Mpuuga backs Besigye protest on high prices

What you need to know:

  • The Leader of Opposition in Parliament rallied other Ugandans to support Dr Besigye’s quest for a better Uganda.

Mr Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LoP), has backed Opposition activist, Dr Kizza Besigye’s actions of mobilising Ugandans to protest against the high commodity prices. 
“I don’t know whether FDC is protesting or Dr Besigye is protesting. I have not heard that statement. But, I have been very clear to the effect that he is doing the right thing and I invite every citizen to start from where they are and use what they have. If what you have is to close your shop, close it. If what you have is to go to the street, please, do it. If you have to park on the road and block it, do it, including the media by highlighting these things more objectively and saying the regime has failed,” he said.

Mr Mpuuga, who doubles as the Nyendo-Mukungwe legislator, made the remarks yesterday at Parliament where the Opposition was highlighting the major milestones achieved in the last one year. 
Dr Besigye, who is the leader of the People’s Front for Transition (PFT) and a former presidential candidate, has since last month been mobilising individuals to “wake up” and join him in the struggle against government lavish spending.
The protests are intended to grab the attention of the government to help vulnerable Ugandans, majority of whom are struggling to meet their daily needs.
Dr Besigye is behind bars for the second time in less than a month on charges of inciting violence.
Mr Mpuuga advised the Prime Minister, Ms Robinah Nabbanja, and Cabinet to focus on discussing important matters “of the economy” and not running around with the Parish Development Model (PDM). 
Mr Mpuuga also commented on the Shs40 million controversial money that was the talk of town last week. Some legislators, including Opposition members, were allegedly paid the money to pass the supplementary budget. Parliament later came out and distanced itself from the subject.   
Mr Mpuuga said the best response would have been gotten from the perceived giver and receivers [of the money]. 

 “I have alerted all leaders in different political parties, and, as the LoP, I have held meetings and informed them on my stand on this subject. I only hear claims of recipients of the money and no giver is making a disclosure and the recipients are denying. I have advised all parties to make an internal inquest and undertake proceedings against their members should that be verified,” he said. 
Mpuuga told journalists that he had personally not received any of the claimed money.

But while some legislators continue to distance themselves from the money, this publication last week reported a story that some lawmakers from the Opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) met and agreed to keep the money. Some MPs, who were alleged to have received the money last Saturday, defended the move reasoning that such money was crucial in these tough financial times where some of them are supporting people in their respective constituencies. 
Mr Mpuuga said he had met with members of his own party and informed them of the party position.  
“I can speak for NUP.  I have met my members twice and informed them of the party position as the custodian of the party discipline of the House.” 

Despite a few challenges the Opposition faced during the previous year, including Opposition-led committees being overshadowed by those of National Resistance Movement, the Opposition registered incredible achievements too. 

One withstanding achievement was when the Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Mr Abed Bwanika (Kimaanya-Kabonera Division MP-NUP), brought to light the controversial Vinci coffee agreement on the floor of Parliament. With other Opposition members, the agreement was strongly presented with loopholes before the Committee on Trade, Tourism and Industry. Parliament, eventually, directed the government to terminate the deal.

In prison
Last Friday, Dr Besigye and political activist Samuel Lubega Makaku were further remanded to Luzira Prison until July 1 following their arrest on June 14 as they protested in downtown Kampala against government inaction to cushion vulnerable Ugandans against skyrocketing commodity prices.