By Andrew Irumba
In the aftermath of the Arua by-election violence both sides are inching closer to another fight. Ahead of an anticipated debate on the findings of a parliamentary probe into the Arua violence which led to the brutal arrest and torture of MPs and others, President Museveni, opposed to such a debate, has warned that he can do away with Parliament!
Museveni reportedly made the threat while addressing ruling party MPs at State House on August 27. He reportedly advised them to tread carefully.
“Between 1971 and 1979 (Idi Amin dictatorship), there was no parliament, don’t think that you are in heaven, do what took you there. You should know where the power of that parliament comes from, in fact, I can do away with that parliament,” Mr. Museveni, a retired army general was quoted to have said.
“And we brought it [parliament] back, so do whatever you are doing knowing,” he continued.
Museveni, according to MPs who attended the meeting, also took a swipe at Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga. The president reportedly faulted the speaker for instituting an adhoc committee to probe the brutal arrest and torture of MPs yet there was an ongoing court process.
The president said the committee hasn’t even bothered to interface with him yet it’s his convoy that was pelted with stones.
Parliament was meant to debate the report compiled by an adhoc committee set up by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on August 16 before the matter ran into headwinds.
The committee carried out inquiries after photos of a badly wounded Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake were circulated on social media.
For three days, Zaake and Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine’s whereabouts remained only known to security agencies.
With mounting pressure in parliament, the government revealed that Kyagulanyi was in army custody in Gulu, while MPs Paul Mwiru (Jinja Municipality East), Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality), Kassiano Wadri (Arua Municipality), former Makindye East MP Michael Mabikke and 30 other suspects were detained at Gulu police station.
The discoveries by the committee, testimonies of the torture victims and a medical report on Zaake by Lubaga hospital forced Kadaga to write a letter to Museveni, demanding for the arrest and prosecution of whoever was responsible for the vicious attacks on MPs, journalists and other ordinary citizens.
Museveni put on a tough face as he went to address the NRM caucus meeting that was also attended by some independent MPs leaning to the ruling party.
“I have seen that parliament set up a committee to investigate what happened in Arua,” a source quotes Museveni as having said before going on to express his displeasure with this move which he reportedly dismissed as a waste of time.