House resumes business after suspension of six Opposition MPs

Monday December 18 2017
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Speaker Rebecca Kadaga chairing plenary on December 18, 2017. PHOTO BY ALEX ESAGALA

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has adjourned the House to 10:00am tomorrow (Tuesday) for the age limit debate to resume after MPs complained about microphones not working well.

This came just minutes after MPs voted to suspend rule 201 to allow members to debate on the age limit bill report.

During the afternoon session, there were 386 MPs present out of the total number of 451 law makers.

Opposition MPs storm out of Parliament over suspension of colleagues

Monday December 18 2017


A section of Opposition MPs have stormed out of Parliament over suspension of six of their colleagues.
The suspended MPs are Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West), Ssemujju Nganda (Kira Municipality), Jonathan Odur (Erute South), Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality), Mubarak Munyagwa (Kawempe North) and Anthony Akol (Kilak North).

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I warned the six Opposition MPs before suspension- Speaker Kadaga

Monday December 18 2017


Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has refused to rescind her decision to suspend six Opposition MPs from Parliament amid pleas saying she warned them but they were adamant.
“I warned the suspended MPs but they were adamant. It is a pity that an officer (Leader of Opposition) of this Parliament is promoting disobedience in this House. The Members are suspended and they remain suspended," said Speaker Kadaga in response to a request by leader of opposition, Ms Winnie Kiiza to rescind her decision.

“May I request that you rescind this decision, call these members back and then suspend them officially during Plenary; if there is need," Ms Kiiza had said shortly after the House resumed business on Monday.
The suspended MPs are Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West), Ssemujju Nganda (Kira Municipality), Jonathan Odur (Erute South), Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality), Mubarak Munyagwa (Kawempe North) and Anthony Akol (Kilak North).

The group led by leader of Opposition, Ms Winnie Kizza on Monday stormed out in protest of Speaker Rebecca Kadaga's decision to suspend their colleagues.

This followed fruitless pleas from the leader of Opposition to the Speaker to rescind her decision and recall the suspended MPs.

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Age limit Bill: Details of Legal Committee report

Saturday December 16 2017

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Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs failed to reach consensus on the contentious proposal to amend Article 102(b) and remove age limits, prompting MPs to author two conflicting reports regarding the scrapping of age limits for presidential candidates.
Parliament will convene in a highly-anticipated sitting tomorrow morning to debate the two reports on the Constitutional Amendment Bill, with the main report supporting the removal of age limits, while the minority report is against the proposal.

A marathon of sittings will end with a vote on the Bill, with the government keen to dispose of the polarising Bill before Parliament breaks off for the Christmas recess at the end of the week.
Fifty three witnesses were interviewed by the committee.
Eight MPs supported the minority report, while 20 backed the main report.
Kumi Woman MP Monicah Amoding is the only NRM MP who voted against the main report.

Minority MPs
The authors of the minority report are Abdul Katuntu (FDC, Bugweri County), Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East), Medard Sseggona (DP, Busiro South) Mathias Mpuuga (DP, Masaka Municipality) Monicah Amoding (NRM, Kumi District), Mohammad Nsereko (Independent, Kampala Central ), Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda (FDC, Kira Municipality) and Ann Adeke Ebaju (National Youth).

“The minority members ore of the opinion that repealing Article l02(b) at the moment is very dangerous as it is being done for only one possible beneficiary, the current president. Constitutional amendments are never made for [one person] but for posterity, peace, order and governance,” recommends the minority report.
The main report recommends the removal of age limits on grounds that they are discriminatory.
“Article 102 (b) of the Constitution marginalises the youth and elderly by prohibiting them from offering their candidature in a presidential election, “recommends the main report.

The main report makes a trade-off, recommending that Article 105(b) be amended to re-introduce presidential term limits, which were controversially removed in 2005.
MPs of the Seventh Parliament pocketed Shs5m each to remove term limits and allow President Museveni to contest again even after he had completed his two five-year terms.
To remove terms limits, Mr Museveni made a trade-off by allowing the return of the multi-party dispensation, a system he had always been critical of.

If proposals of the main report, which is supported by 18 NRM MPs and two NRM-leading Independents, are passed, Mr Museveni will be the major beneficiary as he will be freed up to contest again in 2021.
The main report also proposes amending Article 105(1) to extend the president’s term of office, raising the prospect of Mr Museveni serving upto 2023 before he is subjected to an election.
“African countries generally have extended the term of office of the president to a minimum of seven and a maximum of 10 years,” the main report proposes.

The idea of increasing the term of office for the president gathered momentum when Parliament’s Legal Committee interviewed Mr Museveni at State House, Entebbe and he argued that the term of office should be increased from five to seven years, because “leaders in Africa have much more to do”.
Because Article 105(1) is entrenched and requires a referendum, the NRM caucus last week instituted a committee led by Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutuna to draw ideas on how the legal hurdles can be resolved.
“The Committee is agreeable to the proposed amendment but notes that it is a requirement in the Constitution for such a decision expanding the term of office of the president beyond five years to be subjected to a referendum of the people,” the main report recommends.

