Don’t rule out activism in my operations – says new LOP Ssenyonyi
While receiving office as the new Leader of Opposition in Parliament Joel Ssenyonyi assured the country that his leadership is determined to effectively serve Ugandans without fear or favour by ensuring that he holds the government accountable.
Ssenyonyi said that as a leader, he will deploy different approaches while dealing with the ruling government in parliament to ensure that the interests of Ugandans are served.
Responding to a question on whether he will continue with the diplomatic approach used by his predecessor Mathias Mpuuga, Ssenyonyi said that he will employ the style of engagement depending on the situation.
He stressed that the public should not rule out other tools of engagement like activism, adding that where there is need for calmness and talking to those in government, he will do so but where there is need for a different style he will have to act accordingly.
Ssenyonyi vows to engage higher gear over missing persons.
On the matter of human rights and specifically the byrning question of missing persons and political prisoners, Ssenyonyi said he will continue with what Mpuuga had started but ready to engage a higher gear.
He pointed out that because Ugandans want Justice for the missing persons, his leadership is to continue demanding for an inquiry into the matters to avoid a repeat of the same in the near future.
“ the issues that we have been focusing on are not going to stop if anything we are going to engage a higher gear…by the time we broke off parliament had resolved that there should be a thorough inquiry into the question of missing persons and we are going to raise that reminder to parliament, Ssenyonyi
He added that if the issue of missing persons is left unresolved, it will send the message that the government will take it that it is a tactic, they can deploy again on people that oppose the regime.
Ssenyonyi who is also the Nakawa West Member of Parliament stressed the need to address the huge public debt incurred yet it does not commensurate with services delivered to Ugandans.
Do not disappoint Ugandans
New LOP challenged his colleagues on the Opposition side in Parliament not to disappoint the electorate.
Ssenyonyi said that the public has a lot of expectations from them, and they should be ready and committed to work together and be the people’s voice since the people have lost hope in the ruling government.
He also warned members of parliament on the opposition that they may face a lot of criticism from the public because the people have a lot of hope in them, stressing that such criticisms should be embraced as a vote of confidence.
Do not fear political challenges or even advise the members.
The outgoing LOP Mathias Mpuuga warned his successor of some difficult members of parliament to work with. Mpuuga categorized these in three groups including those that pretend to work, the lazy and the undecided ones.
He asked his successor to be aware of distractors who may even be from his team.
Mpuuga advises Ssenyonyi to always caucus with all the party whips on the opposition to have a common stand and also if he is to address challenges that may emerge.
He reminded him that they have a young party to build but also a country to serve. So you should not fear facing political challenges or even advise the members on your team, as some of them you may not fully understand where their political loyalty and allegiance is.
In response to a question in regard to the undecided politicians, Ssenyonyi confidently intimated that whereas some opposition MPs may be unreliable, this won’t divert his leadership.
He said that such politicians who may even want to join the ruling government will always be around, but the goal should be addressing the huge public debt, the injustice and ensuring service delivery to the people.
We want to take Power
On how he is planning to ensure that opposition members return to parliament after the 2026 general elections, Ssenyonyi said that their main concern is beyond returning to the positions they occupy now.
“We want to take political power, We want to continuously sample Ugandans and show them that we have got what it takes to lead this country,” Ssenyonyi
Some people in the past were in doubt but slowly and surely, they begin to realize that e these people have got what it takes, and we will continue to show that, that look we are a credible alternative and we have got what it takes, so besides us retaining our seats we want to take government we don’t want to be in opposition forever.