Hilary Onek, the outgoing Internal Affairs minister has extended the Amnesty act for two more years. The Amnesty Act expired on May 24th 2013. In a document seen by URN, Onek invoked Statutory Instrument number 35 of 2012 and gave the Amnesty Act Statutory Instrument 2013 a lease of life up to the 25th day of May, 2015. This now means that part two of the Act that provides blanket amnesty to all former rebels who surrender to government continues in force.
Simon Mulongo, the Bubulo East MP and Member of Parliament’s Defense committee says there was no need for the instrument to elapse the in the first place but for the Minister to provide guidelines on the way forward. He notes that there are 500 former rebels who are facing uncertainty and insecurity ever since they denounced rebellion. Mulongo argues that the extension is the most costs effective way of ending rebellion especially for those who were not sure of their fate once they denounce rebellions.
He believes the extension is an achievement for both the government and rebels. Kaps Hassan Fungaroo, the shadow defense minister argues that government benefits more from renewing the amnesty act. Fungaroo explains that disorganizing the amnesty act by removing part two of the act was going to hurt the government more. He says any attempts to close the attractive part of the act would work in the interests of the rebel leaders because it would discourage them from defecting.
He says Uganda is still moving on a delicate road of peace, security and democracy. Fungaroo states that there are many things happening in the government domain which can encourage the use of violence to express dissatisfaction. He cites fraudulent polls, intolerance to press freedom and the rampant corruption.
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Fungaroo suggests that the Amnesty should be open as long as there is a rebellion in the country because the act works in favor of government.