Uganda: Parliament Won't Intervene in Bobi Wine Saga, Says Oulanyah

Bobi Wine (holding envelope) with supporters before they were blocked by police in Magere, Wakiso District.

Parliament — Parliament will not intervene in the saga between Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine and police, deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah said yesterday.

"Parliament is not a haven or a place of safety for criminal conduct; if you commit a crime outside Parliament, the privileges and immunities of Parliament cannot protect you. Parliament is not a haven for criminality," Mr Oulanyah told the House yesterday.

"Let us make a distinction; parliamentary privileges and immunities relate to what you say and do in Parliament. They do not relate to what you say and do outside Parliament. Please remember this it might help you in future," he added.

The deputy Speaker was responding to a matter of urgent national importance by Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze regarding the rising police brutality against Opposition politicians.

The police have on several occasions crashed Opposition rallies and gatherings, with former FDC president Kizza Besigye and Bobi Wine key victims.

Ms Nambooze pleaded with Mr Oulanyah to invoke the House provisions on privileges enjoyed by sitting MPs to rescue Bobi Wine, who is under house arrest at his home in Magere, Wakiso District.

"Mr Speaker Sir, you are supposed to assist us to be able to do work in Parliament but as we sit here, the people of Kyadondo East can't be represented because their MP has been detained in his home together with his children," she said.

So far, at least five radio talk shows by Mr Besigye have been stopped by police and the Opposition leader pulled off air. Bobi Wine has had at least 124 music concerts cancelled by police midway or just hours to the launch on claims of breaching the Public Management Order Act provisions.

"The fact that an MP cannot leave his home to come to Parliament, I beg that government comes out clearly whether it is an offence to dress in red and sing slogans of People Power," said Ms Nambooze.

But Mr Oulanyah stressed that the solution to Mr Kyagulanyi's troubles lies with the police and the legislator himself.

"You will not have the protection of Parliament and there are procedures for dealing with these things, so let us be honourable in the way we do things," Mr Oulanyah said.

Speaking on behalf of government, the First Deputy premier, Gen (rtd) Moses Ali, said he had not received a report from police regarding Mr Kyagulanyi or any Opposition leader to be suffering at the hands of police. He promised that he would pick interest and follow up the matter and where possible, have the politicians released.

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