Opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) MPs have vowed to defy the oder from the Deputy Speaker barring all unvaccinated people from accessing prescincts of the national Parliament.
In a letter issued last week, the Deputy Speaker Anita Among directed that nobody including MPs, parliament support staff and the public, will be allowed to access parliament unless they can prove that they were vaccinated.
But speaking at a press conference today, NUP Spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi said Among’s order is not only illegal, but also contradicts the current Covid-19 realities where the number of vaccines available are fewer than the population eligible for vaccination.
Ssenyonyi said NUP MPs will tomorrow go to parliament and they will not carry vaccination cards as directed by the Deputy Speaker.
The letter from the Deputy Clerk Henry Yoweri Waiswa, written on October 29th 2021, stated that the Deputy Speakers order is aimed at increasing uptake of the Covid-19 jabs that are currently available in the country.
“The office of the Speaker is in agreement with the President’s observation and in the communication of the Deputy Speaker ….at the sitting of parliament Thursday October 28,2021, she gave a directive that access to the precincts of parliament should be restricted to Members of Parliament, staff and visitors that will show proof of vaccination against Covid-19,” Waiswa’s letter reads in part.
Parliament is not the first institution to limit access to unvaccinated visitors and staff members. The National Medical Stores, the Ministry of Health have in the past few weeks restricted access to their premises. However, the ministry of health is yet to make it illegal for unvaccinated people to access certain public premises.
Meanwhile, NUP has called upon the Uganda Prisons Services specifically, and government generally to allow MPs Muhammad Ssegirinya and Allan Ssewanyana access medical treatment outside prisons where they are currently on remand. The two MPs were last week denied bail by the Masaka High Court following their re-arrest on charges of murder that rocked greater Masaka area two months ago.
“They are in extremely bad shape and what we hear about Ssegirinya is that he has been taken to hospital and we get information that sometimes he is convulsing,” Senyonyi said. “Nobody is allowed to access him, not even his family, not his lawyers to establish his status. We have been making the clarion call saying they are leaders who are not going to run away. Please release them so that they can access better health care. What will Museveni tell Uganda if Ssegirinya dies in this drama? Why doesn’t the government want him to go and access better health care? If anything happens to them, their blood is on their hands,” Ssenyonyi said.
In a related development, NUP also called upon President Museveni to stop politicizing matters of national security. Ssenyonyi said the suggestion that politicians and Muslims could have been behind the bombings at Komamboga and in a Swift bus could lead the security away from focusing on the real culprits.