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MPs query PM Rugunda on re-arrest of Kaweesi murder suspects, oil pipeline

FILE PHOTO: Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda before parliament.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | MPs have used the Prime Minister’s Question Time (PMQT) to raise concerns about the violent re-arrest of suspects granted bail on murder charges relating to the death of former police spokesman, Andrew Felix Kaweesi.

The legislators expressed worry about events in the oil sector, which have since delayed commercial production of oil.

Relating to energy, MPs said utility company Umeme should be probed for services below bar, concerns the Prime Minister assuaged in his responses.

Rule of law

“The position of government is for respect of the rule of law…if there are any deferring practices, government would follow it up and take corrective measures,” said Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, in relation to the arrest of the suspects.

The bail application of four accused persons succeeded but they were re-arrested on court premises by heavily armed plain clothed security personnel believed to be from the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), the army’s intelligence arm.

The arrest angered MP Asuman Basalirwa of Bugiri Municipality, who asked for clarification from Premier Rugunda.

“The Chief Justice recently issued a directive that suspects who have been granted bail or acquitted shouldn’t be rearrested within the precincts of court, but this seems to be continuing as suspects, mostly Muslims, are arrested at court. what is the government’s position on this issue?” said Basalirwa.

Calling the arrest “high handed”, Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, in a statement issued on behalf of Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, asked government to end the practice.

“Such blatant actions, as this one, sadly leads to people’s loss of faith in the Courts of Judicature, which can only result in strong ramifications…” said Justice Owiny-Dollo in a statement.

Tullow oil

MP Richard Othieno of West Budama South raised concern about the withdrawal of Tullow Oil from the exploration altogether, a conversation that prominently featured in a Tanzania-Uganda business summit attended by President Yoweri Museveni and his Tanzanian counterpart, John Pombe Magufuli.

“Government is pursuing this matter with the concerned oil companies with the view of getting the oil out as soon as possible but without compromising the interests of this country,” said Rugunda, in response to MP Othieno’s question.

Unlike neighboring Kenya, Uganda has insisted on building an oil refinery as against exporting crude oil, which officials argue will make better economic sense.

A pipeline through Tanzania is to be constructed but delays have seen the postponement of actual exploration for years.

The Premier’s question time ended with a cry from the Leader of the Opposition, Betty Aol Ocan, who requested to be given substantial time to make a rejoinder to the Prime Minister.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga tasked her to present the proposals to the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline for consideration.



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