Gen Elly Tumwine defends raid on Parliament of Uganda

Gen Elly Tumwine defends raid on Parliament of Uganda
General Elly Tumwine defended raid on Parliament while speaking in Thursday's afternoon plenary sitting. Courtesy Photo.

Army MP General Elly Tumwine has defended the forceful eviction of Members of Parliament who had been suspended by the Speaker on Wednesday. Gen Elly Tumwine says the MPs had abused their immunity by engaging in violence and criminality.

His statements came after the suspension of 25 MPs accused of disrupting parliament business in their quest to block the presentation of a motion to amend Article 102 (b) of the Constitution. The article puts a cap on the presidential age limit.

The suspension was followed by ugly scenes of fist fights between legislators, destruction of the public address system and chairs flying across the chamber. More than 40 plain clothed security personnel were accorded access to the chamber to eject the defiant MPs.

“How far does the immunity act provide for a member of parliament to break doors, property of parliament, threaten to kill a person? How far does the immunity go?,” Tumwine questioned.

The UPDF representative is the first army officer in parliament to speak out on the happenings. He was submitting to a motion in which National Resistance Movement (NRM) party MPs appreciated Kadaga for acting to stop the opposition MPs. Tumwine added that security forces cannot be stretched not to do their work because some people are privileged.

Tumwine who has been a member of parliament for the last 31 years attacked the suspended MPs for degrading and dehumanizing the flag of the nation which he described as a pride of the country for which they shed blood for.

He also asked how a single motion could cause chaos in the House even when the bill is not yet tabled.

“I have never experienced the Speaker being tested and stretched to the point you were. I had never experienced that even us of the security forces who are not always victims of excitement and provocation and mistakes of politicians are now victims and asked.. What did you fight for?,” he told Kadaga.

He pleaded to MPs that being honorable cannot be above the peace of the majority of the people and that their rights cannot be above the rights of all the peaceful people in the country who want to move ahead.