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UK Cannot Run Our Affairs; Unfazed Speaker Anita Among Responds to Sanctions

The UK cannot run the affairs of Uganda and i pledge that the issue of perceived corruption will be handled.

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By Ivan Kaahwa (#IvanKaahwaReports)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has responded to the sanctions slapped against Ugandan politicians on grounds of Corruption by the United Kingdom Government. The Politicians include Mary Gorette Kitutu and Agnes Nandutu who are battling courts of law after they were involved in the diversion of the Iron Sheets meant for the People of Karamoja. The sanctions were also extended to the Speaker of Parliament over the same cases.

While presenting Government position over the sanctions, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of Regional Cooperation, Hon. Mulimba John emphasized that while Uganda is a stable democracy that enjoys cordial relationships with other states, they were surprised to learn of the sanctions by UK against Uganda Politicians on allegations of corruption. He said that Parliament as an institution reflects the legitimate voice of the Uganda people. Mulimba further clarified that the two former ministers whom the UK slapped sanctions against were unearthed by Ugandan agencies for their role in corruption-related cases but maintained that the two ministers Nandutu and Kitutu remain under the presumption of innocence going by the Supreme Law of Uganda.

kitutu Nandutu
Mary Kitutu (Left), Agnes Nandutu (Right)

He further elaborated that the Speaker of Parliament Annet Anita Among who is a victim of the UK latest sanctions has not been charged by Director Public Prosecution for that matter questioning the factors the UK considered while coming up with such sanctions.

Foreign Affairs is considering to find out the rationale of the decision by British government while allowing for more engagements with the British high commission in Uganda and the UK government with a strong firm stand that sovereign remains a cardinal principle in the bilateral relations between the two nations.

Members in the August House also highlighted that the Uganda Parliament is a member of the commonwealth, with Anita Among the Chairperson of the commonwealth presiding and speakers conference which questions whether the actions against the speaker do not violate principles upon which the institution is established. They argued that the sanctions are not based on any genuine grounds but borders on UK government violating the rules of engagement. MPs expressed displeasure and feared that the sanctions affect the participation of the speaker as chair to discuss harmonized cordial relations in the commonwealth.

In response to these statements, the Speaker argued that the Foreign affairs Ministry ought to have responded instantly to the sanctions issued by UK, than waiting for the matter to escalate without diplomatic intervention, stating it is the reason they are paid. “You should have acted diplomatically, before the undiplomatic damaged the image of the country” she stated (Paraphrased).

Despite the sanctions, Speaker Among expressed indifference, stating that she is only concerned about her “visa” from the people of Bukedia and does not rely on foreign handouts.

The Leader of Opposition, Joel Ssenyonyi, questioned Speaker Among’s apparent concern despite her claim of being unaffected by the sanctions. He emphasized the importance of addressing corruption through diplomatic means. In response, the speaker, assured him, that an attack on her was an attack on everyone since all are potential candidates for sanctions adding that she is acting for and on behalf of Ugandans.

Whilst the mood was characterized by Mammering during the Plenary, the Leader of Opposition did not conclude on his submission, but in breaking intervals implored the government not to wait for foreign countries to sanction individuals in corruption related scandals to take action.

Minister of state for Sports, Peter Ogwang clarified, that the if the rule of law of Uganda was to take precedence, the UK government was not in order to issue sanctions since in Uganda any person charged of any case is innocent until proven guilty. On this point, the Leader of Opposition acknowledged the presumption of innocence but emphasized that sanctions are a diplomatic tool to check those in leadership to highlight underlying issues that need attention.

The floor was awash with other MPs who urged the Foreign affairs ministry to resolve the matter diplomatically with the other counties that have issued sanctions.

The Speaker demanded for a comprehensive response from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while revealing the presence of some leaders earnings and sustaining their living and achieving accountability through using people’s names like hers to account that they are doing their work. Furthermore, MPs argued that Parliament remains firm on issues of morality, which each of the members of the house contributed towards the passing of Anti-Homosexuality Law. They acknowledged the impact of sanctions on development and bilateral cooperation urging government to give a solid and convincing explanation since they are worried that sanctions against the speaker block her from participating in any form of bilateral engagements in the commonwealth.

MP for Lwemiyaga County, Sembabule District Theodore Sekikuubo questioned how ministers implicated in Mabati were also attending cabinet, citing it as a lack of political will to deal with corruption. He urged the speaker to use the sanctions as an opportunity to tackle corruption despite the presence of loopholes in leadership evidenced by implicated Ministers in corruption still attending Parliament seatings. The Legislators argued that the sanctions suggest that government has failed to deal with corruption.

In response, the speaker informed Members that the UK cannot run the affairs of Uganda and pledged that the issue of perceived corruption will be handled.

Theodore Sekikuubo called for transparency among leaders and urged them to refrain from condemning other countries for their failure to address corruption. MPs called for a focus on internal solutions to avoid dependence on foreign interventions that may not align with Uganda’s interests.

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