The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among has directed the Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka to provide a report to parliament regarding the incarcerated MPs Muhammad Ssegirinya and Allan Ssewanyana.
Among made the directive following a procedural matter raised by Kira Municipality MP, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda who asked the Deputy Speaker to provide the House with a report about their two colleagues given her earlier promise to follow up the matter.
Ssemujju said that the two MPs have been in prison for long without a speedy trial that was promised.
Ssegirinya, the Kawempe North MP and Ssewanyana, representing Makindye West are facing several charges including murder, attempted murder, aiding and abetting terrorism. They have severally been denied bail by the courts and in November 2021, the Chief Magistrates Court in Masaka committed the two to the High Court for trial.
MPs Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana were arrested on 7th September, 2021 and are accused of masterminding the machete killings in Masaka sub-region last year. They have since been on remand at Kigo prison facilities in Wakiso district.
Murder is a capital offense and it attracts a maximum punishment of death by hanging when convicted, according to the Penal Code Act.
In response, Among said that the parliament leadership communicated both in writing and verbally to President Yoweri Museveni, requesting for speedy trial of the MPs since they could not be given bail.
She said that they have not received any feedback on the matter and that she was going to make a follow-up and address parliament accordingly. Among additionally directed that the Attorney General provides a report on the matter.
However, Asuman Basalirwa, the Bugiri Municipality MP said that the issue should go beyond their two colleagues because there are many people languishing in prisons without trial. He said that some people have never been brought to court to even have their cases mentioned.
Basalirwa said that the practice undermines the criminal justice system of the country and that Uganda cannot be seen as a country that arrests people before gathering evidence.
Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of Opposition requested that the Attorney General is given a timeline on when to report to parliament. He said that the subject matter of human rights is key and needs to be addressed.
He recounted a list of missing citizens together with those that have not been produced before any court that he tabled on the floor of parliament last year. Mpuuga said that there is need for Parliament to express its position on the issue of illegal arrests and detention of citizens.
Mpuuga said that his Cabinet is ready with a motion seeking to investigate the abuse of people’s rights in the last two years so that citizens are given a platform to express their grievances.
Among said that Parliament will definitely have a moment of brutal truth and honesty with a view of forging a way forward.
She directed that the Attorney General reports on the raised issues in two weeks’ time.