Background

Inside the reports
Minority report:
The minority reject the assertion by our majority brethren to the effect that Article 102(b) is discriminatory against people on account of old age within the meaning of Articles 21 and 32 of the Constitution. We agree with numerous stakeholders who distinguished discrimination from limitation or restriction.
Main report:

Amendments on Article 104
(2) A petition under clause (1) of this article shall be lodged in the Supreme Court registry within 15 days [currently 10 days] after the declaration of the election results.
(3) The Supreme Court shall inquire into and determine the petition expeditiously and shall declare its findings and reasons not later than 45 days [currently 30 day] from the date the petition is filed.
(6) Where an election is annulled, a fresh election shall be held within 60 days [currently 20] from the date of the annulment.

Amendment of Article 61 of the Constitution
Article 61 of the Constitution is amended by substituting for clause (2), the following-
(2) The Electoral Commission shall hold Presidential, General Parliamentary and Local Government council elections within the first thirty days of the last one hundred and seventy two days before the expiration of the term of Parliament.”

Article 104 (2) to expand the time within which an aggrieved candidate can file a petition from 10 to 15 days.
Article 104 (3) to expand the time within which the Supreme Court will inquire into and determine the petition from 30 to 45 days.
Article 104 (6) to expand the time within which a fresh election is held after the annulment of a presidential election from 20 to 60 days.
Recommendations on holding elections:

(a) The relatedness of clause (1) and (3) be taken into account in determining the timelines proposed in those clauses.
(b) In determining when presidential, general parliamentary and local council elections are held, regard should be given to the timelines prescribed in Article 103 and 104 of the Constitution and adequate time is provided in order for the processes provided for in those articles to be complied with before expiry of the term of the President.

(c) Presidential, general parliamentary and local council elections are held within the first 30 days of the last 169 days before the expiry of the term of office of the President.
(d) The determinant of when presidential, general parliamentary and Local Government Council elections are held is the term of Parliament rather than the presidential term which is prone to change.

sarinaitwe@ug.nationmedia.com

Ms Kiiza says they cannot put up with the level of intolerance in the House.

However, this could not stop other MPs, mostly from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) from continuing with business.

The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee Chairperson Jacob Oboth-Oboth is now reading their report on the proposed age limit removal to the House.

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Age limit: Speaker Kadaga suspends six MPs as House is adjourned

Monday December 18 2017


The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has suspended six Members of Parliament (MPs) from seven sittings of the House.

She accused them of misconduct.

The suspended MPs are Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West), Ssemujju Nganda (Kira Municipality), Jonathan Odur (Erute South), Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality), Mubarak Munyagwa (Kawempe North) and Anthony Akol (Kilak North).

“Don’t come back in the afternoon,” Ms Kadaga said just moments after adjourning the House to 2pm.

National Resistance Movement (NRM) MPs ululated following her directive whereas the Opposition MPs are coming to terms with what this means in terms of the Opposition’s numbers when the matter is put to a vote most probably by the end of this week.

This is Mr Odur's second suspension for the House's sittings in the course of three months.

When the House resumes in the afternoon, the chair of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs chair Jacob Oboth will continue presenting the committee’s report on the pros and cons of the Constitution Amendment Bill, 2017.

Of all the proposals in the bill, the one that has attracted attention is the proposal to repeal Article 102 (b) of the Constitution to expunge term limits for presidential candidates.

The opposition MPs were raising procedural concerns about the method it was done.

They say debate should be after at least three days of the tabling of a report.

On the other hand, Ms Kadaga said that the [Clerk’s office] had days earlier electronically mailed the report to the MPs.

She seemed to equate tabling with mailing.

At the start of today’s sitting, Ms Kadaga warned MPs that she would not hesitate to suspend MPs for misconduct.

However, some of the suspended MPs have vowed not to obey the Speaker’s order describing it as weird.
“I find the ruling of the Speaker weird. I find it weird that she first adjourns the House then she suspends us. If you have adjourned Parliament, you can’t suspend MPs. Of all things, the last thing she should have done is abrogate the Rules of Parliament. We are not going to give up,” he said.

Mr Ssemujju said: “Kadaga interprets rules like she did not go to a nursery school. Everything happening is criminality. You cannot suspend MPs from the corridors. She had no authority to suspend us.”

But in an interview with NTV shortly after the suspension, Information and Communications Technology minister Frank Tumwebaze: “We should applaud the Speaker. She was magnanimous. The rules allow any member to sit on more than one committee. Our rules give the Speaker power to enforce them. When people are suspended, they should not cry."

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Tension as Parliament debates age limit

Monday December 18 2017


Tension is running high in the House after opposition members allegedly sighted strangers in the Chambers.
The matter has been raised by the Leader of Opposition Winnie Kiiza.
The Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, however, insists that there is no stranger, but only her bodyguards.
"These are my people. Yes, they are my bodyguards, .... Don’t you want me to have security?" she asked.

