- By Faith Barbara Namagembe Updated at 1712 EAT on 24 March 2022.
Allan Ssewanyana and Muhammad Ssegirinya Detained Makindye West MP Allan Ssewanyana is seeking an injunction halting the process for the election of speaker of parliament until he is allowed to contest for the same office.
This Friday, MPs are expected to vote for the next speaker of parliament to replace the late Jacob Oulanyah who passed away on Sunday, in the United States of America where he had been rushed for medical attention. Ssewanyana who is on remand in Kigo Maximum prison on a multiplicity of charges related to murder and terrorism, says he has also expressed interest in being elected the next speaker.
While appearing before Masaka grade one magistrate Christine Nantege to receive updates on the status of investigations into the matters, Ssewanyana instructed his lawyers; Erias Lukwago, Shamim Malende, and Asuman Basalirwa to ensure that his interest in the office is also respected by any means permissible under the law.
Ssewanyana argues that much as he’s on remand, he merely remains a suspect who is innocent of the offences until proven guilty, indicating that this gives him absolute rights to participate in the process as well as expressing interest and contesting for the speakership.
Similarly, besides being in ill-health, staying too long on remand sentence without trial, and having many pending responsibilities for which he has been seeking bail, Kawempe North MP Muhammad Ssegirinya also told the court that he would also wish to contest for the position of deputy speaker of parliament should the current office bearer relinquish it.
While delivering her ruling, in which she further remanded the MPs up to April 6, the trial magistrate advised their lawyers to explore the available legal channels through which their interests in the race for speakership can be effectively expressed.
“…..on the application that the accused persons intend to make in regards to the speakership race, this can be done through their counsels,” she indicated. Lukwago said that before applying for an injunction to halt the ongoing process for the election of speaker, he is going to seek audience with the Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LoP) Mathias Mpuuga, to bring to his attention the interests expressed by the MPs in becoming candidates for the same position.
On the other hand, the MPs earlier openly expressed their disappointment with the delayed processes of investigations into the murders charges preferred against them.
They also blamed the prosecution led by Richard Birivumbuka, the Masaka resident chief state attorney for what they described as persecution, arguing that the state has consistently failed to find substantial evidence that can lead to their committal to the High court for trial.
But in his response, Birivumbuka asked the court to allow him up to the next adjournment to enable him to present the committal papers for the two MPs, saying he was finalizing with preparing key witnesses in the case.