The Return of Opposition Lawmakers Ssewanyana and Ssegirinya to Parliament: Expectations and Concerns

Two lawmakers from Uganda’s opposition, Allan Ssewanyana of Makindye West and Mohammed Ssegirinya of Kawempe North, are set to return to Parliament today, after being granted bail last month on murder charges. Ssegirinya has expressed excitement about their return, stating that they have a lot of work to do after spending almost two years in prison.

However, there are concerns that the duo may hold an illegal procession through the city to Parliament. The police have warned against this, citing credible intelligence that the MPs are planning an unlawful assembly over the poor state of the Makindye-Salaama road. The police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, has cautioned against acts of lawlessness and impunity, stating that there are processes through which grievances can be handled.

The MPs are expected to give their maiden speeches in Parliament today, after being away for 39 days. Ssegirinya has expressed his uncertainty about where to sit in the House, as they used to attend parliamentary sessions under a tent before their arrest. The MPs were accused of being behind the wave of machete killings in the Greater Masaka area in mid-2021, leading to their arrest in September.

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Ssegirinya has stated that he and his colleague have a lot to catch up with, as many of the projects they had started in their constituencies were grounded. He has vowed to speak for the people of Kawempe North and raise issues affecting prisoners’ living conditions, having experienced them firsthand during his time in jail.

It remains to be seen how the return of the opposition MPs Ssewanyana and Ssegirinya will impact Uganda’s political landscape, given their previous activism against the government. However, their release on bail and subsequent return to Parliament suggest that there may be room for dialogue and cooperation between the ruling party and opposition. It is hoped that the lawmakers will prioritize their constituents’ needs and work towards improving the lives of Ugandans, regardless of their political affiliation.

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