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Three months after they launched on to the national political stage in August, members of an NRM-leaning pressure group; Kick Age Limitations Out of the Constitution (KALOC), have met President Museveni.

The president met the youths on October 1 at Serere district headquarters on the sidelines of a thanksgiving ceremony for Serere Woman MP Hellen Odoa and her Serere County counterpart Patrick Okabe.

Earlier on the same day, Museveni launched new drought-resistant crop varieties developed by the National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute, Serere.

According to sources familiar with the meeting, the president’s protocol officials had wanted photos of the meeting kept away from the public to conceal Museveni’s interest in the age removal bill but some excited KALOC members posted them on their social media platforms.

President Museveni (seated) with members of Kick Age Limitations Out of the Constitution (KALOC) after the October 1 meeting in Serere PHOTO:COURTESY

The Observer has since learnt that the group’s meeting with Museveni was fixed by Usuk MP Peter Ogwang, one of the key promoters of the age limit removal bill.

The group, which met the president included Ibrahim Kitatta, the secretary general of the National Youth Council; Kassim Kamugisha, the Kabale NRM youth league chairman; Ismail Lesin from Luweero, Samuel Odong who doubles as NYC and NRM youth league publicity secretary; and Robert Anderson Burora from Wakiso.

The meeting lasted about 10 minutes. During the meeting, insiders say, the youths gave an update of their activities and told the president they had managed to change the narrative from the upper presidential age limit.

“Other leaders were focused on the upper age limit until we brought the lower limit into the picture as well as other laws like Article 183 (2)(b) of the Constitution, which sets the same limitations for aspiring LC-V chairpersons as in Article 102 (b),” Kitatta, the KALOC national coordinator, said.

He declined to delve into details of their meeting with Museveni but sources familiar with the meeting told The Observer that Museveni encouraged the youths to continue with their campaign.

He reportedly told the youths that their message resonates well with his campaign to get the country into a middle-income status. This was after the youths told him that their campaign is focusing on ideology, and not biology.

The youths argue that the age of leaders shouldn’t be used to determine their usefulness to society.

“The ideology of a person should be at the forefront of determining who should lead society,” the youths told Museveni.

KALOC youth attending an event earlier

The president reportedly promised to fix another meeting with the youths once he returns to Kampala after his radio campaigns in Eastern Uganda.

In the weeks that followed the formation of KALOC, which trumpets the importance of removing constitutional age limits for qualified presidential candidates, the group met high-profile NRM and government officials including Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda.

In a subsequent interview, Rugunda told The Observer that the KALOC youths are his comrades and said:
“I see nothing that provides a scientific or rational reason that somebody who is above 75 years cannot be president.”

Until October 1, President Museveni had carefully avoided to be associated with the ongoing campaign to scrap article 102 (b) from the Constitution, which caps the upper age for a presidential candidate at 75 years.

Without its amendment, the article automatically disqualifies Museveni from the 2021 presidential race because by then, he will have clocked 77 years of age way beyond the constitutional limit. So, by all intents and purposes, the push for the removal of age limits is widely seen to benefit President Museveni.

RED RIBBONS

Appearing on the Soroti-based Etop FM later that evening, Museveni harshly criticized the opposition-led red ribbon campaign against the scrapping of the constitutional age limits for presidential candidates.

“We cannot allow anyone to block our legal way...Uganda has solved bigger problems like the Karimojong cattle rustlers, Joseph Kony and his LRA rebels and the ADF, we cannot be bogged down by people wearing red ribbons,” Museveni said.

The red ribbons were banned by Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga last week as she suspended 25 MPs leading to a fight between opposition MPs and plain-clothes Special Forces Command (SFC) soldiers who stormed the Parliamentary chamber and evicted the lawmakers.

The fight and eviction of MPs has drawn fierce criticism for  Kadaga from within and outside parliament. A group of 35 MPs under the Parliamentary Forum on Constitutional Supremacy have since petitioned the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to investigate the violation of the rights of Ugandan MPs.

