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UK, French Ministers Meet Opposition

By Vision Reporter

Added 23rd January 2002 03:00 AM

OPPOSITION politicians, Movement reformists and civil organisation leaders yesterday held closed-door talks with visiting British foreign secretary Jack Straw and French foreign minister Hurbert Vedrine on the fragile peace and democratisation process in

OPPOSITION politicians, Movement reformists and civil organisation leaders yesterday held closed-door talks with visiting British foreign secretary Jack Straw and French foreign minister Hurbert Vedrine on the fragile peace and democratisation process in

OPPOSITION politicians, Movement reformists and civil organisation leaders yesterday held closed-door talks with visiting British foreign secretary Jack Straw and French foreign minister Hurbert Vedrine on the fragile peace and democratisation process in the region. Felix Osike reports that the meeting in the Masaba lounge, Sheraton Hotel was attended by 15 politicians and heads of civic organisations. The British High Commissioner, Tom Phillips, and the French Ambassador, Jean Pierre Thiant, were present. Among those who attended were the chairman of Uganda People’s Congress Presidential Policy Commission, James Rwanyarere, Democratic Party president Dr. Paul Ssemogerere and the National Democratic Party chairman, Chappa Karuhanga. Others were MPs Aggrey Awori, Winnie Byanyima and Geoffrey Ekanya. The chairperson of the Human Rights Commission, Margaret Sekaggya and the chairman of the Constitutional Review Commission, Prof. Frederick Ssempebwa, also attended. Other were the president of the Uganda Law Society, John Matovu, Prof. Frederick Jjuko of the Free Movement and Kibirige Mayanja of Justice Forum. All the 15 leaders were given time to air their views. UPC and DP gave written memoranda. Ssemogerere came out of the talks delighted. “It was a good gesture to meet with us. The ministers said they felt more educated about Uganda than they were before.” Sekaggya reportedly told the ministers that there was fear of a confrontation between the Movement government and those advocating for pluralism. She said article 29 of the constitution was in conflict with article 269 which restricts political party activities when the Movement system is in place. Article 29 guarantees freedom of speech, expression, assembly and association. She appealed to the ministers to impress upon the Uganda government to harmonise the laws. Ssempebwa reportedly told the ministers that failure by government to release the funds in time had hampered the work of the Commission. Awori appealed to the ministers to request their governments to stop the sale of military hardware to countries involved in the Congo conflict. He also called for an embargo on minerals exported by those countries. Ends

UK, French Ministers Meet Opposition

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