Opposition MPs storm out of Parliament over detention of colleagues

Tuesday September 28 2021
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Leader of Opposition Mr Mathias Mpuuga told the House he could not be part of a vulgarised debate before he led his team out. PHOTO / PARLIAMENT

By Job Bwire

Opposition Members of Parliament on Tuesday walked out of the plenary session in protest as a debate on the arrest and continued detention of their two colleagues, Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West) and Muhammad Ssegirinya (Kawempe North) was ongoing.

Mr Ssewanyana was arrested on September 23, 2021 as he walked out of Kigo Prison after he was granted bail on charges of murder, attempted murder and aiding and abetting terrorism. He was roughly arrested by plain clothed armed men and forced into a van infamously known as a drone.

It was yesterday when his lawyer Mr Erias Lukwago managed to see him and confirmed that he was being detained at the Special Investigations Unit in Kireka. 

His colleague, Ssegirinya was also arrested in the same manner yesterday as he left Kigo Prison after he was granted bail.

“I demanded for an explanation from the state on the whereabouts of our colleagues Allan Ssewanyana and Hon Muhammad Ssegirinya. The two were abducted moments after the High Court had released them on bail. It's almost 120 hours since Hon Ssewayana was kidnapped, and has not been produced in court in accordance with the 48-hour rule, and we are here legislating normally,” the Leader of Opposition, Mr Mathias Mpuuga said.

“We know that even if they were guilty the laws of the land state how suspects must be treated. Without the state explaining this, we are constrained to move as though business is normal when MPs have been abducted,” he added.

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The Speaker, Mr Jacob Oulanyah, told MPs during plenary that he was not notified about the MPs’ arrest.

"It costs nothing to do the right thing within the law and at the right time," Mr Oulanyah said as he slammed government for flouting procedures as they arrested the MPs. 

This was after the Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja told the House that the “Speaker’s letter (of notification about the MPs' arrest) was on the way.” 

"How is the letter coming? Is it by boda boda? I should have been notified before the arrest," a visibly disappointed Oulanyah said, as he condoned the move by the Opposition lawmakers to walk out as a sign of discontent.

Mr Mpuuga accused the Prime Minister and Attorney General Mr Kiryowa Kiwanuka of vulgarizing the debate.

This was after Mr Kiryowa said the two MPs would continue to be arrested as and when they committed more offences.

"They can go back as many times as the offences they commit," the Attorney General told the House.

In response Mr Mpuuga said the Attorney General’s statement was disturbing and legally scandalous. 

“I cannot be part of this debate and therefore withdraw my team from this vulgarized debate,” he said.

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