Uganda Peoples Congress
Plot 8-10 Kampala Road, Uganda House,
P. O. Box 9206, Kampala
21 December 2006
For the last two days the National Resistance Movement Organization (NRMO) Parliamentary Caucus has been meeting to discuss a number of concerns, some of which affect all of us and the Nation.
On Thursday 14th December, 2006 Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) made a statement to Parliament on the issues of Acholi Land. This statement was made under Rule No. 41 of our Rules of Procedure. The Statement could not be debated due to lack of time and the debate was adjourned to this week.
At the end of that statement, Hon. Daniel Omara Atubo, Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, informed the House that Cabinet was going to discuss APG on Wednesday, yesterday, after which he would come and make a statement to the House on the same issues of Acholi land. In short, asking the Speaker to defer the debate till his statement. This is not provided for under the above-quoted rule.
Yesterday afternoon, we received reports of what had transpired in the NRMO caucus, including a paper presented by Hon. Omara Atubo. The paper mentions the name of Hon. Okello-Okello, who was not in that caucus to defend himself, several times. The debate on Acholi land issues was taken away from the floor of Parliament and shifted to the NRMO caucus. We think that was not fair.
What is of greater concern to us are the utterances reportedly made to the caucus by H.E. President Museveni, Hon. Hilary Onek and Hon. Omara Atubo. The President reportedly instructed the caucus to -:
- Throw out the statement by APG on the floor of the House; and
- Find all possible ways to remove Hon. Okello-Okello and Hon. Okumu Reagan from Parliament, because throwing out the statement was not enough. The President was reported to be in a very combative mood.
The Statement we made to Parliament is not a motion. Members can only comment on it for not more than fifteen minutes. They cannot throw it out.
As regards removing the Hon. Members of APG from Parliament, we wish to reiterate that they were elected by the people they represent in Parliament. The constitutional rights of these people to elect their representatives must be respected by all, including H.E. the President.
Hon. Onek Hillary reportedly proposed that Hon. Okello-Okello and Hon. Okumu Reagan should be arrested. Hon Onek is a member of APG. All decisions of APG bind him. This is not the first time some of our leaders do this sort of thing. He should be reminded that in the early 1990s, the late RDC Ocaya wrote a secret letter to the then NRM Secretariat to the effect that if certain politicians in Northern Uganda were not arrested, the Movement would not take root there. Eighteen (18) politicians, including Hon. Omara Atubo were arrested. Some of them again including Hon. Omara Atubo, were badly totured. This incident haunted Ocaya till his untimely death. In a similar manner, Hon Okumu and Hon. Nyeko Ocula, were arrested in the 7th Parliament.
Is history about to repeat itself?
Hon. Omara Atubo reportedly said that Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), had now abandoned members of APG. And that was the reason why Peace Talks were going on smoothly in Juba. This statement was most misfortunate to have come from a leader of the calibre of Hon. Omara Atubo. No member of APG has been a part of LRA.
It was APG in the 6th Parliament, which for the first time in 1996 brought the war in the North to the floor of Uganda Parliament. APG had always pushed for negotiations between the Government of Uganda and LRA. Had the Government listened to this plea ten years ago, many lives would have been saved and our people would not be dehumanized in squalid campus today.
We are, however, happy that both Government and LRA have now agreed to talk peace as the only way to a permanent resolution of the war in the North.
While we wish them a successful negotiation, we as the legitimate leaders, stand ready and willing to do whatever is required of us to ensure the return of peace to the North.
For God and my Country
Chairman, Acholi Parliamentary Group
December 21, 2006