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Opposition MPs Walk Out On Museveni Over Besigye

Two members of the Opposition in parliament on Tuesday stormed out of Serena Conference Centre in the middle of Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni’s speech during his State of the Nation Address.[1]

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Opposition MP of Makindye West Allan Ssewanyana (Democratic Party) and Kawempe South MP Mubarak Munyagwa (Forum for Democratic Change) walked out just after Mr Museveni said that all Ugandans are intelligent and are able to tell what is good and what is bad if “you are able to show it clearly”.[2]

Mr Museveni had started talking about illegal fishing on Ugandan lakes and rivers only to be interrupted by the Opposition Members of Parliament who started waving placards.

“Release Besigye… Release Besigye,” the placards read.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga was quick to spot the placards and called for order, asking the legislators to put them down. “Order honorable members……put down your placards,” Ms Kadaga implored amid murmurs.[3]

Museveni ignored them and continued speaking, “.…then there is the shame of illegal fishing. In 1986, there was not a single fish-processing factory on Lake Victoria or anywhere in Uganda.[5] I built the first one with Italian support at Masese. By 1995, about 17 fish factories had sprung up employing over 1.3 million people in the value chain; by 2005, we were exporting 36,615 tonnes valued at US$ 143.6 million per annum.[7] Once it was realized that there was money in fishing, all parasites descended on our Lakes and started fishing out all the young fish. The fish in the Lakes is now depleted. The anti-illegal fishing officers became the fish poachers.”[4]

Mr Museveni said illegal fishing in Uganda has led to reduced fish stocks in the Lakes and rivers.[6]
“Out of the 21 fish processing factories, 12 have closed. The others are limping on, operating at less than 30 per cent capacity and only earning US$ 96 million per annum.”[8]

He said, “This shame will not be allowed to continue. First of all, I am going to cause the registration of all the fishermen on the Lakes so that we know who is who.” According to Mr Museveni, anyone with a criminal record will not be allowed on Ugandan Lakes.[9]

“Secondly, I will buy surface radars that can watch the Lake surface all the way to the international borders with Tanzania, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. No illegal boats will operate on those Lakes,” he said.[10]

Source: Monitor

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Posted by Mubiru Frank, senior news reporter & Editor

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