“We demand that Kadaga apologizes to Ugandans for colluding with the military to unleash terror on some MPs and for abdicating her cardinal role of protecting and defending the sanctity of parliament in bending over to pressure from the executive,”  Aswa MP Reagan Okumu told journalists on Tuesday.

sadabkk@observer.ug

2 weeks 2 days ago

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Mike Chibita has sanctioned the files of 13 MPs who were thrown out of Parliament on the Speaker’s order during the chaos that marred the House last Wednesday.
The DPP slapped charges of threatening violence and assault of police officers on the MPs.

Mr Vincent Ssekate, the spokesman of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, confirmed the sanctioning of the files.
"True the files have been sanctioned. Now it is our duty to take them to court," Mr Ssekate told this reporter.
It is alleged that the MPs assaulted two police officers attached to the office of sergeant-at-arms during the September 27 fracas in the chambers Parliament following their suspension by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.

The MPs are opposed to the amendment of Article 102b of the Constitution to remove presidential age limit of 75.
This comes after the MPs refused to appear at CID last week prompting police to cancel their police bonds.
The group was arrested on that day shortly after they were bundled out of Parliament by plain-clothed security officers and later charged with inciting violence and assaulting police officers.

They are: Nathan Nandala Mafabi (Budadiri West), Jonathan Odur (Erute South), Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka Municipality), Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality), Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central) and William Nzoghu (Busongora North).
Others are: Barnabas Tinkasimire (Buyaga County), Robert Kyagulanyi (Kyadondo East), Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyiga County) and Joy Atim (Lira District Woman MP).

2 weeks 2 days ago

Kampala. Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga is expected before City Hall Court this morning to answer to criminal summons in connection with urinating in a public.

MP Abiriga, who has lately been in the news for being an ardent supporter of the proposal to lift presidential age limit from the Constitution and for dressing in bright yellow, the NRM party colour, promised to show up in court without fail.
According to Section 27 of the Local Governments (Kampala City Council) Maintenance of the Law and Order Ordinance, 2006; Abiriga on conviction, faces a fine not exceeding two currency points (about Shs40,000) or imprisonment not exceeding two months or both punishments.

“Any person who contravenes any of the provisions of this Ordinance or of any requirement or instruction lawfully made or issued under this Ordinance or of any of the conditions of a licence, permit or authorisation issued under it commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two currency points or to imprisonment not exceeding two months or both,” reads in part the law.
About a week ago, prosecution at City Hall Court summoned the legislator to appear in court today for allegedly being a nuisance when he urinated on the perimeter wall fence of the Finance ministry.

The lawmaker has admitted in a televised interview to have stopped and eased himself since he was badly off.
“I was badly off. Should I have kept urine on myself? What is the problem with that?” Mr Abiriga said.
His confession came after several pictures of him urinating on the roadside went viral on social media platforms. The charges will today be read to him and he will be asked to plead to them.
Should he plead guilty, the prosecution will read out the summary of what transpired while committing the offence and thereafter; court passes a sentence against him.

On the contrary, should the MP deny the charges, he may be released on bail or be remanded to prison. If that is the position, court will then give the prosecution time to conclude its investigations and have the matter go on trial before a final judgment can be passed.

2 weeks 2 days ago

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has dismissed claims that she had a hand in the recent raid of Parliament by presidential guards.

Last week, on Wednesday, officers from the Special Forces Command (SFC), stormed Parliament and brutally evicted MPs opposed to lifting of the presidential age limit, and had defied the speaker's orders to vacate the House.

Kadaga suspended the 25 MPs including junior Water minister Ronald Kibuule for causing chaos during plenary the previous day on September 26. Kibuule had entered the chambers with a firearm which sparked off the first fistfight on Tuesday.

Within 3 minutes, after suspending the House for 30 minutes and ordering the Sergeant-At-Arms to evict the MPs, security officers from the SFC, who, had all along been at the back of the speaker's chair monitoring proceedings, stormed the chambers to evict the MPs.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga

Several sections of the society including the academia and some legislators have faulted the speaker for flouting the House rules when she allegedly allowed into the chambers the presidential guards.

“I did not invite any security organ to Parliament and did not command any security organ to take any action in Parliament. I am surprised that me, a civilian, is being accused of commanding security agents. I don’t know how a civilian can command. It just shows you how empty their thinking is,” a visibly angry Kadaga said.

