KAMPALA: Acholi Parliamentary Group have explained why they attended the plenary sitting on Tuesday, 09 February 2022 against an Opposition decision to boycott.
The MPs led by their chairperson and Kilak North MP, Hon Anthony Akol said that they had key issues of their constituencies that needed to be addressed.
According to Akol, although they do not condone human rights violations and are with the Opposition in the boycott, the matter of the longstanding land conflict in Apaa, Amuru district and the issue of cattle rustling in Acholi which was debated in the House could not see them miss the sitting of the House.
Akol added that they also needed to hear an update about the Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah who is receiving treatment abroad.
Akol said it is unfair for them to be accused of condoning torture, and yet they were representatives of their different constituencies.
“We had three issues which were very key , unfortunately, I saw an attack on me even after we consulted the Leader of Opposition,” he said.
Akol’s remarks follow a statement by the Leader of Opposition, Hon Mathias Mpuuga indicating that Akol had decided to go against the Opposition decision of boycotting the house.
The Opposition last week announced a boycott over torture and arbitrary arrests. They cited the arrest of legislators, Hon Muhammad Ssegirinya of Kawempe North and Hon Allan Ssewanyana, the Makindye West MP.
Amuru District Woman MP, Hon Lucy Akello said that matters of their constituencies come first, adding that they agreed with the opposition, but simply prioritised their constituency’s concerns.
When asked if she will resume the boycott or not, Akol said that they no longer have a business on Tuesday, 09 February 2022.
“When it comes to issues of torture, we speak one language and we appreciate the effort of the Leader of Opposition in spearheading this process. What we are against is the discrimination,” she said.
Hon Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the Bardege-Layibi division MP said that the country is struggling with issues of human rights and torture and as Acholi MPs, they join efforts to condemn the acts.
“I want to appreciate the Leader of Opposition for taking a bold step that such impunity must stop,” Mapenduzi said.
The MPs also condemned demonstrations by some Ugandans on Monday in the United States against the treatment of the Speaker abroad, saying it was inhuman and in itself a violation of human rights.
Hon Anthony Akol said that NUP needed to distance itself from the protestors who are against a Ugandan leader being treated abroad.
“As chairman of the Acholi Parliamentary Group, I demand an apology from this group; many Ugandans have been taken abroad for treatment and there have not been any demonstrations,” Akol.
Akol said that if NUP is not behind the demonstrations, they should distance themselves from the people protesting.