Uganda: Political party leaders were yesterday blocked from accessing the parliamentary building, where they had gone to meet the Leader of Opposition (LoP) over the contentious proposed amendment of the Administration of Parliament Act and electoral reforms.
The leaders who were denied access include FDC’s Harold Kaija, UPC’s spokesperson Orach Osinde, Conservative Party’s John Ken Lukyamuzi, JEEMA’s Muhammad Kibirige Mayanja and DP secretary general Gerald Siranda, among others.
The team had reportedly been invited by LoP Betty Aol Ocan for a meeting in her boardroom to devise a strategy to defeat the bill which is sponsored by Busiro East MP Medard Lubega Sseggona. But the meeting was reportedly stopped by the clerk to parliament, Jane Kibirige on the pretext that all parliament’s rooms were occupied and could not hold a meeting of that magnitude.
In a letter dated February 11, Kibirige said that parliament was due to host an exit meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprise (Cosase), and would not be able to handle the two meetings at the same time.
“I have advised that you contact the Prime Minister’s Office to use their conference hall for convenience,” Kibirige said in the letter copied to the speaker and deputy speaker of parliament, the sergeant-at-arms and the parliamentary police division commander.
But Ocan said there is no way she should be stopped from holding meetings in her own Leader of Opposition office boardroom. She said the meeting was also going to be attended by the presidents of the different opposition political parties, as a continuation of a similar meeting held last week.
Ocan said the blocked leaders were the official opposition representatives of the political parties, who deserve to be treated with dignity “Our meeting was put off, not by us, but by the clerk. Even if she now wanted us to meet elsewhere, she should have really contacted me as a person…There are no reasons as to why she should send us away from parliament. Why was this office given if I cannot host my visitors in the boardroom. It was very annoying but am still waiting for an explanation from her,” she Ocan said. Siranda said multiparty politics is under threat and that this blockage is a signal that they are being disrespected from all fronts.
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