The two embattled Members of Parliament Allan Ssewanyana of Makindye West and Muhammad Ssegirinya of Kawempe North have refuted rumours that their release from prison was out of negotiations with the government.
The duo was arrested and sent to prison in September 2021 and were released on bail on February 13, 2023, by the High Court in Masaka District after spending 524 days in jail, an equivalent of 17 months.
Immediately following their release, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Norbert Mao came out and admitted that he played a role in securing their temporary freedom.
While speaking to journalists, Mao revealed that he started working for the release of the duo even before he was appointed a minister
““I met the mother of Ssegirinya at Parliament and she fell on her knees begging me to have them released. The parents of Ssewanyana also came. Therefore, what I did, I did it for them, not for politics. I quietly went to Kigo prison and met the two MPs. We sneaked in with [the DP] press secretary Fred Mwesigwa but never posted any social media photos. But there are those even before entering the prison are already taking selfies,” Mao, who is also the president General of the Democratic Party said.
Although he refused to give the details of the negotiations, Mao admitted that there was a deal between the jailer and prisoners which fostered their release on bail in February 2023.
“Bail is a constitutional right and I believe the two MPs should have gotten the bail much earlier. But their case has been over-politicized,” he said.
Nevertheless, while addressing the press at the offices of the National Unity Platform (NUP) in Kampala on Wednesday, Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana refuted the claims and asserted that they never held any negotiations as far as their release is concerned.
“I want to repeat this, nobody negotiated our release because our release was within the laws of Uganda and there were no negotiations. One’s freedom especially in our case is guaranteed, so what were we going to negotiate about?” Ssegirinya asked.
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