MPs dare Museveni on threat to dissolve Parliament

A group of legislators are daring President Yoweri Museveni to live up to his threat of dissolving Parliament over the current stand-off resulting from the arrest and torture of MPs, journalists and other civilians.

MPs Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga), John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya), Mbwatekamwa Gaffa (Kasambya), Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality) and Francis Mwijukye (Buhweju) addressed journalists at Parliament on Friday to express their displeasure over Thursday night’s arrest of MPs Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine (Kyadondo East) and Francis Zaake Butebi (Mityana Municipality) from Entebbe airport.

The two MPs had booked different flights out of Entebbe enroute to Washington DC in the USA and Bangalore, India respectively for further treatment following their brutal arrest and torture by security forces.

At the press conference, Ssekikubo and Nambeshe claimed that during last week’s NRM caucus meeting at State House Entebbe, President Museveni made a threat of dissolving Parliament if the MPs don’t back down.

This followed an investigation by Parliament into the chaos that erupted in Arua after some opposition supporters allegedly threw stones at Museveni’s convoy.

Several people were arrested including MPs who were later charged of treason.

Matters were not helped when Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga early this week wrote to Museveni demanding that the soldiers that brutalised MPs and other civilians in Arua during the Arua Municipality by-election and the subsequent protests around the country be arrested and charged before the courts.

“We want to tell you Mr President, go ahead and dissolve Parliament, we cannot be intimidated by your threats. In anycase, you’ll not be the first to do so, Idi Amin did it in the 1970s and ruled without a legislature, you can also go ahead and do the same after all none of the MPs was born in Parliament neither will they be buried in Parliament,” Ssekikubo said.

The MPs hailed Kadaga for standing up to the president when she wrote a protest letter that they said are eagerly waiting for Museveni’s response.

“This is not just an attack on MPs but Uganda, it is SFC that is attacking MPs, it is SFC that attacked Ugandans in Arua, it is Museveni’s guard unit that is causing all these atrocities,” Mwijukye said.

He says government has turned Kiruddu hospital into a detention facility where MPs are taken to be injected with suspicious substances.

“It is time for Parliament to rise up and say that enough is enough, we can’t remain silent when Ugandans are being killed,” Mwijukye said.

Karuhanga narrated to his colleagues the ordeal they went through during their detention in Arua and Gulu.

“When we were released on bail, we thought that the victims now had a chance to seek better health care outside the country, it is surprising that the state is blocking them from leaving the country to seek specialised treatment,” Karuhanga said.

Mbwatekamwa said that it is now time for all MPs to join the current struggle against what he described as bad governance.

“If indeed President Museveni went to the bush to fight for freedom and democracy, what explains the current clampdown on opposition political activists? Why is he so much threatened by the People Power movement?” Mbwatekamwa said.

Ssekikubo turned the heat on government spokesman Ofwono Opondo over his a statement he issued alleging that the two legislators were fleeing the country.

“All MPs are well aware that missing 15 consecutive sittings can cost them their seats. It is a big shame that a government spokesman can make such a statement,” Ssekikubo said.