Kadaga further told the legislators today that she was not even aware of the presence of other security organs in Parliament other than the parliamentary police and only learnt about their presence from media reports.

During a press conference organized by the newly constituted Parliamentary Forum on Constitutional Supremacy yesterday, Tuesday,  MP Reagan Okumu (Aswa) who led the group, accused Kadaga of conspiring and allowing the invasion of Parliament by the army.

The forum, in its statement signed by 33 MPs, expressed sadness over the what they called the broad daylight defilement of the sanctity and independence of Parliament by armed military personnel in an attempt to come up with a gun point constitutional amendment.

“We demand that the Speaker apologises to Ugandans for colluding with the military to unleash terror on some MPs and for abdicating her cardinal role of protecting and defending the sanctity of Parliament in bending over to pressure from the Executive arm of government,” Okumu said.

However, Kadaga said she will not apologise, noting that the suspended MPs had violated the rules.

“I will not apologise for applying the rules of procedure in the House. There was a clear breach of our rules and the conduct that you saw here brought this House into disrepute. And those outside who are trying to run Parliament from the streets should know that I am the custodian of the rules of procedure,” the speaker said.

She reminded the legislators of her role in defending the rights of legislators, citing her intervention in the protection of the four NRM 'rebel' MPs Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga), Barnabas Tinkansimire (Buyaga West), Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East) and Mohammad Nsereko (Kampala Central), whom she prevented from being booted from the House by their NRM party over violation of the party constitution.

“My record on the protection, rights and privileges of MPs is very clear. Let me remind you that in the 9th Parliament, I took issue with my party, the NRM and upheld the constitutional rights of MPs in this House and that protection became the protection of all members in this House. No party can now withdraw a member from this House and it was upheld by the Supreme court. So those who are running Parliament from the street can forget it,” Kadaga said.

Kadaga suspended 25 MPs for three sittings on September 27, for what she termed as breaching house rules a day earlier by fighting in the chambers. Their suspension followed a fight in the chamber sparked by claims that Kibuule had smuggled a firearm inside parliament and threatened Kira municipality MP and opposition chief whip Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda.

Government chief whip, Ruth Nankabirwa told the House that the event in the chambers was tantamount to an attempted failed coup and government cannot allow such lawlessness in Parliament.

“Parliament is an arm of government and government cannot sit back when it is being attacked and the speaker is being threatened so that she is diverted from doing her work. Government will always come in to protect all the institutions including Parliament. This message should go out there to inform people who think they will threaten this arm of government,” Nankabirwa said.

 

2 weeks 3 days ago

39 Members of Parliament are to face disciplinary action after their names were forwarded to the Parliament’s Rules, Privileges and Discipline committee as investigations into the fighting that broke out in the chambers last week kicks off.

However, missing from the submitted list, is, junior Water minister, also Mukono North MP, Ronald Kibuule. Kibuule was part of the 25 MPs suspended by Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga last week.

Kibuule was particularly suspended for carrying a firearm into the chambers, something that was raised by opposition legislators and later sparked off a brawl last week on Tuesday.

The MPs are accused of causing or being part of the chaos that transpired in Parliament last week

The list of legislators set for disciplinary action is contained in a report compiled by the Parliamentary Police Directorate and sent to the Speaker Kadaga.

The report signed by Paul Katto, Deputy Commandant CID Parliamentary police, states that on September 27, names of MPs who disrupted the House proceedings a day earlier, were read out and the Sergeant-At-Arms ordered to evict them, only for the MPs to defy him.

Katto said according to CCTV footage reviewed by the police, the 39 MPs took part in the chaos in the House that day (September 29).

The MPs include Francis Zaake (Mityana Municipality), Gershom Wambedde (Bunghoko South), Joseph Ssewungu (Kalungu West), Emmanuel Kigozi Ssempala (Makindye-Ssabagabo), Simon Oyet (Nwoya), Angelline Osege (Soroti Woman), Oguzu Lee (Maracha ), Jonathan Odur (Erute South), Odonga Otto (Aruu), Julius Ocen (Kapelebyong).

