An account of the brawl in Parliament against the #AgeLimit debate
Featured image courtesy of Reuters.
The #AgeLimit debate has been met with a number of hurdles, with the opposition vehemently opposing the tabling of the motion for three sittings.
On the fateful day, Parliament broke into chaos almost immediately after Speaker Rebecca Kadaga gave her usual communication before the start of the sitting. As anticipated, she suspended 24 MPs who had previously demonstrated the Constitution Amendment motion by MP Raphael Magyezi (Igara West) which seeks to among other things remove the Presidential age limit, within the chambers throwing the house into mayhem.
Some of the MPs suspended include; Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West), Monica Amoding, Dr Sam Lyomoki (Workers), Moses Kasibante (Rubaga North), Betty Nambooze (Mukono Municipality), Robert Kyagulanyi (Kyadondo East), Mutebi (Mityana Municipality), Mohammed Nsereko (Kampala Central), Anang Odur, William Nzohgu, Angelian Osegge, Gilbert Olanyah, Wilfred Niwagaba, Odonga Otto, Nandala Mafabi, Mubarak Munyangwa, John Baptist Nambeshe, Mbwatekamwa, Mugume, Sewungu, Tinkasiimire, Muwanga Kivumbi and Medard Ssegona.
In addition, Hon. Ronald Kibuule the Mukono North MP and the State Minister for Water and Environment was also suspended for endangering the lives of other members by entering the house with a fire arm. The Speaker attempted to exonerate Parliament’s Security when she said he had not used any of the official entrances and had come in through the President’s office gate.
Like the other MPs suspended, he will not be allowed into the precincts of Parliament for 3 sittings or attend any committee meetings.
However, before they were violently removed from the chambers, members of the opposition and the others opposed to the motion broke into the National Anthem. The Speaker then instructed the Sergeant at Arms to remove them forcefully and adjourned the house for 30 minutes although it took almost an hour for the house to resume.
Hither to that, Security operatives not known to many Parliamentarians, some believed to be from the Official Presidential guard (SFC) came into the chambers and began brutalizing members, women and men alike.
Some members opted to defend themselves with microphone stands, belts and shoes. Some of the unknown security personel could not differentiate between the MPs suspended and those not suspended but and were determined to take out prominent MPs opposed to the motion some not suspended but ejected were; MP Nabila Naggayi (Kampala Woman) MP Lutamaguzi (Nakaseke South) and MP Sempala Kigozi (Makindye Sabagabo Municipality).
An elderly MP, Hon. Charles Gutmoi was spotted in need of medical attention after he was held in a chokehold during the scufke to remove the suspended MPs.
Parliament security removed his tie and jacket in attempt to resuscitate him and later called the in-house doctor to examine him before being taken to hospital.
Parliament Journalists’ gadgets were also confiscated in an attempt to stifle the attempts of live reporting by several media houses. Some were threatened with violence and arrest if they insisted on capturing the dehumanizing scenes from the ejection exercise.
Calm soon followed and plenary resumed, the speaker told members present that after investigations whoever had destroyed Parliament property would be held liable.
Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Hon. Winnie Kizza rose on a matter of procedure but was shut down by the Speaker. Speaker Kadaga asked if she was questioning the authority of the speaker and told her to sit down. In protest, members opposed to the motion left the house in solidarity with those suspended.
Finally, the motion of Hon Raphael Magyezi was allowed on the floor of Parliament. MP Ruhunda asked the Speaker to reconsider her stance but his request was denied.
Subsequently, MP Magyezi and the seconders of the motion; MP Moses Balyeku, Doreen Amule and Jackson Karugaba were heard by the MPs present and the motion was passed with enthusiasm. However, the Speaker Kadaga cautioned Members to consider the sovereignty of the people of Uganda in their deliberations.
Following the absence of the Movers of the other motions on the order paper in the Chambers, The speaker adjourned the house.
A team of forensic experts were seen at parliament this morning assessing the chambers.