Members of the Opposition in Parliament have returned to the House, ending their one week boycott, staged to protest the controversial rearrest of their colleagues, Muhammad Ssegirinya (Kawempe North) and Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West) over suspected involvement in terror activities.
However, the MPs tabled fresh demands including tasking Government to explain the whereabouts of 19 Ugandans who they say, security operatives arrested during and after the 2021 general election.
In his statement to Parliament, the Leader of Opposition Mathias Mpuuga said their decision to return to plenary sittings was informed by the presentation of Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana to courts of law and detaining them in gazetted places as they had earlier demanded.
The duo were arrested last month over accusations of involvement in the murder of 26 people in the areas of greater Masaka by machete wielding assailants and engaging in terror activities.
The MPs were arraigned before courts of law and remanded to Kigo prison however they sought bail and it was granted but they were brutally rearrested by security forces and kept in unknown places without access to families, medical care or their lawyers prompting the opposition to protest.
Mpuuga also reminded the House that in his response to the State of the Nation address on August 4, 2021, he had demanded that the Government explains the whereabouts of the 19 Ugandans who were arrested and others kidnapped during and after the general elections.
The opposition led by the National Unity Platform boycotted plenary sitting since September 30, 2021, following the re-arrest of Sewanyana and Ssegirinya. They vowed not to return until their colleagues are produced in court and allowed to enjoy the bail right as granted to them.
In response to the concerns, the Minister of Security, Maj. Gen Jim Muhwezi thanked the LoP for raising the matter but requested more information from him to assist the Government to address the matter.
The Deputy Speaker Anita Among first welcomed the opposition MPs back to the House and thanked them for expressing their concerns with civility.
“I take this opportunity to welcome back the Leader of Opposition and MPs from the opposition side to the House after their one week’s absence from the sittings,” said Among.
She directed Muhwezi to present a statement in response to the concerns raised by Mpuuga. She also called for a meeting on September 7, 2021, between the Minister of Security and the LoP in her office to further look into the matter.
Solomon Silwany, the Bukooli Central MP welcomed the opposition MPs to the House and also thanked them for protesting peacefully. He said that, unlike the past experiences which were not peaceful, they conducted themselves peacefully and yet made a huge statement.