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Government screens riot suspectsPublish Date: Sep 22, 2009
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By Joyce Namutebi

SCREENING of persons arrested during the recent riots in Kampala is underway and the innocent will be released, internal affairs state minister Matia Kasaija said yesterday.

“Those found to have no connection whatsoever with the riots will be released,” he told Parliament.

He was responding to a request by the Kabarole district Woman MP, Margaret Muhanga, to help trace 18-year-old Hope Stephen from Humura village in Burahya constituency.

She said Stephen is believed to have been rounded up in the riots in Kampala and his whereabouts are unknown. Muhanga said the boy’s mother, a councillor, had approached her to help trace the boy.

The riots rocked Kampala, its suburbs and a few towns in Buganda for three days after the Police stopped the kingdom’s prime minister from travelling to Kayunga to prepare for the Kabaka’s visit, citing security reasons.

Last week, the MPs demanded a full list of the victims of the two day riots.

Kasaija, who said he has the list, added: “We know where each person is, if at all he is in the hands of the Police.” Kasaija said innocent individuals who had already been charged were likely to be released. He apologised for the inconvenience which innocent people suffered.

The Minister is expected to present a statement to Parliament on the riot victims today.

Meanwhile, Parliament yesterday ended prematurely after opposition MPs walked out before debate on the Appropriation Bill of 2009.

Leader of Opposition Prof. Morris Ogenga Latigo said his side was contesting the sh6.5b budgeted for patriotism promotion, the sh10b for the presidential banana initiative, the sh4b for Kampala International University, which belongs to tycoon Hassan Basajjabalaba, and the sh1.73b for the construction of a market in Juba, Southern Sudan. It was the second walkout by the opposition for the same reasons.

Before adjourning the House, Ssekandi said: “We should teach ourselves tolerance. If you are defeated, you continue carrying out your work.” Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, the state minister for planning, condemned the walkout. He said the budget was beneficial to the whole country.

Addressing journalists later, Latigo said: “We have given the NRM the space they need. They can use the numbers they have and let the Ugandan public see.”

He said the opposition wanted sh3.5b of the amount allocated to Kampala International University to be given to Mbarara University and the patriotism money be used to pay teachers.

“Patriotism money is about the 2011 elections,” Latigo asserted.

Aruu MP Odonga Otto (FDC) said he had been instructed by Latigo to sue the Government over the matter.

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