Business came to a standstill for about 10 minutes as the matter was being probed further.
Ms Kiiza questioned why the Speaker is worried of her security right in the chambers.
"We are not here to harm you, Madam Speaker," said Ms Kiiza.

"But the security of everyone here is what is causing this concern, so we need to legislate in a free environment," she added.
The Rules Procedure of Parliament put all security in the hands of the sergeant at arms, and not private body guards.
Earlier, Kawempe South MP Mubarak Munyagwa raised fears that there are guns in the Chambers of Parliament.
He claimed that one of his colleagues, Kasanda South MP, Simeo Nsubuga had asked him to stay calm lest he faces the power of the gun.

"Hon Nsubuga has assured me that we are going to see more guns. I would like to get your guidance Madam Speaker," Said Munyagwa.
Similar allegations were raised on September 26, this year before the Age Bill was tabled.
Although the speaker dismissed the allegations then, just like today, she later confirmed that Mukono North MP Ronald Kibuule had smuggled a short riffle to the Chambers of Parliament with unclear intentions.

The Opposition lawmakers also raised concern over the composition of Parliament, characterised with the absence of the Attorney General and the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
The House is this morning sitting to consider a report on the Constitutional amendment Bill, 2017 on the Age Limit.

However, none of the line ministers is available.
Dokolo District Woman MP, Cecilia Ogwal, also a commissioner of Parliament says that the situation is worrying, especially as it deals with a constitutional matter.
Meanwhile, the Speaker has instructed the Minister and Attorney General to avail themselves. Lawmakers who disrupt today's business in the House will miss seven sittings as punishment, the Speaker said.

Parliament is convening to consider a report on the Constitution Amendment Bill, 2017 famously known as the age limit.
The Bill by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi seeks to repeal article 102 (b) of the Constitution to lift the presidential term limits

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Detained socialite Bryan White transferred to Nalufenya

Monday December 18 2017


Detained socialite Brian Kirumira aka Bryan White has been transferred from Kabalagala police division in Kampala to Nalufenya, a high profile police detention facility in Jinja District.
A source said Bryan White's transfer was ordered by Inspector General of Police Gen Kale Kayihura after he received reports that the gun he used to shoot his neighbour Victor Bitwire was not registered by any security agencies in Uganda.
Kampala Metropolitan police commander, Frank Mwesigwa, said the gun used in the crime is not marked and it is suspected to have been smuggled into the country.

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IGP Kayihura orders audit of all police guns

Friday December 15 2017

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The Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura has ordered for an audit of all police guns.
In his directive to the in charge of classified stores, Commissioner of Police Good Mwesigwa, Gen Kayihura says the full audit is to start with all police pistols.
He has also demanded for a full accountability of all police pistols and other firearms adding that a computerized register of all the guns be developed.

In a letter dated December 13, 2017, Gen Kayihura also authorised CP Mwesigwa to take criminal and disciplinary action against any officer reported to have lost or mishandled firearms.
CP Mwesigwa is expected to implement Gen Kayihura’s orders in one month.
"In addition, propose an effective system control of firearm. Further, I authorise you to take criminal/disciplinary action to whoever has lost/mishandled firearms. I give you one month," reads part of Gen Kayihura's letter.

Gen Kayihura’s orders were issued on the same day city Socialite Brian Kirumira, popularly known as Bryan White was arrested for allegedly shooting one of his neighbours using a police pistol.
Police said on Friday that White is likely to spend the weekend in police custody after he was denied bond.

Kampala metropolitan acting police spokesman, Luke Owoyesigyire, said police shall not release White until Mr Victor Bitwire, whom he shot on Wednesday regains consciousness and explains to police what transpired in the wee hours of the fateful day.

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Socialite Bryan White arrested for shooting

Wednesday December 13 2017

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Socialite Brian Kirumira, popularly known as Bryan White, has been arrested for allegedly shooting a man identified as Victor Bitwire.

Kampala Metropolitan police spokesman, Luke Owoyesigyire, said Kirumira is being detained at Kabalagala police division headquarters as investigations continue.

Read: Socialite Bryan White arrested for shooting

"We checked the gun and it had no marks. It does not belong to any security group. We have now arrested a person whom we suspect to have helped him to get the gun so that we can know the source," Mr Mwesigwa said.
Following the shooting, the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura ordered for an audit of all police guns.
In his directive to the in charge of classified stores, Commissioner of Police Good Mwesigwa, Gen Kayihura said the full audit was to start with all police pistols.

He also demanded for a full accountability of all police pistols and other firearms adding that a computerized register of all the guns be developed.
In a letter dated December 13, 2017, Gen Kayihura also authorised CP Mwesigwa to take criminal and disciplinary action against any officer reported to have lost or mishandled firearms.
CP Mwesigwa is expected to implement Gen Kayihura’s orders in one month.


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