Deployment around parliament, city centre worries legislators

Tuesday September 19 2017
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Police trucks parked at parliament on Tuesday. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA

Members of Parliament have expressed concern over the deployment of military and regular policemen in the city centre and around the Parliament.

Military police have been stationed at City square with armoured vehicles and the precincts of Parliament on alert.
Although police have not issued a statement in relations to the heavy deployment of the forces in the strategic areas, several youth groups have been planning a demonstration in the city centre over the planned removal of the age-limit.

MPs under the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) caucus last week endorsed the lifting of the Presidential age-limit in what most say, it’s aimed at having President Museveni seek for another elective term in office after clocking 75 years.

Mr Museveni would be technically not qualify to run in the next presidential elections if Article 102(b) is not amended to lift the age limit for one to contest for presidency.

Article 102 (b) of the Constitution caps the presidential age at between 35 and 75 years. At least 271 members of the NRM caucus had appended their signatures to a document supporting a proposal to table a Bill in parliament to remove the age limit cap.


Police and military officers on a police truck down town Kampala. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA


Last Friday, the cabinet for the first time also endorsed a decision to have a private member, the Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi, to introduce a private member’s Bill.

A youth group, the Alternatives yesterday dispersed protesters dubbed ‘white angels’ to the streets in protest of the removal of the age-limit before they were rounded up by police.
Addressing a press conference last week, a section of NRM Members of Parliament stated that they would fight the age limit removal by "going to the gym" and "tearing the documents related to the Bill", forcing police to summon them for threatening violence and inciting the public.

The MPs condemned the deployment at Parliament, stating that as representatives of the people, they cannot sit down and watch the Constitution being robbed of its glory.
Mr Theodore Ssekikubo, the Lwemiyaga MP stated that Police has failed to protect Uganda from various forms of insecurities but works much towards stopping a just cause. He says as leaders, they are encouraged to fight more even in the intimidations.

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One of the youth activists on a police truck after being arrested for demonstrating against lifting of age-limit in Kampala on September 18, 2017. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA

Ms Monica Amoding, the Kumi Municipality MP noted with great concern the level of deployment. She says it is not good for Ugandans to be intimidated on a right cause. Amoding says all Ugandans should rise up and defend their constitution.

She says as far as it stands, Ugandans who are rejecting the lifting of the age limit are on the right path. Reading from the book of Jeremiah 1:17, Ms Amoding said they are not scared.

Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko states that Government is using its resources to suppress people who are fighting for the right cause. He says changing the Constitution to lift age limit is going overboard.
He says they will mobilise more Ugandans to fight the removal of age limit.

The Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson Emilian Kayima noted that the presence of police in Kampala is not peculiar. He says the MPs should not be intimidated and go about their business.
According to him, police can only come in when there is violence. Asked whether the deployment is in relation to the agelimit debate, Mr Kayima said it was not.

Four MPs, Muhammad Nsereko, Barnabas Tinkasimire, Allan Ssewanyana and Theodore Ssekikubo have been summoned by Police to answer to questions of inciting violence.