Also, William Nzoghu (Busongora North), Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East), Sam Lyomoki (Workers), Nandala Mafabi (Budadiri West), Betty Nambooze (Mukono Municipality), Francis Mwijukye (Buhweju), Mohammed Kivumbi (Butambala) and Harold Muhindo (Bukonzo East).

Others are;  Mohammad Nsereko (Kampala Central), Medard Ssegona (Busiro East), Jackson Mbaju (Busongora South), Matthias Mpuuga (Masaka Municipality), Poulson Lutamaguzzi (Nakaseke South), Latif Ssebagala (Kawempe North), Robert Kyagulanyi (Kyadondo East), Michael Kabaziguruka (Nakawa), Kato Lubwama (Rubaga South).

Moses Kasibante (Rubaga North), Gilbert Olanya (Kilak South), Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality), Andrew Aja Baryayanga (Kabale Municipality), Barnabas Tinkasimire (Buyaga West), Ariko Herbert (Soroti Municipality), Monica Amoding (Kumi Woman), Alioni Yorke (Aringa South), Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West), Lucy Akello (Aruu North), Judith Franca Akello (Agago), Charles Angiro (Erute North).

“The said MPs, together with other opposition MPs became rowdy and chaotic. Some started damaging some Parliament property i.e microphones. The chairs which were being thrown have been found intact,” Katto said in the letter.

Some of the offences the MPs are accused of doing include grabbing microphones to fight; jumping on the table and throwing chairs; stepping on the chairs and grabbing chairs to fight.

Clement Ongalo Obote, chairman of the Rules committee said the list sent by Police will be a guiding tool for the committee’s investigations. However it will conduct its independent investigations to ascertain which MPs were involved in the commotion.

“As of now, there is no pre-determined list of members who are supposed to appear before this committee. Our list is going to be determined from what we get when we look at the CCTV recordings of that day then the committee will decide. Any member of this House who is in breach of the rules on that day will be on our list. If we deem a certain member to have overstepped, the member will appear before the committee,” Obote said during a meeting convened today.

Kibale County MP, Richard Oseku questioned the absence of Kibuule on the list, saying his act of smuggling a gun into the chambers sparked off the fight.

“The first person to be named was the minister on allegations of entering with a gun. I am sure we don’t have the report or analysis of the footage to that affect so it wouldn’t be fair for us to proceed on the team when we don’t have anything in place about him,” Oseku opined.

However, Ongalo explained that the matter of Kibuule is not currently before the committee, adding that the Speaker made it clear that while the minister was named for smuggling a firearm into Parliament, he was suspended for three sittings.

“The issue of the minister at the moment isn’t before this committee and in my own opinion it need not be before the Committee. When you recall the speaker’s communication, the minister was shown by CCTV to have bypassed security and to have compromised the safety security of members for which he was suspended for three sittings,” Ongalo said.

Agago County MP, Prof. Ogenga Latigo was pensive about the committee's investigations, noting that the speaker could have quelled the situation by suspending the House proceedings instead.

“The rule advises the speaker to adjourn. The suspension of sitting comes second…That option was not exhausted, so it becomes difficult to pursue disciplinary action against members. Secondly, our rules of procedure provide for maximum tolerance of members, if you look at the rules of suspension,” Prof Latigo said.

eyotaru@gmail.com

2 weeks 3 days ago

Ahead of tomorrow’s World Teacher’s day celebrations, the education ministry has reemphasized the need to wholly ban corporal punishments in schools.

Speaking at Imperial Royale hotel yesterday, the ministry’s permanent secretary, Alex Kakooza, said teachers ought to create safe learning environments for learners at all times.

A teacher conducting lessons in a makeshift classroom

“Any school environment should be free from fear, trauma and anxiety because no child irrespective of gender and background should have the thought not going to school due to corporal punishments,” Kakooza said. “We condemn any violence and mental harassment on our children. Punishment is not an answer but discipline must be upheld in schools all the same.”

He added that the ministry is aware that teachers are challenged on how to discipline learners but alternatives to corporal punishment must be adopted.

According to Kakooza, teachers can instill discipline by mentoring, counseling, withdrawing rewards, rebuking or sanctioning learners without necessarily beating them.

