Uganda:Opposition MPs want Parliament recalled to debate Besigye siege

Published by Daily Monitor
On 17 October 2016 saa 02:04
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Ms Nambooze said they decided that the continued detention of the four-time presidential candidate is illegal.

KAMPALA- Opposition MPs are soliciting 143 signatures from fellow lawmakers in a bid to recall Parliament from recess to discuss Dr Kizza Besigye’s continued house arrest and harassment by the police.

This was agreed upon after a group of lawyers led by Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi and Opposition MPs, including Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze, Gilbert Olanya (Kilak) and Roland Mugume (Rukungiri Municipality) visited Dr Besigye at his home in Kasangati last Saturday.

Ms Nambooze, the led petitioner, told journalists last Saturday that they decided that the continued detention of the four-time presidential candidate coupled with heavy police deployment at his home is illegal and that they should recall Parliament to address the same.

“After observing the conditions under which Dr Besigye lives, we decided as MPs, after consultation with other colleagues who are up country right now, that Parliament should be recalled,’’ Ms Nambooze said.

She added: “As you are aware, Parliament is in recess and we shall not be sitting until November 14,’’ Nambooze said, addding that they need 143 signatures to petition Parliament.

She noted that the petition will be ready today (Monday) and they will start collecting signatures from MPs on Tuesday. Ms Nambooze said they want government to tell the whole country what they want to do with Dr Besigye.

Ever since Dr Besigye returned from a six-week long trip abroad, the police have since camped at his home and any attempts by him to leave his home has been met with arrest and consequent detention at Naggalama Police Station.

Equally on Saturday, upon meeting with some Opposition MPs and his lawyers, Dr Besigye was arrested and driven to Naggalama Police Station and was released after 11pm in the night.

Yesterday morning, he successfully went and attended prayers at All Saints Church, Nakasero but police kept trailing him until he disappeared from them.

“We want the Speaker to recall Parliament and let the executive come out clearly and tell us why Besigye is still under house arrest and who is supposed to pay his bills,” Ms Nambooze said.
Mr Olanya implored the Speaker to grant their request, urging all MPs upcountry to come to Parliament tomorrow and append their signatures. He noted that they are tired of seeing Dr Besigye being arrested and said it is high time Parliament came out to clear the mess.

The FDC spokesperson, Mr Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, in a telephone interview yesterday, said top party officials will be meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) to discuss the way forward regarding the continued detention of Dr Besigye at his home. Mr Ssemujju, also the Kira Municipality MP, said the party will then communicate its official position, adding that he welcomes the option of recalling Parliament to discuss Dr Besigye’s impasse.

“I will personally append my signature on the petition and mobilise other MPs. The idea of recalling Parliament is a good one,” MP Ssemujju said.

Counsel Rwakafuuzi, one of Dr Besigye’s lawyers, said there is no law that allows anybody to imprison a person in an ungazetted place. He urged the Uganda Law Society (ULS) to take on the matter.

“Uganda Law Society should find a legal solution to Dr Besigye’s plight,” Mr Rwakafuuzi said.

When asked yesterday whether as one of his lawyers, they will petition court for redress, Mr Rwakafuuzi was non-committal, reasoning that the courts are also arm-twisted to frustrate the whole process.

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Former presidential candidate Kizza Besigye being dragged to a police van after he was blocked from leaving his home in Kasangati, Wakiso District, last Saturday. He was later detained at Naggalama Police Station.