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Kampala- Bank of Uganda (BoU) yesterday took another big step towards revamping the country’s economic and private sector credit growth rate by reducing the Central Bank Rate (CBR) from 10 to 9.5 per cent.
This is the lowest CBR [policy] rate that BoU has decided on since it implemented its current monetary policy on July 4, 2011 that targets stabilisation of the market using short term interest rates.

While presenting the monetary policy statement for October, the central bank Governor, Mr Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, said: “Given that the annual inflation forecast is to remain around the medium-term target of 5 per cent and economic activity is slowly gaining momentum, a cautious easing of monetary policy is warranted to boost private sector credit growth and to strengthen the economic growth momentum.”
The latest quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data released by Uganda Bureau of Statistics at the end of September indicates Uganda’s economic growth rate recovered in the second half of Financial Year 2016/17 with quarterly growth rate of only 0.6 per cent and 1.1 per cent being recorded in the first two quarters of the 2016/17 fiscal year, mainly because of bad weather that affected the agricultural sector.
However, recent statistics show that the growth rates accelerated to 1.8 per cent and 1.9 per cent in the third and fourth quarters of the same financial year respectively.

Despite pick-up in economic growth in the last two quarters of 2016/17, the growth in the private sector credit remained sluggish in the same period.
The economy is being projected to grow at annual rate of 5.0 to 5.5 per cent in the Financial Year 2017/18, which, Mr Mutebile said is lower than estimates of potential GDP growth for Uganda.
In the medium term, the economic growth is being projected that it will accelerate to 6 or 6.5 per cent.

Mr Mutebile said the outlook continues to be supported by accommodative monetary policy, improvement in public management and an improvement in the global economy.
Giving insights on the inflation outlook, Mr Mutebile said BoU forecast indicates that inflation outlook remains unchanged since the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting in August 2017, with the annual core inflation forecast remaining within the target range of 5 per cent over the short term.
He said the upside risks to the inflation remains muted, with the exception of the possibility of higher food prices due to crop pests affecting the agricultural sector and severe rains in some parts of the country.

2 weeks 4 days ago

Kabula County Member of Parliament, James Kakooza, survived being lynched by mourners in Lyantonde who accused him of supporting the scrapping of the presidential age limit.

Kakooza was one of the mourners who turned up at Nakawanga village in Kisekka sub-county in Lwengo district for the burial of 76-year-old Vincent Nsamba, the father of Masaka municipality MP, Mathias Mpuuga.
 
No sooner had Kakooza arrived than the mourners jeered at him and asked him to leave immediately. The angry mourners told Kakooza he wasn't welcome to the funeral, since he is one of the enemies of Uganda for supporting the proposed amendment of 102 (b) of the Constitution, which caps the presidential age at 75 years. 

Some of the mourners at the funeral 

Some of the mourners started charging at the MP and threatened to lynch him unless he left the funeral. Sensing danger, Mpuuga beckoned Kakooza to move closer to his seat and assured him of his safety as mourners continued pointing accusing finger at the legislator.

This prompted the Buganda kingdom premier Charles Peter Mayiga who was the chief mourner to intervene. He asked the mourners to exercise restraint and pardon Kakooza, saying he would speak to him. However, the mourners continued threatening Kakooza forcing the funeral organisers to 'hide' him inside the family house. He was helped to leave the funeral by the Mayiga's personal security guards.
 
In his speech, Mayiga applauded the legislators who stood their grounds to protect the Constitution. Mayiga said he was very happy with MPs like Mpuuga who don't change their positions on key issues.

It is not yet clear why the mourners targeted Kakooza since there were other National Resistance Movement (NRM) party members at the funeral including; Christopher Kalemba, the Kakuuto MP and the Nsangi LC III chairperson, Hajj Abdul Kiyimba among others.
 
Emmanuel Kizito Muwonge, one of the mourners told URN that they singled out Kakooza because he has been at the forefront of promoting life presidency. Speaking at the same funeral, Dr Kizza Besigye, the former Forum for Democratic Change president called for civil disobedience.

He said it is time that those opposed to the life presidency and those in favor are known. Besigye said he is sure president; Yoweri Museveni will be defeated with the civil disobedience campaign, which is expected to start on Tuesday this week.
 
Rev Father George William Lubega of Kitovu Cathedral who led the mass, said Vincent Nsamba, a retired head teacher died a miserable man.

He explained that Nsamba who was opposed to lifting of age limit died before enjoying his pension. He also disclosed that Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala issued a circular asking the clergy in Catholic churches to use the pulpit to oppose the proposed scrapping of the presidential age limit.
 
According to Lubega, in his circular, Cardinal Wamala notes that those plotting for the removal of the age limit are committing treason.

2 weeks 6 days ago

With public anger against the proposal to scrap presidential age limits palpable, the government has warned opposition kingpin Dr Kizza Besigye not to incite people.

The four-time presidential candidate on Saturday announced a new phase of peaceful protest against the ruling party’s plans to grant President Museveni lifetime tenancy at State House.

Addressing media on Saturday at his Katonga road office in Kampala, Besigye challenged the elite, who are concerned about President Museveni’s mismanagement of the country, to take a stand.

Kizza Besigye has announced he will resume walk to work protests 

Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, Besigye said, they should “leave their cars at home and either walk, move on boda bodas or use public means as a form of protest”.

His call for mass action is being interpreted as ‘incitement to break the law’ by the government. Acting Information minister Dr Chris Baryomunsi told The Observer that the government will not look on as Dr Besigye incites the public.

