MPs Ssegirinya, Ssewanyana break silence and talk about how they were released, prison experience  

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The embattled Opposition Members of Parliament Muhammad Ssegirinya and Allan Ssewanyana have said there was not gentleman’s understanding between the government of President Museveni and the opposition regarding their release from prison.

After more than a month and a half ever since the duo were released from prison, this was their first media briefing to explain to the country the circumstances under which they were released from jail. 

Speaking to the media at the party headquarters in Kampala, Ssegirinya, the member of Parliament for Makindye West refuted the  media reports that there were any negotiations for their release.

“We heard that there were negotiations for our release. It was the first time I heard about that. I have the freedom to be free in my country. The people who were talking about the negotiations had selfish interests.  Why would we negotiate?” he queried.

Ssewanyana wondered that if there were negotiations for their release from prison why would they pay Shs 20 million for bail. He said their passports were also withheld wondering what kind of negation would that be.

“It's a fact that we were arrested and released, but many words have been said. It's so sad that some leaders use such situations to spread propaganda,” he added, thanking the party and their lawyers’ efforts who he said toiled tirelessly to ensure that they get temporary freedom.

Ssegirinya, the member of Parliament for Kawempe North also stressed that there was no negotiation with the government regarding their release from jail.

“We were released because of the constant pressure that came from our people, the media, and the international community,” he said.

Following their release, there was talk in the media and elsewhere that there was a gentleman’s understanding between the government of President Museveni and the opposition led by its leader in Parliament Mathias Mpuuga to have the two MPs freed.

Mpuuga has since vehemently denied that there were any such negotiations, at least involving him. He has vowed to resign his position as Leader of Opposition if anyone brings any evidence that he was involved in any such talks.

The duo who had been in prison since September 2021 were on February 13, 2023 released on bail by the High Court in Masaka District after spending 524 days in jail, an equivalent of 17 months.

The MPs, who are accused of being behind the wave of machete killings of at least 26 people in greater Masaka in mid-2021, were each released on a cash bail of Shs20m.

This was their third attempt at bail with previous attempts being frustrated as they left Kigo prison.

The negotiations for the release of the two lawmakers who subscribe to the National Unity Platform (NUP), the Opposition majority party in Parliament reportedly started almost immediately after they were arrested and remanded to prison.

NUP Leader Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine after some weeks following the release of the duo came and responded to the allegations, saying that the reports were not true. He however stated that if the negotiation happened, it took place without his consent.

The reports on the release  of the MPs claimed that Kyagulanyi was left out of these negotiations which also included the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Parliament.

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