His message comes as the teacher’s umbrella body Uganda National Teacher’s Union (Unatu) gears up for this year’s national celebrations taking place in Moroto district tomorrow (October 5).

The celebrations that will be presided over by the president will be held under the theme ‘Teaching in Freedom, Empowering teachers’.
On this day, teachers have, among others, called for decent working conditions, well-resourced and healthy environments in order to improve quality education.

Unatu general secretary James Tweheyo said this year’s celebrations are special as teachers will also commemorate 20 years of Universal Primary Education (UPE).

“Teachers of this country should be seen as heroes for shouldering burden of UPE. The challenges have been immense but they are now moving towards perfection,” Tweheyo said, urging government to recognise teachers in social dialogues.

He added that the use of unqualified teachers by low-cost private schools should also be henceforth stopped as they undermine the professional role of a teacher.

He, however, applauded government on the crackdown on at least 1,308 illegal private schools that were found with no qualified teachers, classrooms and licenses, among others.

“This was a very good gesture from the ministry of Education but it should not remain as a boardroom decision. Action must be taken within the given timeline of December 31, 2017 to have all substandard schools closed,” Tweheyo said.

Unatu also urged the ministry to have a one-stop center for management of teacher issues as is the case in Kenya with their Teaching Service Commission.

Kakooza said the ministry will soon commission construction of its permanent home in Kyambogo at an estimated $10m (Shs 36bn).

Currently, the education ministry rents premises for its two offices located on Embassy House near parliament and Legacy towers in Nakasero which Unatu finds inconveniencing for teachers.
nangonzi@observer.ug

2 weeks 3 days ago

Kampala- The management of the Law Development Centre (LDC) has finally agreed to open upcountry affiliated branches to teach the post graduate Bar course that produces lawyers.
Since its inception in 1969, the LDC, an educational institution for higher learning that offers various legal courses ranging from one month to one year and is located next to Makerere University in Kampala, is the only institution teaching the post-graduate diploma Bar course in legal practice.
The practice in Uganda is that without the post-graduate diploma from LDC, no lawyer is allowed to represent a litigant in court.

Previously, there had been fear to decentralise the LDC by opening branches country-wide on grounds that the process would lower the quality of lawyers produced.
“The LDC is considering decentralising and offering all its courses to the regional centres within Uganda. The rationale is to decongest the main campus in Kampala by establishing constituent colleges,” a statement released by LDC’s public relations officer Hamis Lukyamuzi, reads in part.
According to the LDC press statement, the institution is considering to open branches in western, eastern and northern regions.

About fears of lowering the quality of lawyers should the institution decentralise, the statement noted that quality control mechanisms will be put in place.

“Quality control measures will be put in place to ensure that students are exposed to the same training at different colleges,” LDC press statement stated.
In further clearing the fears of watering down the quality of the lawyers that might come along with the decentralisation, LDC said teaching and learning manuals that are used at the main campus will be the same to be used at the upcountry colleges.
Speaking to this newspaper by telephone yesterday, Mr Lukyamuzi said the decentralisation is expected to start during the academic year 2018/19.

When asked what criteria the institution will use to distribute students to the upcountry branches, he said they intend to use the random selection. He also said the institution may ask the students their preferred choice of campus to attend.

2 weeks 3 days ago

Opposition MPs stayed away from yesterday’s plenary sitting as ruling party members received the Constitution Amendment (No. 2) Bill 2017, which seeks to, among others, remove presidential age limits.

The left side of the House, usually reserved for the Opposition under a multi-party system, was empty.

A deafening silence and general air of gloom pervaded the House only days after unprecedented chaos erupted in the same chamber, pitting opposition MPs against some of their establishment colleagues and soldiers from the Special Forces Command (SFC).

Plenary session without opposition MPs

The fighting over two days eventually saw 25 MPs suspended for three sittings by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and violently dragged out of the chambers by presidential security.

The invasion of the chamber and arrest of MPs prompted Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Winnie Kiiza to announce that the entire opposition would sit out the three sittings in solidarity with their members.

