Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Uganda: Government Rejects Petition to Recall Parliament

Source: Voice of America

Peter Clottey
A spokesman for Uganda’s government has dismissed a petition by legislators to call parliament back into session to discuss tensions between the presidency and the legislature over the death of a lawmaker.

Spokesman Fred Opolot said President Yoweri Museveni had already ordered an investigation into the death of Cerinah Nebanda, a member of parliament, and that calling parliament back into session was not necessary.

“President Museveni, himself is supervising this process,” Opolot said. “Whereas he knows that his government has been accused of murdering the MP, which is totally wrong.”

“This is absolutely ridiculous,” said Opolot about the accusations.

His comments came after petitioners gathered the 125 signatures required to call parliament, which is in recess, back to work.

Some opposition parties have accused the government of causing Nebanda’s death after she openly challenged President Museveni over the legality of oil contracts. But, Opolot disagreed.

“It is not a principle of the NRM [National Resistance Movement] government to kill its opponents,” he said.

Uganda media have reported that some legislators who commented on the lawmaker’s death have been arrested and charged with various crimes, which they say has created tension in the country.

The boyfriend of the deceased lawmaker was recently extradited back to Uganda after he allegedly fled to neighboring Kenya. He has since been charged with the lawmaker’s death.

But the opposition says the administration is using the boyfriend as a cover up. The government, however, pointed at the preliminary autopsy report as proof of the boyfriend’s complicity.

“The autopsy report that came from the independent investigations in the UK (Britain) have so far established that substances related to cocaine and heroin were found in the samples of the MP,” said Opolot.

Download  Clottey interview with Fred Opolot, Uganda government spokesman