By Joyce Namutebi and Moses Mulondo
Concerned by the recent execution of two Ugandan men in China, Parliament has tasked government to explain why they are not implementing the Transfer of Convicted Offenders Act, which, law they themselves initiated.
“We want to know what has happened to that law. The Minister of justice has power to apply that law outside the Commonwealth,” the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga said in her communication to the House Tuesday.
Two Ugandans; Omer Ddamulira and Ham Andrew Ngobi were executed by Chinese authorities in the city of Guangzhou in China in June. Their crime was carrying cocaine, reports said.
Kadaga said, “I call upon government to come and explain why they have not implemented that law, which they themselves brought to Parliament.”
The Transfer of Convicted Offenders Act, 2012 provides for the mutual transfer of convicted offenders between Uganda and other Commonwealth countries for the purpose of serving their sentences of imprisonment.
It also provides for the conditions, treatment and other arrangements in respect of persons liable to be transferred in accordance with the Act and to empower the Minister of Justice in appropriate cases to extend the provisions of this Act to countries not in the Commonwealth.
Justice and constitutional affairs minister, Kahinda Otafiire told journalists on Monday that china acted within its laws as a sovereign state to execute the drug traffickers.
He said that as long as Ugandans go to china or to any other state, the laws of that state are applicable to them regardless of status.
Kadaga said many countries have arrangements for transfer of offenders citing Swaziland, Malawi and others Others, she said, enter into transfer arrangements with other African countries while others sign bilateral arrangements.
At the time the speaker raised the matter, only state minister for Environment, Flavia Nabugere was present.
When the matter of executions surfaced, foreign affairs Permanent Secretary, Ambassador James Mugume said: “We appealed to the government of China after getting information about their fate. Unfortunately we were informed that the Chinese Government couldn’t overturn a court verdict.”
With little time left for the exercise of registration of citizens, the Speaker also directed the Minister of Internal affairs to explain how staff in Uganda’s missions abroad would be registered.
She also asked the same minister to bring a statement on the transfer of four policewomen from Parliament, two of who were expecting.
This followed a complaint by the chairperson of Uganda Women Parliamentary Association, Betti Amongi who informed the House about a police regulation barring female officers from getting pregnant within a certain period of service. “This is in total contradiction of Article 33 of the Constitution,” she said pleading with the Speaker to have the matter investigated.
Kadaga recalled that in the Seventh Parliament, the MPs had a battle over the UPDF Act, where, she said, a similar provision had been brought, but the law makers had it removed.
She also told the Minister of Tourism to explain to Parliament reports that Mweya Safari Lodge management has directed employees who are having children one year and above, staying at the lodge, to remove them. “That is also a violation of rights of women and children” she said.
Following complaints by several MPs about mistreatment of Ugandan businessmen in South Sudan, she tasked the Minister of Defence to produce a statement on security of Ugandans.
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Parliament angry over Tranfer of Convicted Offenders Act