As if capturing the anticlimactic turn to events from last week’s intensity, security was hardly visible yesterday – no visible sign of the military police, counter terror units or presidential guards who had roamed the galleries, haunted the corridors and walked the House precincts as the Raphael Magyezi motion was muscled through under Kadaga’s guidance.

This time, men dressed in regular police uniform sat inside the chambers as proceedings commenced.

At 3.30pm, Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi tabled the controversial bill for the first reading. He was seconded by about 10 MPs, including Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa (Kiboga Woman), Peter Ogwang (Usuk) and Moses Balyeku (Jinja West).

The bill was accompanied by the necessary certificate of financial implication, an endorsement from government to expend funds to implement the bill, once passed into law.

Also, once it sails through as expected – given the absolute majority the ruling NRM enjoys – this amendment shall make it possible for President Museveni, who turns 77 by the 2021 election, to rule for life after already clocking three and a half decades in power.

Contents

The bill, which Speaker Rebecca Kadaga then referred to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee, seeks to provide for the time within which to hold presidential, parliamentary and local government council elections under Article 61.

In clause 1 it proposes that the Electoral Commission shall hold presidential, parliamentary and local government council elections within the first 30 days of the last 120 days before the expiry of the term of office of the president.

The bit which has sparked countrywide outrage is in clause 2 of the bill. It seeks to amend Chapter 7 of the constitution, to repeal paragraph (b), which provides the 35 and 75-year lower and upper age caps for presidential candidates, respectively.

Raphael Magyezi presents his bill for first reading

Clause 3 of the bill seeks to amend Article 104 of the constitution to change the timelines for presidential election petitions in the Supreme court. In the amendments, such a petition under clause (1) of this article shall be lodged in the Supreme Court registry 15 days after the declaration of the election results.

Magyezi proposes that the Supreme court shall inquire into and determine the petition expeditiously and shall declare its findings and reasons no later than 45 days from the date the petition is filed.

Where an election is nullified, a fresh election shall be held within 60 days from the date of the annulment.

Under current provisions, the court has 30 days to hear a petition and also gives the electoral body the same period to organise fresh polls.

Article 183 is also up for amendment, with Magyezi proposing the repeal of paragraph (b) thereby removing the 35 and 75 age cap for district chairpersons.

“This seeks to comply with Article 1 of the Constitution, which gives the people of Uganda the absolute right to determine how they should be governed and articles 21 and 32 which prohibit any form of discrimination on the basis of age and other factors,” Magyezi said.

Kadaga asked the legal committee to hear all views from different stakeholders.

“I want to remind you that this matter touches Articles 1 and 2 of the Constitution and the people must be involved in this deliberation,” Kadaga said.

Under parliamentary rules, a bill, upon being referred to the committee for public hearings, shall be considered and a report tabled before the House within 45 days.

Wilfred Niwagaba, shadow attorney general, yesterday told The Observer in a phone interview that it is shameful that the NRM government has proceeded to amend the constitution against the will of the people.

“They brag that they have the numbers and have no shame to amend the constitution but this will catch up with them a few years from now. We are not sitting idle and will pose a legal challenge to this,” Niwagaba said.

2 weeks 4 days ago

The Special Forces Command didn’t deploy the plain clothes officers who forcibly dragged opposition MPs out of Parliament last week, an officer attached to the specialised military unit, which protects the president and his family, has said.

As of Monday, official sources at the Special Forces Command (SFC) were maintaining that they did not have anything to do with this shocking operation as a unit.

Sergeant-At-Arms seen in the background trying to refrain plain-clothed security officers from accessing the House

“It’s a misconception by the public. We didn’t deploy any of our officers in or anywhere near the parliament last week. We have SFCs (sic) attached to police and under the direct command of the Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura. So, it was the IGP’s appreciation to deploy them in parliament,” SFC spokesman Capt Jimmy Denis Omara, told The Observer on Monday.

Capt Omara said SFC personnel under Kayihura are like police officers attached to State House. The police chief has admitted to inviting sister agencies to assist him execute the raid, which he planned.

Omara, however, declined to say what his unit’s commanding officer, Col Don Nabasa, was doing at parliament before the unprecedented assault by these men dressed in suits.

