Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT| Uganda’s Parliament has hailed Speaker Rebecca Kadaga for her wisdom and firm stand in handling the House this week.
A day after a brawl left many parts of the House damaged, State Minister for Urban development Isaac Musumba moved an Appreciation Motion thanking Kadaga for bringing order to parliament.
“Your leadership was put to a test, the day before yesterday and yesterday. You ably, gallantly and firmly navigated and steered the house in a manner that reflected your experience, skill, fairness and dedication,” Musumba said of Kadaga during Thursday’s plenary.
“You showed experience, neutrality and dedication and demonstrated tolerance and was patient.”
Tempers frayed for a second day Wednesday over a plan, backed by members of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party, to table a constitutional amendment doing away with age limits. Once passed, this will allow 73-year-old President Yoweri Museveni to run for a sixth consecutive term in 2021.
MPs brandished microphone stands, threw punches and clambered over benches as security officers sought to remove 25 lawmakers barred by Speaker Kadaga after engaging in another brawl on the same issue the day before.
Despite the disruption, MP Raphael Magyezi’s motion seeking to introduce a private member’s bill proposing the removal of age limits was passed with an overwhelming cry of “Aye!” from government MPs after leader of the parliamentary opposition, Winnie Kiiza of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), led a walk-out.
Rwamirama, Gen Tumwine thank Kadaga for putting foot down
State Minister for veterans Bright Rwamirama weighed in Thursday’s session, saying, “ I thank you for putting your foot down. No one can stop the state from functioning,” he said
“I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that some members are taking drugs. We must test people for drugs in this House,” Rwamirama added. (see full list of suspended members on page 2)
Army MP Gen. Elly Tumwine also supported the motion thanking the speaker for bringing order to the house.
“How can a single motion divide the whole country? We have dealt with bigger problems,” Tumwine said, adding that “I’m privileged to have been a part of this house for the last 31 years and I’ve never seen this happen.”
He defended the use of force to throw out the MPs. “People were asking why the Sergent brought other forces to the house but they had stretched their immunity beyond. Where does one stop being a honorable? yesterday I saw people degrade the flag, where does immunity end?”
“When we went to the bush we fought for people to have the right to speak their minds,” he said as he supported the motion.
The Appreciation Motion was passed overwhelmingly after two and a half hours of debate, and the MPs discussed other business on the Order Paper before the Speaker adjourned the house to next Tuesday.