Wafula Ogutu
Wafula Ogutu
Wafula Ogutu

Kampala-Leader of Opposition in the Ugandan Parliament, Philip Wafula Ogutta says his group failed to show up in the house today due to the siege on two leading leaders of the group.

The two are former party president of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Dr. Kizza Besigye and the defiant Lord Mayor of Kampala, Erias Lukwago.

The two were put under house siege at their respective homes by government security apparatus. Mr Lukwago and Dr Besigye are seen as pro-people opposition figures in the Ugandan capital and whenever, they move out of their homes, they pull large following which is a threat to the Kampala regime.

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According to the statement from Mr Wafula’s office, it was prudent for them not to go ahead and present constitutional and electoral reforms to the committee of parliament when their senior colleagues are under siege.

“Today, before the Parliament Committee of legal and Parliamentary Affairs, the opposition party leaders were meant to make presentations on the Constitutional (Amendment), Bill 2015. However, government decided to surround and hold some of the leader’s prisoners in their homes (not to get out).” Wafula’s statement reads.

He continues, “As such, we decided that the other members of the team cannot go ahead with the presentations if their colleagues must not. We have effectively called off the exercise until such a time when it will be prudent to government that our leaders are free to exercise their rights and duties freely.”

The opposition and civil societies, have been calling for reforms before next year’s elections. Uganda holds general elections next year where the incumbent president Yoweri Museveni will make 30 years of uninterrupted rule.

Below is the statement from Leader of Opposition

Office of the Leader of Opposition in Parliament
Constitutional (Amendment), Bill 2015: Why the Opposition party leaders did not present today

Today, before the Parliament Committee of legal and Parliamentary Affairs, the opposition party leaders were meant to make presentations on the Constitutional (Amendment), Bill 2015. However, government decided to surround and hold some of the leaders’ prisoners in their homes (not to get out).

As such, we decided that the other members of the team cannot go ahead with the presentations if their colleagues must not. We have effectively called off the exercise until such a time when it will be prudent to government that our leaders are free to exercise their rights and duties freely.

Importantly though, it is the institution of Parliament, the Second Arm of Government which invited these leaders to come and make the said presentations. They were to be guests to Parliament. Blocking them therefore is utterly ridiculous.

This operation of government is cowardly and unnecessary. It amounts to the suppression of the views of Ugandans because the leaders who are being blocked moved across the country to collect and synthesize views of Ugandans of all walks of life to come up with those proposals.

Indeed, even the constitutional and electoral law reform report of the Inter Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) which the NRM is party to, is also part of the synthesis.

In fact, we are aware that indeed the Constitutional (Amendment), Bill 2015 which government presented before Parliament was originally a very rich document but which Mr. Museveni conveniently tore into pieces to remain with what reached Parliament.

We are therefore aware that the reforms we are pushing are not going to be received by Mr. Museveni warmly. His NRM voting machines in Parliament will certainly purge it the way the emperor will instruct.

But make no mistake; it’s not going to be business as usual. This is going to be a whole new cup of tea. When the Committee of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs finally tables its report before the House, debate will not only be in the House but all around it and beyond. Let the country brace up for a whole new form of debate in Parliament.

The forth coming elections will be conducted only after us agreeing on these fundamental reforms necessary for Free and Fair Elections.