Kampala, (UG): Opposition legislators are in disarray following a decision by the Democratic Party – DP, and Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) to call off the ongoing boycott of plenary sittings in parliament.
On October 19th, 2023, Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament led a group of legislators to walk out of plenary demanding a detailed government report on repeated gross human rights abuses meted against supporters and leaders of the National Unity Platform – NUP party.
The LOP has maintained the boycott that they planned to run until their six-point demands are met by the government, including accounting for the 18 missing NUP supporters allegedly kidnapped by the security personnel.
Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, November 28, Mpuuga revealed that while all the political parties that form the opposition have made their positions clear, he will continue to ‘persuade’ and lead the ‘willing’ to defy party directives that appear to enforce compliance, until the government meets their demands.
The opposition comprises legislators from NUP, FDC, DP, Justice Forum – JEEMA, Uganda People’s Congress – UPC, and People’s Progressive Party – PPP.
According to Mpuuga, an earlier Shadow Cabinet meeting resolved to continue with the boycott.
Mpuuga also downplayed Speaker Anita Among’s directive to the Clerk of Parliament to ensure the opposition legislators forfeit their committee meeting allowances and foreign and inland trip benefits over non-attendance of House business.
Mpuuga emphasized that the chairpersons of all accountability committees of Parliament chaired by the opposition – PAC Local Government, PAC Central, COSASE, and Government Assurances and Implementation should disregard the Speaker’s threat and continue to operate. The LOP encouraged all opposition MPs to defy the directive and attend committee meetings.
However, there was drama on Monday when the Appointments Committee chaired by Among failed to block the LOP from attending a session in, which they vetted Justice Elizabeth Musoke to the Judicial Service Commission.
On Tuesday morning, Fox Odoi Oyellowo, pushed Robert Ssekitoleko, the Bamunanika County Member of Parliament out of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee meeting chaired by Robina Rwakoojo, the Gomba West County MP to implement the Speaker’s directive.
Ssekitoleko was asked to leave the meeting following his participation in the ongoing boycott of plenary sittings. The Committee was interfacing with Nobert Mao, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs who appeared to present the Judicature (Amendment) Bill, 2023.
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