wants justice for her son. I can only promise her that her son will get a fair trial,” Minister Mao said yesterday during a national conference on strengthening civil society resilience and sustainability in Uganda. 

MP Ssegirinya is jointly charged with his Makindye West Constituency counterpart Allan Ssewanyana for offences, including murder and terrorism.

The duo was charged on September 7 last year before Masaka Magistrates Court. 

Their case is at the pre-trial stage before the International Crimes Division of the High Court. The matter resumes tomorrow.

The minister, however, said he has inherited a number of challenges at the ministry, which lacked a substantive minister for more than a year and had an acting minister for close to six months.

In his remarks, the minister urged civil society organisations to be involved and not just “concerned” about peoples’ issues.

“I urge you to start speaking the language of the people. Please engage with the ordinary people in detail about what they can do about their daily challenges. Above all, I urge you to roll your sleeves and put your boots on the ground,” Minister Mao said.

Speaking at the event, Mr Jonathan Cone, the acting Deputy Mission Director, USAID-Uganda, said any democratic state must recognise works of CSOs.

“The first key area is what I will call CSO vibrancy. At USAID, we believe that any successful democratic state must recognise the need for a vibrant and healthy civil society. Democratic states must make space for civil society’s essential role in contributing to inclusive and sustainable development,” Mr Cone said.