Speaker Jacob Oulanyah has scoffed at opposition politicians pleading with Parliament to intervene and overturn the arrest of MPs Muhammed Ssegirinya (Kawempe North) and Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West).
Oulanyah urged legislators to instead respect court and trust that the process will exonerate the MPs if not found guilty of the charges levied against them.
Oulanyah said Parliament may not do much, since the law had to take its due course, and that Parliamentary privileges are limited to Members’ speech in plenary but not their actions in or outside Parliament precincts.
“Charges have been preferred and they have been remanded; Parliamentary Privileges have limitations. When you become an MP, you cannot engage in any criminal act and think you will not be reprimanded because the privilege is confined to free speech in the House,” said Oulanyah.
The revelation the Speaker follows a procedural matter raised by MP Ibrahim Ssemujju (Kira Municipality) demanding to know whether Parliament had put in place measures to support the two legislators.
The Speaker, however, revealed that the Office of the Speaker had been notified by the relevant authorities before the arrest of the two legislators. He noted that Deputy Speaker Anitah Among, met the MPs before they were arrested.
“I am personally going to see them wherever they are,” he added.
Masaka Chief Magistrate’s Court on 7th September 2021, charged the MPs with four counts, three of murder and one of attempted murder, before remanding them to Kitalya prison.
They are accused of having a hand in the recent spate of killings in the Masaka sub-region that left close to 30 people dead.
According to the State Attorney, the MPs together with other 10 individuals had planning meetings at Happy Boys, Kalenda, and Kayanja Rest House in Kampala where they planned the murders.
The State further alleges that on August 23, 2021, while at Ssetala village in Kimanya Kabonera division, the two MPs participated in the murder of Sulaiman Kakooza, Michael Kiza Nswa, and Tadeo Kiyimba. Robert Ssebyato survived an attempt on his life.
President Museveni in a recent speech, hinted that the murders are politically motivated. He, however, reassured the country that the security and intelligence agencies would bring the perpetrators book.