Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Legislators from the opposition political parties have resolved to boycott President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s address to Members of Parliament today at Kololo Independence Grounds in Kampala.
“He [President] will address the House on matters of national importance concerning the country and I urge you [MPs] to be in the House to hear what the President will say on what we can do to change our economy and society,” Speaker Anita Among said last week.
Article 101(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda stipulates that the President may, also, in consultation with the Speaker, address Parliament from time to time, on any matter of national importance.
Pursuant to this article, the President last addressed the House on 20 June 2018 on the state of security in the country.
Members of Parliament have on several occasions sought to meet the President on matters of national interest including the security situation in the country.
Boycott by MPs
The decision to boycot today’s session was communicated yesterday by Medard Lubega Sseggona, the Busiro East Constituency representative who doubles as the Shadow Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affair.
Addressing journalists on behalf Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of Opposition – LoP , Sseggona said a meeting of the Shadow Cabinet on Tuesday resolved that all opposition legislators will boycott the interaction with the President citing rampant cases of corruption; arbitrary arrests, detention and enforced disappearance of the regime’s political opponents.
Since January 2021, the period of general elections in the country, the opposition have submitted over 400 names of missing persons said to be supporters of the main opposition National Unity Platform – NUP party. The list was reduced to 200 people who are still missing as of December, 2022.
On Tuesday during plenary sitting, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, the Kira Municipality Member of Parliament opposed the move by the President to invite the House away to Kololo where MPs are embarrassed by the security team who confiscates their gadgets.
Speaker Among responded and defended the President saying he did not choose Kololo but rather that the leadership of Parliament decided on the venue as an ideal place to host the 555 Members of Parliament.
Article 101(2) of the Constitution mandates the President in consultation with the Speaker, to address Parliament from time to time, on any matter of national importance and that he would be heard by the House in silence.Under this article, President Museveni last addressed the House on 20 June 2018 on the state of security in the country.
There are currently 118 opposition Members of Parliament from NUP, Forum for Democratic Change – FDC, Democratic Party – DP, Uganda People’s Congress – UPC, Justice Forum, and People’s Progressive Party – PPP.