A meeting between Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, and a team from government was the final straw that broke the Opposition’s resistance to the passing of the Public Order Management Bill into law.
That meeting resulted in the switching of ‘Order Papers’ to include the Bill on the day’s agenda and yet some MPs had received order papers which did not include it as part of matters to be considered.
Another sign of the shape of things to come was the apparent violation of a House rule which requires that prior notification of changes to order of business be given to MPs well in advance.
But not even a mini-choir from the Opposition benches deterred Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah (who chaired the plenary) from ramming the Bill through the House, and suspending whoever tried to stand in his way.
“Honourable Members, I put the question that the Bill entitled the Public Order Management Bill do pass. May those in favour say aye, to the contrary nay,” he put the question.
Amidst Opposition calls of points of order and livid protests, the numerically far superior NRM side shouted ‘aye’. In less than two minutes, the Bill passed.
Immediately after, Mr Oulanyah handed Soroti Woman MP Angelina Osege a three-day suspension for “shouting the most” on the Opposition side. She brings the number of MPs the Bill has claimed to four.
The Bill requires a written note of planned meetings to be submitted to police a week in advance, and allows police to block or prevent a public meeting if they deem it a breach of the peace.