Balaam Barugahare, the newly appointed Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs, and Dr. Kenneth Omona, the Minister of State for Northern Uganda, took their oaths as ex-officio members on Wednesday afternoon, in accordance with Article 81(5) of the constitution.

After receiving copies of the constitution and Rules of Procedure to guide them in their duties, Balaam criticized the National Unity Platform for withholding the list of its supporters believed to be held in different detention facilities as political prisoners.

During his oath-taking at State House last week, President Museveni, following a plea from alleged NUP councilor Katerega Ali of Kimanya division, pledged to pardon some opposition politicians and members accused of mobilizing youth for illegal protests, on the condition that they refrain from such activities in the future.

In response, NUP President Kyagulanyi Robert asserted that Katerega Ali was an impersonator and emphasized the party’s stance that all political prisoners should be unconditionally released, stating that innocent people shouldn’t be arrested for seeking change.

“We aren’t begging for our freedom, we are demanding for our freedom,” he noted.

Opposition leader Joel Ssenyonyi criticized Parliament for allowing Balaam to speak without proper orientation on parliamentary operations, noting that the list of missing persons had been provided to the Attorney General.

Ssenyonyi highlighted that court proceedings were underway, and bail requests had been made, emphasizing that this was persecution, not prosecution.

“It’s important as parliament that we orient our new colleagues on our modus operandi, how we operate, point of order and the like, we gave the list to the attorney general, court is also processing many of these matters and we have asked that they be released on bail because this isn’t prosecution but persecution,” Ssenyonyi highlighted.

Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa rebuked Ssenyonyi for his language, urging him to act respectfully. When Ssenyonyi failed to withdraw his statements, the deputy speaker ordered the parliament clerk to expunge his submissions from the record.

In the same session, Sarah Aguti, the newly elected Member of Parliament for Dokolo District, took her oath of allegiance following a contested by-election in March.

Kimera Abdul is a Senior Journalist with Plus News Uganda. He identifies as an adaptable and enthusiastic individual who works to inspire generations. He posses a Diploma and Broadcast journalism and has...

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