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Museveni Blames Opposition MPs Over Parliamentary Boycott

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President Museveni on Friday blamed opposition MPs over storming out of parliament following the re-arrest of their legislators Allan Ssewanyana and Muhammad Ssegirinya.

Last week opposition MPs led by their leader Mathias Mpuuga stormed over parliament and vowed never to return until their colleagues are released from prison.

In response to the MPs decision, the president advised that wise idea would be for them to push for a speedy trial of their colleagues so as to prove their innocence but not boycotting parliament business.

“I saw some politicians walked out of parliament because somebody has not got bail. If I was one of the suspects or even were members of my party and accused of such serious crime, I would press for working expeditiously to prove whether it is correct or not,” Museveni said on Friday while addressing the nation.

“I would say, have a quick trial so that innocence comes out. That is what an honest person does. If suspect is innocent, those connected to him should push for expeditious trial. If you are innocent, demand a quick trial. Don’t demand impunity, untouchability but expeditious trial. But people don’t want the investigations to be concluded.” He added.

The re-arrest of the two opposition legislators, Muhammad Ssegirinya and Allan Ssewanyana after release on bail has sparked debate over whether it was right or wrong as the government insists that there are fresh charges that the duo has to answer, fellow opposition MPs say this is a violation of their rights.
President Museveni while addressing the Benedicto Kiwanuka Memorial Lecture at High Court Building previously pushed to scrap bail for suspected capital offenders.

National Resistance Movement members of parliament also shortly met at Kololo Independent Grounds for a party caucus with the president over the same issue of banning bail for capital suspects since president Museveni had early wanted a referendum on the matter with NRM parliamentary caucus.

“For somebody to kill a person and you give them bail is a provocation. It is abominable. I would like us to cure this ideological disagreement. This bail, what is the hurry? Who are you trying to please?” he said.

“We are going to work on this. I am going to summon the NRM caucus and if necessary, we put it to a referendum. With this provocation, people will take the law into their hands,” he added.

At the same occasion, Museveni also said that the law has led to increased mob justice, arose from a deviation by the Justice Benjamin Odoki that made Constitutional Review Commission from the wishes of Ugandans.

“During public hearings to gather nationwide views about proposed amendment of the 1995 Constitution, majority citizens rejected the idea of bail for capital offenders, but the Odoki Commission in its recommendations instead gave the power to grant or deny bail to judges.”, he said.

“I have some issues with his Lordship Odoki and his Constitutional Review Commission. There is a way he suppressed our line, which is the line of the masses”, he added.

However, Justice Owiny-Dollo, in reference to media reports about repeated demand to end bail for capital offenders by the president, he argued that the Constitution, which is the country’s supreme law, allows judges to grant or deny bail.

“We know that capital offences are a grave concern to the community,” he said, “So, in the exercise of judicial discretion, it’s the duty of the judicial officer to look at all these circumstances and make a decision whether to grant or not to grant.” Justice Owiny-Dollo said.

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