Age Limit: Speaker suspends 25 MPs from Parliament

Age Limit: Speaker suspends 25 MPs from Parliament
Ugandan opposition lawmakers fight with plain-clothes security personnel in the parliament while protesting a proposed age limit amendment bill debate to change the constitution for the extension of the president's rule, in Kampala, Uganda September 27, 2017. Courtesy Photo.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga on Wednesday 27th, suspended 25 members of Parliament for instigating chaos which led to the suspension of the house on Tuesday.

Those suspended include Allan Sewanyana, Monica Amoding, Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi, Nathan Nandala Mafabi, Betty Nambooze, Mohammad Nsereko, Mubarak Munyagwa, Dr Sam Lyomoki, Barnabas Tinkasimire, Francis Zaake, Gilbert Olanya, Ojur Jonathan, Moses Kasibante, Ibrahim Kasozi, Angelline Osegge and William Nzoghu.

Others are Roland Mugume, Muwanga Kivumbi, Wilfred Niwagaba, Joseph Sewungu, Mbwatekamwa Gaffa and John Baptist Nambetsye. Also suspended is Mukono North MP, also Water State Minister Ronald Kibuule, whose possession of a gun inside Parliament has been confirmed by the Speaker. It is this claim by opposition MPs yesterday that sparked off the first round of fights.

Members were seen hurling insults and trading punches at each other. Chairs initially placed in the corridors to accommodate independent MPs were used as tools in the fight. Others later blocked the presentation of a motion for the amendment of article 102 (b) of the constitution which seeks to lift the cap on the presidential age.

They sang the national anthem for more than five minutes and paralyzed parliamentary business leading to the premature adjournment. They are now suspended for the next three sittings of Parliament.

Kadaga announced the suspension shortly after starting today’s session saying that the MPs breached rule 74 of the rules of procedure of the Ugandan Parliament by conducting themselves in a manner unbecoming of legislators.

The rule requires all members to enter and leave the House with dignity. It prohibits them from crossing the floor of Parliament or move around unnecessarily. The same rule requires other MPs to be silent and not make unseemly interruptions while another MP is speaking. It in the same way requires a member to resume their seat as soon as they are done with their presentation in the house.

Parliamentary rules also bar MPs from entering parliament with camera’s, arms or any form of weapons, tape recorders, transistor radio.

“No member shall, without the consent of the Speaker, bring into the House anything other than papers, books, or other documents which are directly connected with the business of the House,” reads rule 74(f).

Kadaga later suspended proceedings for 30 minutes to allow those suspended to exit the house immediately. But the MPs refused to heed the Speaker’s order sparking chaos in parliament.

Over 40 plain clothed men believed to be members of the Special Forces Command (SFC) entered Parliament backed by police and are lifting MPs. Microphones were destroyed and benches turned upside down as security lifted the suspended MPs out of the chamber.