Opondo scoffs at opposition MPs decision to boycott Museveni speech

Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo, has said the decision taken by the opposition members of Parliament to boycott president Museveni's address to Parliament will not stop the democratisation journey of Uganda.

On Thursday, the opposition cabinet in Parliament boycotted Museveni's address to Parliament in an event that took place at Kololo ceremonial grounds. Only three opposition MPs attended the address.

While appearing on NBS Frontline on Thursday night, Opondo said opposition boycotting the address was within their rights but that can not stop the progress of Uganda as a country.

“It is the right of my colleagues (opposition) to do so (boycott President's address). Rules have been amended for legislators to attend Parliamentary sessions even when they aren't physically in Parliament,” he said.

Opondo scoffed at the opposition legislators , saying that they claimed to have boycotted the President's speech but they were busy commenting about what the President didn't address. This, he said, means they were following from their respective houses.

“Let sleeping dogs lie. The boycotts will not stop the democratisation journey of Uganda, “he said.

Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Chris Baryomunsi said the absence of any Member of Parliament or Opposition does not affect the working of Parliament in any way.

“The President was having a special address to Parliament which is provided for in the Constitution. Our rules don't force us to attend. You can also participate through zoom,” he noted.

The Kira Municipality member of Parliament, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said there was a meeting, and the opposition took a decision that it is pointless to go to Kololo. This decision, he claimed, followed what they have gone through over the years. 

“Mr. Museveni is the reason we had two colleagues in prison, he doesn't allow political competition in the country, and he doesn't allow political parties to hold simple meetings. How do we listen to someone who doesn't allow us to listen to ourselves?” he noted.

 According to Busiro County East MP, Medard Lubega Sseggona, the reasons for the boycott were the political detentions of government opponents who he claimed have been missing without a trace from the time of the general election in 2021.

Sseggona also pointed at what he called the reluctance of President Museveni to walk the talk on fighting corruption.

Some opposition members said they are tired of Museveni’s speeches that are laced with history, they now want a speech of hope for citizens.

Kilak North County legislator Anthony Akol advised the President to prepare a result-oriented speech.

"There are Ugandans now who do not want to hear the history, there are those who have studied history several times. Others were born in 1986, 1990, they are adults now, this time we want to see solution-oriented speech, something that makes citizens have hope," Akol said.

 He accused Museveni of using his speech time to speak what he wants, urging that the president should speak what people want to hear instead.

Some MPs insisted that the President should express himself on pertinent issues affecting the country at the moment, among others, what is next after Parliament censured Minister Persis Namuganza, the corruption scandal involving Ministers who diverted iron sheets for Karamoja as well as democracy.

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