Red ribbons, whistles banned at Parliament of Uganda

Red Ribbons, Whistles Banned at Parliament of Uganda
MPs opposed to the lifting of the presidential age limit at Parliament of Uganda. Courtesy Photo.

Tempers are flaring at Parliament as opposition legislators wrestle with security officers over the usage of red headbands, ribbons and whistles

MPs are subjected to rigorous checks by officers manning the different entrances at parliament to ensure that none of them accesses the chambers with tools used for purposes of demonstration and causing chaos. Police are confiscating all red items held by any MP before they are allowed to go through the gates.

The headbands and ribbons were first used last week on Thursday as a symbolic protest tool by a team of legislators opposed to the planned amendment of article 102(b) of the constitution. It allegedly depicts the willingness to shed blood in attempts to block the motion and safeguard the constitution.

Some of those MPs whose ribbons have been confiscated despite the resistance are Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, Kilak South MP Gilbert Olanya, Makindye West MP Allan Ssewanyana and others.

But drama ensued when police officers attempted to stop Aruu South MP Samuel Odonga Otto from entering with a collection of headbands around his head and arms. Otto jumped over the security barricades forcing himself inside without going through the security checks. Officers tried to run after him but failed to get hold of him.

However, MPs opposed to the lifting of the presidential age limit continue to walk in clad in different shades of red.

Meanwhile, security within Parliament is tightened. This publication observed unusual checking of staff and other people entering the building with envelopes opened and police officers demanding to know their contents.

Sniffer dogs were seen taken around the building and inside the Chambers ahead of the presentation of the motion, which was entrusted to a private member, Raphael Magyezi.