The possibility of expelling Opposition Members of Parliament who persist in boycotting plenary sittings due to unresolved human rights concerns is under consideration by the Speaker of Parliament, Anitah Among.
In a statement on November 14, 2023, the Speaker emphasized that missing 15 consecutive sittings without seeking permission could lead to the exercise of her powers. Among urged members to address issues within Parliament instead of resorting to street protests, highlighting the importance of unity in the 11th Parliament.
Despite the Speaker’s admonishment, the Opposition continues its boycott, citing seven pre-conditions that must be met. The latest boycott on October 19 was prompted by the government’s perceived failure to address severe human rights issues.
During the session, Leader of Opposition Mathias Mpuuga pressed for accountability, citing the harassment of fishermen, 2020 shootings, and the release of political prisoners.
Mpuuga detailed the arrests of over 500 NUP supporters in 2021, highlighting the prolonged detention of some without trial.
Responding to these concerns, the state minister for internal affairs, Gen. David Muhoozi, claimed that some matters had been resolved while dismissing others as sub-judice. This response sparked anger among opposition lawmakers.
The ongoing boycott has consequences, with the absence of Opposition members turning the August House into a mere talking shop.
Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa acknowledged concerns about the boycott, and in October, he sought Speaker Anitah Among’s involvement to address the escalating tensions. Despite these efforts, the suspension of the house for two weeks reflects the challenges in resolving the impasse.