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Speaker Among To Expel Opposition MPs as Boycott Over Human Rights Disputes Continues

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The Speaker of Parliament, Anitah Among, is contemplating the expulsion of Opposition Members of Parliament who continue to boycott plenary sittings due to unresolved human rights concerns. In a statement issued on November 14, 2023, Among emphasized the possibility of exercising her powers if members persist in missing 15 consecutive sittings without seeking permission.

The Speaker urged members to address their concerns within the parliamentary framework rather than resorting to street protests, emphasizing the significance of unity in the 11th Parliament.

Despite the Speaker’s warning, the Opposition remains steadfast in its boycott, citing seven pre-conditions that must be met. The latest boycott on October 19 was triggered by the perceived failure of the government to address severe human rights issues.

During the session, Leader of Opposition Mathias Mpuuga pressed for accountability, highlighting concerns such as the harassment of fishermen, the 2020 shootings, and the release of political prisoners. Mpuuga detailed the arrests of over 500 NUP supporters in 2021, emphasizing the prolonged detention of some without trial.

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In response, the state minister for internal affairs, Gen. David Muhoozi, asserted that some matters had been resolved while dismissing others as sub-judice. This response fueled anger among opposition lawmakers.

The ongoing boycott has tangible consequences, with the absence of Opposition members reducing the August House to a mere talking shop. Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa, acknowledging concerns about the boycott, sought Speaker Anitah Among’s involvement in October to address the escalating tensions. Despite these efforts, the suspension of the house for two weeks reflects the challenges in resolving the impasse.

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