Lira | As opposition Members of Parliament stick to their pledge of staying away from Parliament until the government clears issues regarding the abductions and November 2020 killings, some leaders and political analysts in Lango claim that the opposition stand is a way of fighting for human rights.
At the peak of the election period in Uganda in 2021, several people were abducted and others killed, something that the opposition MPs termed as “an inhuman act”.
The leader of the opposition in Parliament, Mathias Mpuuga has raised the concern before the floor of Parliament demanding clear accountability of the abducted people and the masses killed in November.
However, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebya declined to respond.
It was at this point that the opposition MPs marched out of the August House in protest until the government gave them clear accountability.
Speaking to tndNews on Wednesday, November 9, Col. (rtd) Tony Otoa says that the opposition’s stand of staying out of Parliament is a legitimate protest because the government is not listening to their demand that is related to human rights.
“Opposition wants an explanation, a clear explanation as to what happened to members of one of the political parties from the government and the government has failed to account for this,” the retired army officer adds.
Otoa further says that there is a pressure group that is demanding that there must be clear human rights in Uganda because people cannot just disappear and no traces of them are left behind.
“People were abducted and up to date, no traces of them were left behind. This is impossible because even when a person dies, their corpse is found.
According to Otoa, the acts of opposition indicate that the electorates are demanding for the whereabouts of their beloved families thereby pushing the opposition Members of Parliament to ensure that the government comes out clean to clarify and find out the whereabouts of such people.
The Focal Point Person of Lango Civil Society Network, Acar James says that the opposition walking out of Parliament is their way of expressing their concerns about issues surrounding the abductions and killings.
In his own observation, Acar notes that the current government should not underestimate opposition in the 11th Parliament because these are Members of Parliament who represent their electorates from the respective constituencies.
“Currently, the opposition is not speaking as opposition, they are rather bringing issues as Members of Parliament and this is an issue of human rights. If a person is abducted and taken to isolated places without even their families knowing their whereabouts, this makes Members of Parliament express their (electorates) concerns simply because the electorates cannot go to Parliament to demand because we shall instead see chaos.
According to Acar, the Speaker has to come up with a clear response to the grievances that are in line with the law because their move to stay away from Parliament might have a solid basis.
“I believe that once the Speakers get solutions to these concerns, the opposition will definitely return to the August House,” he hopes.
Meanwhile, Denis Olodi, a political analyst says that for a functional Parliament to run there should be representation from different groups in the opinion process
Olodi says that Parliament is running with the majority of MPs in the House while leaving out the other side, something he says affects the passing out of Bills because even the voices of the minority Parliament are key.
“Their moving out of Parliament now affects the country instead. I purely know that what guides Parliament is the numerical strength in passing Bills but to ensure that cooperation and harmony prevail in Parliament, it is very important that the issues and concerns of the minority opposition are also heard.”
According to Olodi, both the Speaker and Clerk now have a vital role in creating harmony amongst the different political parties in the House.
“In this case, the Speaker has to engage the Leader of the Opposition and other key figures to mobilise all opposition members to go and work amicably for the betterment of the citizens and Uganda at large. They may be the minority in Parliament but they also represent a portion of citizens across the country whose concerns are brought before the floor of Parliament by these Members of Parliament,” Olodi explains.
He also says that the opposition’s move to stay out of Parliament definitely affects the locals because some of these members of the opposition at times support the passing out of Bills that have no impact on the grassroots people.
Olodi tells tndNews that constituencies under such MPs are now affected because their pressing issues are not even discussed.
“Assuming a constituency is badly affected by the current floods and the area MP is an opposition out of Parliament, such locals are bound to suffer because such MPs will not have the opportunity to raise such matters of importance on the floor of Parliament,” he analyses.