A year into their term as legislators of the 11th Parliament, Speaker Anita Among has challenged lawmakers to provide accountability to voters on their roles of representation, oversight and legislation among others.
“As we come towards the end of this session, I would like to congratulate you and remind you that you have made one year and this requires you to provide accountability because this is the day when we were sworn in,” said Among.
Kira Municipality Member of Parliament, Hon. Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda however, wondered how their colleagues, Hon. Allan Ssewanyana (NUP, Makindye Division West) and Hon. Muhammad Ssegirinya (NUP, Kawempe Division North) who have been incarcerated for the past eight months will give accountability.
“That accountability applies to only us who are here; what about our two colleagues? The matter of representation is serious. There is mandatory bail after eight months in jail. Can government tell us why in the case of our colleagues, they are not following the law,” Ssemujju said.
He tasked the Attorney General to explain why the legislators are still in jail.
“When it came to the election of the Speaker, in one hour, the Attorney General had given the legal interpretation that elections must be conducted. I hope that he will give the same interpretation that MPs who are in jail for eight months should be freed or tried,” Ssemujju said.
Hon. Asuman Basalirwa (JEEMA, Bugiri Municipality) also asked the Attorney General to provide information on why government first arrests people and investigates later.
“Our colleagues have spent a lot of time on remand and they are not the only ones. There are many Ugandans who have been arrested, remanded and government investigates later,” said Basalirwa.
The Attorney General, Hon. Kiryowa Kiwanuka said that the matter is in court and he is constrained to discuss it.
“I will look at the Constitution and find out if I can get a provision under which I can advise that they can be freed. From what I have looked at, once they are under the process of court, we have to wait for court to make that decision,” said Kiryowa Kiwanuka.
He explained that court ceased the matter adding that it will be wrong for him to render an opinion.
“The sub judice rule will catch me on the wrong side. All prayers in respect to their release should be made to the court,” said Kiryowa Kiwanuka.
The Speaker however, directed the Attorney General to present a report on the legislators during the afternoon plenary session.
“Why are they still in prison? When will they be tried? These people have families,” said Among.
Hon Ssewanyana, (NUP, Makindye Division West MP) and Hon Ssegirinya (NUP, Kawempe Division North) have been on remand since September 2021 on charges of murder and terrorism.