Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda’s Police chief Gen. Kale Kayihura has vowed that his officers will ensure proceedings in parliament are not interrupted when the constitution amendment bill 2017 comes up for its second reading today.
“We support the Parliament and there must be order at Parliament. We have security and we must ensure that there is smooth proceedings. We have done that before and we shall continue to do the same,” Kayihura said on NBS TV.
Last week, police deployed heavily in and around parliament as the much-awaited second reading of the Constitution Amendment Bill 2017, dubbed the “Age Limit bill”, was expected.
It was not until Thursday that Kadaga brought an end days of speculation that started after the house resumed on Monday.
” I have received the report of the Legal Committee on the Constitution Amendment Bill. I also received the minority report,” Kadaga said on Thursday. “So am putting you on notice that we shall meet on Monday, 18th Dec 2017 at 9am to conduct that business.”
There has been tension in and out of parliment in the past week, with proponents and opponents of the bill that seeks to among other things lift the age limit on the presidency defending their positions, and meeting to strategize.
Police and “sister agencies” have reportedly been on high alert, with security officials reaffirming they are prepared to ensure business is conducted at parliament without a hitch. The first attempts to table the bill in September were resisted by the opposition MPs, with September 27 now recalled for a showdown between security personel and MPs on the floor of parliament.
“We are aware of the opposition’s plan to stage violent activities around parliament,” said Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander Frank Mwesigwa last week, warning that they have intelligence reports of plans to burn petrol stations and cause chaos in the city over the age limit debate.
“Police are working with sister security agencies to counter this and allow democratic processes to take place,” he said.
The majority report by the committee chaired by Jacob Oboth Both (West Budama) is now set to be tabled and debated before voting on the bill. So is the minority report
“We have signed our report dissenting from the majority report. The reasons therein are very clear and will be known when it’s presented on the floor of Parliament but using our established means, we believe the people of Uganda are 100% behind us,” said Wilfred Nuwagaba, one of eight members on the committee opposing the lifting of the age limit.
The bill proposes several changes, including lifting the age limit of 75 on the presidency, a move seen as a significant step towards securing a free run for President Yoweri Museveni to seek re-election in 2021.