The Opposition Democratic Party (DP) has refuted claims that they visited Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni at Entebbe Statehouse last week and asked him to release jailed Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) former presidential candidate Kizza Besigye.
President Museveni has the authority under the Prerogative of mercy as stipulated in the constitution of the Republic of Uganda to pardon any suspect or convict.
Last weekend, a section of the Opposition members led by DP Secretary General Mathias Nsubuga met president Museveni under the auspices of Interparty Organisation Dialogue (IPOD).
They among other things expressed their concern about the constant harassment of key opposition members, lack of electoral reforms among others.
On their return, they were quoted in the media as having asked president Museveni to free Dr Besigye who is incarcerated for treason at Luzira Prison. This attracted criticism from other opposition members especially from the FDC.
Besigye in particular said the opposition members who met Museveni had not consulted him about their intended negotiations for his freedom.
But the Kalungu West Member of parliament Joseph SSewungu, also a DP member said their mission at State House was not specifically to negotiate Dr Besigye’s freedom like it had been widely reported.
According to Ssewungu, Dr Besigye’s name was mentioned in the meeting merely as an example of opposition members who have suffered political harassment and persecution.
“I think Besigye was misinformed by some of his supporters and the media about our meeting with president Museveni. We did not go to Statehouse to negotiate his release like it has been reported. We were talking about harassment of opposition members and that’s how his name came in ,” said Ssewungu.
Other people mentioned in the meeting as victims of the said political harassment are FDC Chief Secretary for mobilisation, Ingrid Turinawe, Nakawa Division MP and deputy FDC Electoral Chairperson Michael Kabazigurka, among others.
According to Ssewungu, they had agreed to go with FDC Secretary General Nathan Nandala Mafabi but he changed his mind and instead asked Nsubuga to represent him in the meeting.
“We had agreed with Nandala but he changed his mind on the day we were going to meet Museveni at State House. He backstabbed us,” added Ssewungu.
But according to the Bugweri County MP Abdul Katuntu, IPOD no longer exits.
He said the constantly referred to IPOD has never achieved anything ever since it was formed in 2016 after the general elections.