6 January 2013

Uganda: Parliament Recall - a Case of Forged Signatures

Some members of Parliament purported to have appended their signatures to a petition calling for recall of Parliament from recess, have alleged that their signatures were forged.

One of them, Bunyaruguru MP, Benjamin Cadet (independent), said on Saturday that a colleague of his had called him, saying that he had seen his name on the list and wanted a green light from him as to whether he should also append his signature.

"I have not seen any paper. No petitioner has called me. It means that my signature was forged. I disassociate myself 100%," Cadet said.

Other MPs on the list, who refused to be identified for reasons not known, also took exception to their inclusion among the signatories.

Cadet said he did not see any urgency warranting the recalling of Parliament.

A group of MPs are pushing for the recall of Parliament from recess to discuss events that happened after the death of Butaleja District Woman MP, Cerinah Nebanda and other issues of "national importance."

When contacted, one of the petitioners, Medard Lubega Ssegona, said,:"Why should we forge his signature. We need to know who forged it."

He added that they had not released the list to anyone who has not signed it. "How does he know it is there? The only plausible possibility is that, maybe, he signed and now wants to retract. It is not allowed by law," Ssegona said.

On allegations that some MPs had been coerced into signing the petition, he said: "Any member saying he was coerced is not qualified to be an MP. We can not coerce anybody. Using what means?"

Ssegona said that as soon as they recover the signatures that were confiscated in Luzira Prison, they will hand over the petition to the Speaker of Parliament.

On Thursday, Luzira prison authorities confiscated part of the signatures collected, after some MPs purporting to visit a jailed colleague smuggled the list into the cell for Bubulo MP, Tonny Kipoi to sign.

Some forms containing signatures have also gone missing, according to reliable sources. However, the petitioners insist that they have exceeded the required numbers.

"We still maintain that we have collected 131 signatures, which are intact under lock," Denis Hamson Obua said at a press briefing at Parliament on Friday.

He said they had written to the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga and are awaiting her response as to when they should petition her office with the signatures.

The petitioners complained that they were being trailed with the intension of stealing the signatures from them. Ssegona said they would issue a protest note to the Government over the matter.

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