Makindye West Member of Parliament, Allan Ssewanyana has accused President Yoweri Museveni of dishonesty in regard to political rallies organised by the opposition.
While addressing guests who attended the Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD), President Museveni noted that no Ugandan is deprived of his right to assemble, as had earlier been claimed by Justice Forum (JEEMA) President, Asuman Basalirwa.
Museveni said that some opposition politicians organize rallies in market places, while others intend to sabotage the security of the country in the guise of political rallies, saying such groups can not be tolerated.
Now, MP Ssewanyana who also belongs to the opposition Democratic Party has responded to the statements made by Museveni noting that gatherings of opposition politicians even those far from crowded places have been stopped by security.
“Dr Kizza Besigye, Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago and I have severally been blocked from holding rallies even in places outside the Kampala Central Business District, and in upcountry districts,” said Ssewanyana.
“This regime has stooped too low to an extent of even stopping music shows of my colleague, Hon Kyagulanyi Ssentamu. We saw what happened to his Kyarenga concert which he wanted to hold at the Mandela national stadium,” he added.
“Does the President want to tell the public that Namboole is a market place as well?” asked Ssewanyana.
He said that government uses the Public Order Management Act (POMA) which regulates public gatherings, to suppress activities organized by opposition politicians.
“POMA only provides for Ugandans who want to associate to notify the Police, not to ask for permission. Association is a human right,” he noted.
On whether the opposition benefited from Wednesday’s Summit, the youthful legislator said that nothing was gained, since, according to him, the issues of electoral reforms which would have topped the agenda, were not discussed.
“I have come to realize that FDC was absolutely right not to take part in the summit, because, besides the eating and a photo moment with the President, what is tangible that was yielded?” asked Ssewanyana.
“Our biggest challenge has always been the loopholes in the electoral laws, which he (Museveni) exploits to deny us victory. We have pushed for electoral reforms, but he keeps frustrating our efforts. A case in point are the reforms proposed by IPOD in 2013, which he comfortably swept under the carpet,” he highlighted.
Ssewanyana’s party, DP was part of the summit and was represented by the party President, Norbert Mao who downplayed criticism by colleagues in the opposition. He termed IPOD Summit as the beginning of the process as opposed to being an event as some of the elements in the opposition want to believe.