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Oulanyah suspends house over re-arrest of MPs Ssewanyana, Ssegirinya

Speaker Jacob Oulanyah

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah has tasked the government to present a statement explaining the re-arrest of Kawempe North MP, Muhammad Ssegirinya and Makindye West MP, Allan Ssewanyana shortly after their release by courts on bail.

He issued the directives during the plenary on Tuesday when a section of legislators led by the Leader of Opposition (LOP), Mathias Mpuuga took to the floor to criticize the re-arrest of the MPs immediately after their release from prison.

Security re-arrested Ssegirinya on Monday outside Kigo prison where he was remanded on September 8th, 2021, a few hours after the Kampala High Court granted him bail. The legislator is battling six counts of murder, attempted murder and aiding and abetting terrorism.

Police spokesperson Fred Enanga later issued a statement indicating that the MP had been re-arrested by the joint security task force on fresh charges of treason and incitement to violence and transferred to the Special Investigations Division Kireka for statement recording and action.

This is the same manner the security operatives re-arrested Ssewanyana on Thursday last week, shortly after his release on bail. The legislator is also in custody at the Special Investigations Division, Kireka. The two are accused of being involved in the recent spate of killings in the greater Masaka sub-region by machete wielding men, which have claimed the lives of close to 30 people.

During plenary, Mpuuga raised a procedural concern questioning whether the Speaker had been notified about the re-arrest of the MPs. He also noted that the MPs had been denied access to their immediate family and that it cannot be business as normal when such violations are going on.

He demanded that the State explains the re-arrest of the MPs urgently since the law is clear on how to treat those that have been indicted.

Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda moved a motion to have the sitting suspended until their colleagues are released. Oulanyah said that such a move would need him to be briefed first so that they plan how to process it.

Ssekikubo Theodore, the Lwemiyaga County MP also weighed in on the matter and demanded that the state explains the re-arrest of the MPs and immediately produces them.

Oulanyah said that the matter is serious since the Head of the Institution of Parliament does not know the circumstances under which the MPs were re-arrested. He noted that the first summons to the MPs went through his office but he is surprised that their re-arrest was not communicated.

He demanded answers for the re-arrest of the MPs and suspended the House to allow the government side to prepare and present a statement.

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