Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | State Minister for Internal Affairs Gen. David Muhoozi has apologized to parliament for not following due processes of re-arresting MPs Muhammad Ssegirinya and Allan Ssewanyana.
Ssegirinya was re-arrested from Kigo prison on Monday, shortly after being granted bail by the High court in Kampala. He had been remanded on September 8, on six counts of murder, attempted murder and aiding and abetting terrorism. Police spokesperson Fred Enanga later issued a statement saying that the MP had been re-arrested on fresh charges of treason and inciting violence.
Before this, the joint security team had re-arrested Allan Ssewanyana and taken him to the Special Investigations Division, Kireka. The two are being accused of alleged involvement in machete killings in greater Masaka sub-region, which have claimed lives of close to 30 people.
But Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah and a section of legislators led by the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Mathias Mpuuga faulted the government for enforcing the re-arrests without duly informing the Speaker’s office with summons. On Tuesday, Mpuuga led the opposition out of Parliament in protest and announced that they would boycott the sittings of Parliament until the two MPs are released.
In his communication to the House on Wednesday, Oulanyah said that he had held a meeting with the government Chief Whip, the Minister of Security, the Minister of State for Internal Affairs and the Leader of the Opposition over the matter and that they came to some agreement of how they will handle the situation he described as difficult.
Regarding the summons, Oulanyah said that he later got information that these had been received by the Office of the Deputy Speaker of Parliament but they were not brought to his attention.
Gen. David Muhoozi told Parliament that the two MPs had been produced before the Masaka Court and that the medical concerns of MP Ssegirinya were raised and that arrangements to have him accessed by his doctors have been put in place. He committed to a speedy and fair trial of the accused.
However, Theodore Ssekikubo, the Lwemiyaga County MP questioned the Minister’s statement and asked him to explain why security operatives did not follow the full process before re-arresting the two MPs.
In response, Gen. Muhoozi said that transmission of the summons delayed and he apologized to the House.
Luuka Woman MP Esther Mbayo said that Members of Parliament need to be respected and recounted how she was summoned through a phone call a week ago to appear at the Criminal Investigations Department at Kibuli.
The Speaker said that provisions of the law are not just decorations but are made for a purpose and that there is a need to respect systems. “The way this one was handled Gen. Muhoozi it was not right…I have watched the video clips, it was not right. I was very very upset. It shouldn’t be happening,” Oulanyah said.
He added that MPs are not special but they need to be accorded the respect that they deserve.
MPs Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana have been remanded up to October 13.