5 September 2017

Uganda: Parliament Suspended Over Mysterious Women Killings

Photo: The Monitor
Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah

Parliament — Parliament was on Tuesday forced to indefinitely adjourn after the government failed to present a statement clearing the air over the mysterious brutal killings of women around in and around Entebbe and Wakiso areas.

At least 20 women have so far been killed in a spate of macabre murders around the Kampala Metropolitan area that have generated fear as some bodies have been recovered with blunt objects like sticks inserted in their private parts.

The Internal Affairs Minister Gen Jeje Odong was on Tuesday expected to tell MPs who is behind the killings but he chose to skip the sitting while Security Minister Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde was also absent.

Prime Minister and Leader of Government Business in Parliament, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda and the Deputy Leader of Government Business, Gen Moses Ali were also absent; leaving the government with no explanation about the killings.

The government was last week put on notice by the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to table an explanation about the killings. The bi-partisan condemnation of government's lacklustre response to the killings came on the heels of the death of another woman, who has since been identified as Maria Nabilanda, whose body was recovered dumped in a shrub in Nyanama, off Entebbe road on Monday.

Police have arrested a man from a shrine in Nakaseke District in connection with the latest murder.

With no government Minister available, to defend the government, Aruu County MP Odonga Otto moved a motion without notice, calling for Parliament to be suspended until the government explains who is behind the killing of women in mainly in Entebbe and Nansana areas.

"We have no business in this House until we get information on why our women are being killed. The whole world wants to know why these women are dying. Women are being killed every day and the Police do not appear confident when communicating who is responsible for the killings," Mr Otto said.

Mr Otto's motion was greeted with bi-partisan approval, with MPs from the government side and Ministers agreeing that the security apparatus of government must get to the bottom of the killings.

Women activists led by former Minister Miria Matembe and the Fida Executive Director Ms Irene Ovonji Odida packed the gallery and followed the proceedings.

State Minister for Primary Education Rosemary Seninde, who is the Wakiso District Woman MP -one of the affected areas- questioned whether the suspects that have been arrested and charged with terrorism are the people.

"It is so saddening that we have not got the actual suspects. The manner in which some of the women are being killed is very terrible and humiliating to those of us who see them," Ms Seninde said.

Local Government Minister Col (rtd) Tom Butime, who said he was acting leader of government business, put on a lone defence of government, with NRM MPs and the front bench supporting the opposition-sponsored motion.

When the motion was put to a vote, it overwhelmingly sailed through.

Last week, 12 people, were arraigned before a Chief Magistrates Court in Nabweru and charged with terrorism, murder and aggravated robbery. They had earlier been arrested over the women killings.

The dozen suspects were remanded to Luzira Prison until September 12 when they will re-appear in court for mention of their cases.

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