Ssegirinya, Ssewanyana return to House today

MPs Allan Ssewanyana (L) and Muhammad Ssegirinya (R) gesture after addressing a press conference at the Opposition NUP party headquarters in Kampala on March 29, 2023. PHOTO | ISAAC KASAMANI

What you need to know:

  • The MPs had only spent 110 days in the House after being sworn in as members of the 11th Parliament before they were arrested.

Two Opposition legislators Allan Ssewanyana of Makindye West and his Kawempe North counterpart Mohammed Ssegirinya are expected back in Parliament today.
The duo, who face murder charges, were released last month on bail.
Mr Ssegirinya yesterday told this publication that he is looking forward to a grand reappearance in Parliament after spending close to two years in the cold at Kitalya and Kigo government prisons.

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“This is going to be a grand reappearance for me and my friend Ssewanyana. We have been away for almost two years and we have a lot of work to do,” he said.
It is not clear whether the two MPs will hold a procession through the city to Parliament.
Police intelligence
But Mr Fred Enanga, the police spokesperson, said they have credible intelligence that the MPs want to hold an unlawful assembly and an illegal procession over the poor state of Makindye-Salaama road.
He warned them against executing their plan, saying police will not tolerate any procession.

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“This is a road that has been planned under the Kampala Capital City Authority [for construction]. Now, why don’t they engage the officials before they go into issues of holding unlawful assemblies? These acts of lawlessness and impunity are not encouraged. There are processes under which these grievances can be handled,” Mr Enanga told the media yesterday in Kampala.
He added that illegal processions have the potential of disrupting the rights of other citizens.
“Our territorial commanders in Kampala Metropolitan Area have been tasked to counter all forms of lawlessness and impunity and we shall ensure that we disperse and disrupt any unlawful assemblies,” he said.
Mr Ssewanyana and Ms Ssegirinya are both expected to make their maiden speeches in Parliament, 39 days after they were released.
Mr Ssegirinya yesterday said he will need guidance on where to sit in the House because they used to attend Parliamentary sessions under a tent before they were arrested.
“I even have no knowledge of where I am going to sit because, by the time we were arrested, we were still under the tent, but now we are told they have moved back to the House, but my friends will guide me on that,” he said.
The MPs were arrested in September 2021 after they were accused of being behind the wave of machete killings of about 30 people in the Greater Masaka area in mid-2021.  
Dream plans
Mr Ssegirinya said he and his colleague have a lot to catch up with. He said many projects that they had started in their constituencies were grounded. “The voices of our people have been missing in Parliament because I was not there to speak for them, but now that I am back, I will be able to speak for the people of Kawempe North. I will also embark on the programmes which I started before being arrested and I know we have lost incredible time, but we shall proceed with what we were doing for our people,” he added. The Kawempe North MP said his experience in prison has taught him a lot and he will not forget colleagues he left in jail. He said prisoners are living in horrible conditions which he will raise on the floor of Parliament. “I will speak about my experience in the prison and also talk about the conditions of prisoners. The day I was released, the prisoners told me to speak about their plights in jail,” he said.