Minister Balaam, Joel Ssenyonyi Clash Over NUP Prisoners

 


Balaam accused the National Unity Platform (NUP), of refusing to hand over the list of its supporters believed to be held in different detention facilities as political prisoners to secure their release by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, this sparked Ssenyonyi to critize Youths & Children Minister of lack of orientation.

In his speech after swearing in, He promised to follow all the required steps to see that National Unity Platform alleged detainees are out and in this, he used an opportunity of the President’s presence at the ceremony to ask him to pardon them which he did.

While in Parliament yesterday, Minister Balaam told the house that he asked the NUP Party leadership prior to provide the full list of said prisoners so that he can start on the promise but was disappointed that he had not yet received the list.

It is against this background that he asked the Leader of Opposition in Parliament Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi to avail the list for him to start on his duty which Ssenyonyi undermined before the house

The Leader of Opposition in Parliament Joel Ssenyonyi has criticized the August House for allowing the newly appointed Minister of State for Children Affairs Balaam Barugahara Ateenyi to speak, without first undergoing orientation on how Parliament operates.

Ssenyonyi’s remarks came in after Balaam accused the National Unity Platform (NUP), of refusing to hand over the list of its supporters believed to be held in different detention facilities as political prisoners to secure their release by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

According to Balaam, while in the appointments Committee, the Speaker Anitah Among asked him to speak to the President, to ensure that NUP supporters are released, adding that, “and the President in his voice and video he said, give me the list. I requested NUP to give me the list hope the Leader of Opposition, Joel Ssenyonyi is here, I am yet to get it.”

Ssenyonyi who criticized Balaam’s speaking without undergoing orientation, explained that the list of the missing persons was given to the Attorney General and some of the political prisoners are being persecuted in various courts of law.


He added that it is important for Parliament to orient new colleagues on the modus operandi; how parliament operates.

“We discussed in this very Parliament, issues of missing persons, some we were disappeared people who are in jail irregularly. Some missing persons whom the Prime Minister acknowledged are in the hands of the State like John Bosco Kibalama and we tabled that list here in Parliament, we gave it to the Attorney General, the court is processing many of these matters and we have asked that they be released on bail because this isn’t prosecution but persecution,” he said.

Before Ssenyonyi’s microphone was switched off, he  inquired whether it was for a new Minister, who seems to be a novice, to come with excitement and claim that he has a mandate to pursue a matter of people who are simply being “persecuted” as opposed to being prosecuted.

However, Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa castigated Ssenyonyi for the disrespectful language he used against Balaam saying, “You know the language we use in Parliament, even when you disagree with a person, language is like a novice. A Member of Parliament is a Member of Parliament. So do the needful, you are a gentleman there is a language we don’t use here. Do the needful.”

In his response to the choice of words, Ssenyonyi rectified that the word novice means someone new to the profession and since Balaam is a new Minister, the word novice isn’t derogatory in any way.

Following the failure by Ssenyonyi to withdraw his statement, Tayebwa ordered the Clerk to Parliament to expunge the submissions of the Leader of Opposition from the record of Parliament.

The expunging of Ssenyonyi’s remarks means that Balaam’s accusations against NUP, that the Party has failed to hand over list of missing persons remains unchallenged on the record of Parliament.

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