THE FULL STORY: MPs chant Uganda National anthem, force Kadaga to adjourn Parliament
Kampala, Uganda | GODFREY SSALI | Speaker Rebecca Kadaga was Tuesday forced to adjourn the afternoon sitting of parliament after members from the opposition blocked Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi from moving a motion that would lead to removing of the presidential age limit.
After failing to agree on the rules of procedure, several MPs stopped listening to calls for order from the speaker. They stood up and started singing the Uganda national anthem for more than 18 minutes, forcing Kadaga to bring the raucous session to a premature end.
“Order! Order! Order! House is adjourned to 2pm tomorrow,” said Kadaga, prompting wild cheers and ululations from those opposed to proposed constitutional ammendments, that include lifting the 75-year-old age limit.
The Order Paper
Like it was last Thursday, the house was packed, tension was high in and outside parliament despite the Order Paper indicating that the “Magyezi motion” was not on it.
“I have spent a bit of time trying to rationalize a number of requests for amending the constitution. For a long time we have been demanding that the government presents in this house, constitution amendments; it has not done so,” Kadaga explained.
“I am now constrained. So I think now that the government has failed, members should continue bringing the motions so that we do our part.”
Kadaga said therefore, three out of nine private member motions had been considered according to the parliamentary rules of procedure. She listed them as; The motion to institute a Constitutional Review Commission by Patrick Nsamba Oshabe (Kassanda North,NRM ); Motion to Lift the Age Limit out of the Constitution by Raphael Magyezi (Igara West,NRM) and Motion to craft a Transitional Management and Amnesty Bill by Dr.Sam Lyomoki (Workers’ Mp,NRM).
As soon as she was done, the leader of the opposition Winnie Kiiza (Kasese district) and shadow opposition minister of justice and constitutional affairs Lubega Medard Sseggona (Busiro East) argued that the MPs were ambushed with the “Age Limit” motion, contrary to a promise of the deputy speaker Jacob Oulanya who had during last Thursday’s session assured them that the motion would not come as a surprise.
The speaker explained she used her powers in the rules of procedure to amend the Order Paper. As soon as speaker Kadaga indicated it would be added for the day’s session, the drama started.
“Guns in parliament” as MPs fight
Several MPs said the day’s business could only start after their security was guaranteed. Led by Ssemujju Nganda, they claimed several security officials were in the house, and some MPs had guns.
The two opposing sides to the motion then broke into a fist fight with chairs flying at the centre of the house as it was further alleged that the State Minister for Water, Ronald Kibuule (Mukono North,NRM) had made it into the chambers with a gun.
Kibuule denied the allegation, while Nzoghu Musabe William (Busongora North,FDC) requested the speaker that all members be asked to get out of the chambers and they be checked.
The speaker declined to do this, and instead asked her Sergeant at Arms to establish that no member was armed in the house.
The fracas later continued as Kibuule wanted to go physical with Makindye East MP Allan Ssewanyana (DP) and the former was asked by the speaker to leave the chambers, while the opposition MPs continued chanting.