By Insight Post Uganda
The opposition cabinet emphasised the critical demands that need to be addressed by the government before they consider resuming their participation in parliamentary sessions.
Led by the Leader of Opposition (LOP) in Parliament, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga, the opposition members expressed their commitment to staying away from parliamentary proceedings until their concerns related to human rights abuses are acknowledged and acted upon.
During a press conference held after a cabinet meeting in Kampala, LOP Mpuuga detailed the six demands that the opposition believes must be addressed.
1- The Fate of the 18 Missing Persons: The opposition demands that the state provides a full account of the whereabouts and well-being of the 18 missing persons, whose disappearances have caused deep concern.
2-Detention without Trial: The opposition calls for the government to uphold the provisions of Article 23(4)(b) of the Constitution, which safeguards the rights of individuals to a fair and timely trial.
3-Trying Civilians in the Military Court Martial: The opposition insists on the release of political prisoners who face what they consider to be unfounded charges in military courts. They stress the importance of civilian trials in such cases.
4-Ending Targeting and Victimizing Muslims: The opposition is deeply troubled by the alleged targeting of Muslims by the state, especially in cases where attacks or murders occur. They demand an end to such practices, which result in the indiscriminate killing and imprisonment of Muslims without a fair trial.
5-Violation of Human Rights in Fishing Communities: The opposition highlights the tragic human rights violations taking place in fishing communities, where many Ugandans have been killed, maimed, and dishonored by the UPDF (Uganda People’s Defense Force).
6-The Shrinking Civic Space and Mistreatment of Politicians, Media, and Civil Society: The opposition expresses serious concerns about the repressive measures applied by the state towards opposition political parties, the media, and civil society. They call for an end to these practices and the restoration of a democratic and open civic space.
According to the LOP, the opposition’s unwavering commitment to these demands saying they would not return to the parliamentary chambers even if plenary sittings were to resume, until they receive a satisfactory response to these issues.
The opposition seeks assurance that the government’s response is effective and genuinely addresses the concerns, bringing comfort to the affected families and ensuring that these violations cease.
Furthermore, Mpuuga raised another pressing issue concerning the ongoing land conflict between the Acholi and the ‘Balaalo’ cattle keepers in Northern Uganda.
The opposition suspects this conflict is a deliberate attempt to seize land from the Acholi people and has taken up the matter to demand answers from the executive.
Of particular concern is the allegation that ‘Balaalo’ are grazing their cattle on crops owned by locals, which demands urgent attention.
Despite the passage of time since their withdrawal from the parliamentary sessions, the opposition expressed disappointment that no one from the government has engaged them in a structured response to these concerns.
As a result, they stand firm in their decision to stay away from the parliamentary proceedings until their demands are satisfactorily addressed.
The success of the opposition’s demands and their decision to stay away from parliamentary proceedings will depend on several factors, including the political climate, public opinion, and the government’s response.
The effectiveness of the opposition’s demands will largely depend on how the government responds. If the government acknowledges the concerns and takes concrete actions to address them, it could lead to a positive outcome and potentially pave the way for the opposition’s return to parliamentary sessions. However, if the government dismisses or ignores these demands, it may further exacerbate the political standoff.
Public opinion can play a significant role in influencing political decisions. If the public sympathizes with the opposition’s demands and believes that these issues are genuine and important, it could put pressure on the government to act. However, if public opinion is divided or indifferent, it may be more challenging for the opposition to achieve its goals.
The history of previous attempts by the opposition to achieve their demands is relevant. If the opposition has made similar demands in the past and has seen little to no progress, it may erode confidence in their approach. However, persistent advocacy can also demonstrate the opposition’s commitment to their principles.
Still, the involvement of impartial mediators or facilitators can potentially help bridge the gap between the opposition and the government. Dialogue and negotiations, with the support of respected third parties, could provide a path towards resolving the issues and bringing the opposition back to parliamentary sessions.
However, the situation could escalate into a deeper political crisis or de-escalate if both sides show a willingness to compromise. The government and the opposition may find it in their best interest to reach a mutually agreeable solution to prevent further instability.