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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Peace talks: Prof Ssempebwa calls for national dialogue, warns of dire consequences

Former Chairperson of the Constitutional Review Commission Prof Fredrick Ssempebwa says Ugandans should have an honest conversation on how to co-exist despite their political differences.

Prof Ssempebwa was a member of the 1995 Constitutional Commission that undertook efforts to draft Uganda’s 1995 Constitution.

He also chaired the Uganda Constitutional Review Commission that looked at the same legal document for purposes of making recommendations of changes in 2001.

According to the constitutional lawyer, Ugandans have remained calm despite the tense political and security atmosphere but they shouldn’t be taken for granted.

“The fact that Ugandans are peaceful should be appreciated because the consequences can be dire, but being peaceful doesn’t mean you aren’t aggrieved,” Prof Ssempebwa told NBS on February 25.

“The state of affairs is fragile, people are still asking questions, and the post-election occurrences haven’t helped the situation.”

He also saluted National Unity Platform (NUP) president Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine for shunning the violence path.

“This is what Kyagulanyi has said, his party is aggrieved, but they aren’t going to engage in any kind of violence.”

The professor think Uganda still has the chance to choose dialogue and avoid “dire consequences.’

“I think we have to sit together and discuss how we want to live together peacefully. A thorough discussion for all Ugandans.”

On Bobi Wine’s Supreme Court petition, Ssempebwa argued that “the anger against the court is misplaced” and “should be focused elsewhere.”

“For a long period, Kyagulanyi was under house arrest. Filing a petition within 15 days is in itself very restrictive. It wasn’t easy for the petitioner to come up with sufficient evidence for the court,” the professor submitted.

“The anger should be placed on the post-election politics where the petitioner was not free to move around and bring evidence that would have convinced the court.”

He urged government to carefully manage law enforcement; further telling Ugandans loss of trust in the judicial arm of government would complicate issues.

“I hope the country hasn’t lost confidence in the Judiciary. It will be very catastrophic,” noted Ssempebwa.

“I don’t see a Constitutional crisis arising. What can cause us problems is the failure to manage the forces that implement law and order. This was visible in the elections and is very common in Africa.”

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