The way the men viciously attacked MPs has attracted widespread condemnation. Parallels have also been drawn between last Wednesday’s invasion and the 1966-67 crisis in which the army surrounded parliament and intimidated MPs into rubber-stamping the ‘pigeon-hole constitution’ entrenching Apollo Milton Obote in power, and leading to the bloody upheavals, which have characterized Uganda’s politics since then.

Police spokesman Asan Kasingye on Monday told The Observer that no SFC officers are attached to the IGP.

“On that day, the IGP got information that there were going to be terror activities; chaos and noise in parliament. And some people were intending to burn parliament,” he said.

“That is why the IGP gave instructions to parliamentary police, which worked together with other sister security agencies that were not armed and picked MPs on orders of the speaker to leave the house,” he said.

Kasingye then identified the sister security agencies as regular army, SFC, military police and others. The onslaught by these security agencies took place in the heat of protests against ruling party MP, Raphael Magyezi’s (Igara West), motion to amend Article 102(b) of the constitution.

If amended, this will remove presidential age limits, making it possible for President Museveni to rule Uganda for life after clocking 77 in 2021, which are two years more than the existing 75-year cap.

It all started as Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga suspended 25 MPs for allegedly breaching house rules a day earlier.

Their suspension followed a fight in the chamber sparked by claims that junior Water minister Ronald Kibuule had smuggled a gun inside parliament and threatened Kira municipality MP Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda.

Shadow Minister for Internal Affairs Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi has since said Kayihura and Nabasa were filmed walking into parliament from the neighbouring Office of the Prime Minister building.

He said the SFC soldiers were also caught on video walking in single file into parliament’s public gallery, wearing suits.

Interviewed for a comment, like his police colleague, Brig Richard Karemire, the UPDF spokesman, appeared to struggle to explain the incident. He first said Kayihura was in overall charge of the force at the parliament last Wednesday.

The brigadier then said that Nabasa was at the parliament because it’s within his mandate to deploy officers around parliament with key installations around there, including offices of the president, vice president, prime minister and others.

“If he [Nabaasa] was seen there in parliament on Wednesday, it was not out of the norm for him to be there, since he works near parliament and checks on officers deployed around parliament every day. Even if you go there now, you can find him there,” Karemire said.

Internal Affairs state minister Kania Obiga also talked in round-about fashion, saying if the police, UPDF or SFC deny deploying SFC personnel at parliament, it means they were not there.

“However, on Wednesday, I wasn’t in parliament and I can’t tell exactly whether they were SFC or UPDF in parliament. On Tuesday, I also entered the parliament late; so, I don’t know,” he said.

zurah@observer.ug

2 weeks 4 days ago

The Court of Appeal has nullified the election of Igara East Member of Parliament, Mr Andrew Martial, a supporter of the ruling National Resistance Movement, citing voter bribery and uttering defamatory statements.

Three justices including the Deputy Chief Justice Alponse Owiny-Dollo, Fredrick Engonda Ntende and Richard Buteera ordered the Electoral Commission to organise fresh elections to fill the vacant post.

The justices overturned the ruling of  Mbarara High Court judge, Mr Wilfred Nabisinde who  confirmed Mr Martial as the Igara East MP on grounds that the petitioner, Mr  Michael Mawanda had adduced no sufficient evidence to warrant a nullification of the election results.

However, after a careful perusal of evidence on record from the lower court, the three justices of the Court of Appeal said they were satisfied that there were irregularities in the voting, tallying and announcement of results  given the arithmetic variations  on the Results Declaration Forms which affected the outcome of the election in a substantial manner.

The justices also accepted Mr Mawanda's evidence against Mr Martial on bribery and defamation, hence cancelling his victory.

Mr Martial is one of the NRM MPs who are openly opposed to the planned scrapping of the age limit for presidential candidates from the Constitution.

His constituency, Igara East, in Bushenyi District, borders Igara West that is represented by Mr Raphael Magyezi, one of the architects of the scheme to scrap the age limit.

The court also ordered Mr Martial to pay Mr Mawanda, an NRM supporter who contested as Independent, costs of the petition.

 

2 weeks 4 days ago

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