Uganda: Clerk to Parliament Accused of Fighting Opposition Parties

11 February 2019

Parliament — The Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LoP), Ms Betty Aol has accused the Clerk to Parliament Ms Jane Kibirige of stifling Opposition space in the House.

Ms Aol, in a Monday press conference said that Ms Kibirige was being used by "enemy elements" to suffocate opposition activities including complementary legislative processes.

Ms Kibirige, according to Ms Aol, called off a consultative meeting for leaders of Opposition parties that was slated for Monday, in her boardroom.

"To my greatest dismay and disappointment, I received a communication from the Clerk not to me but to the Director (of LoP Office), referring this meeting to another venue," she said. "How on earth do I invite my visitors to come and again I am told to host them somewhere else when I know that we can comfortably fit in our space."

Daily Monitor has seen copies of correspondences between Ms Aol and Ms Kibirige dated February 11, 2019.

Ms Kibirige, in a response to an earlier request by the Director, LoP's office in regard to the meeting, stressed the inability for Parliament to concurrently handle both groups.

She said the space that was suggested by Ms Aol was being used for the ongoing probe into the closure of several banks by Bank of Uganda.

"This is to inform you that Parliament of Uganda will be hosting the Bank of Uganda officials in an exit meeting with COSASE... we will not be able to handle both groups at the same time," Ms Kibirige's letter reads in part.

Ms Kibirige also highlighted the absence of a clear composition of the meeting.

"Please take note that although the subject [of the request] indicates that the meeting is with Secretary Generals of Parties, in the body you listed the dignitaries to attend including party presidents," the letter reads.

Ms Kibirige added in the letter: "I advise that you contact the Prime Minister's Office to use their Conference Hall for convenience."

Ms Aol described the advice as "arrogant and politically motivated" to fail the Opposition.

"Why was this boardroom given if I cannot host my visitors in the boardroom," Ms Aol told the press.

In her letter to Ms Kibirige, Ms Aol minced no words as she plainly pointed out the perceived mischief.

"You have blocked my visitors from accessing Parliament based on your insinuation that we needed a particular room for our meeting which is occupied by some other meeting," Ms Aol's letter reads.

The LoP accused Ms Kibirige of unilaterally blocking the meeting, describing the decision as an unfortunate act of impunity.

Ms Aol demanded an explanation which by press time had not materialised.

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