“I thought Dr Kizza Besigye is represented in parliament by his FDC MPs, where this bill is going to be discussed. It will not be walk to work or any form of demonstration that will facilitate this amendment of the constitution,” Baryomunsi said on Saturday.

“The path available through law is the parliament process, which has started. If he is planning to break the law, then the state organs will restrain him from breaking the law. If he has any views to do with the proposals, which are being tabled in parliament, he should use his members of parliament to air those views,” he said.

“This bill will also be processed by a committee that will give all Ugandans the opportunity to submit their views. It is not the demonstration efforts that will feed into considerations of that bill. It is not necessary to incite people to use unlawful means to challenge this bill because it is following laid-down lawful procedures,” Baryomunsi said.

Under Uganda’s Constitution, peaceful demonstration is provided for as a legitimate form of political protest. However, during walk-to-work protests led by Besigye in 2011, police alongside assorted paramilitary militias, including the so-called Kiboko squad, brutally dispersed peaceful marchers.

Opposition leaders at the forefront of the protests were sealed off in their homes in what police called preventive custody, repeatedly arrested and banished to rural police outposts. As the protests intensified, police adopted a shoot-to-kill policy, which left scores either dead or injured.

With the death toll rising, human rights defenders, both here and abroad, launched a campaign against the blood-letting at the hands of Uganda’s police. The government soon found itself being targeted for condemnation by the international community.

Igara West Member of Parliament Raphael Magyezi is expected to table his private member’s bill that aims to scrap presidential age limits on Tuesday, the same day Besigye has chosen for the mass protest to begin.

“We want to know whether the elites are with us or with the oppressor…Therefore, we recommend that the elites dedicate one day of the week to move with the people … it will be good to see only public transport and not tinted private vehicles,” Besigye said.

Police spokesman Asan Kasingye declined to comment on Besigye’s call.

“I haven’t heard about it; when I do, I will comment,” Kasingye told The Observer on Saturday.
“In any case it will be a policy issue and I will first get guidance…” he said.

During walk-to-work protests, which kicked off in April 2011 following that year’s disputed presidential election, two-year-old Julian Abigail Nalwanga of Masaka was shot dead.

The child became an enduring symbol of that campaign organised by the banned civil rights group, Activists 4 Change.
Starting Tuesday, Besigye wants all Ugandans to wear red clothes and bandanas as symbols of resistance, as already being done by some MPs.

“Citizens should identify with the symbol of red that has emerged…I wasn’t part of it but I think it’s a meaningful symbol that symbolises the blood that this country has [shed],” Besigye said.

“It is a symbol to halt; stop, togikwatako, stop stealing from us. Stop brutalising our people. We would like to identify with and promote it,” Besigye said.

For the campaign to be successful, Besigye urged civic, cultural and religious leaders to stop sitting on the fence.
Separately, Besigye also condemned Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga for allowing soldiers to storm the House on Wednesday last week.

“The strongest condemnation is reserved for Speaker Rebecca Kadaga; she held a meeting with Museveni and accepted to become the hired gun. The Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Union should isolate her…,” Besigye said.

He called upon the international community to stop looking on as the NRM government abuses the rights of Ugandans. He said officials like Kadaga and others used by regime to harass Ugandans should be sanctioned and barred from travelling abroad.

2 weeks 6 days ago

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga continued to come under attack on social media going into the weekend with several posts saying her handling of the two chaotic parliamentary sessions last week brought the country’s image into disrepute.

Last week, parliament turned into a fighting arena with MPs hurling chairs and swinging microphone stands at soldiers from the presidential Special Forces Command, who stormed the chamber, and violently evicted them from the House.

On Thursday, Kadaga suspended 25 MPs opposed to the constitutional amendment motion, which begins the formal process of removing the presidential age limits – and is feared will open the door for President Museveni to rule for life.

The motion seeks to amend Article 102(b) of the Constitution, which caps the age for qualified presidential candidates at 75 years. Museveni will be 77 years old at the next election in 2021.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga presiding over a chaotic plenary

On social media, the widespread feeling was that the speaker could have handled the chaotic situation better, and that the “brutal and violent” attack on the MPs by soldiers was not necessary.

Many posters expressed their at times very disparaging views, under the Twitter hashtags #Togikwatako, #Kogikwatako, #AgeLimit, among others. A number of posts attacked the speaker at a very personal level, in language, which cannot be repeated here.  

“[I’m] very disappointed in you, Kadaga! I couldn’t expect that from you!” one Paul Zziwa, said on Twitter.
“Yes that’s how we are feeling. So hurt by the one we trusted so much but trust me, we all pay at one time,” Douglas Eli posted.

Fauza Mahmood recommended that: “Next time just send them a notice about your decision on their misconduct and on the next day, stop them at the entrance.”

Comedian Trevor Noah, whose online Daily Show is normally headlined by jokes around US president Donald Trump, also had a hilarious go at the dramatic events in Uganda’s parliament.

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), on the other hand, issued a notice to broadcast media houses barring them from hosting the suspended MPs on their platforms. This directive was quickly questioned on social media too.

“On what law are they based? What specific provisions of the law back them?” Peter Mwesige, the executive director, at African Centre for Media Excellence, wondered.

“Sow violence, you will reap violence. Sow impunity, you will reap impunity. Sow vengeance, you will reap vengeance. Weeds begets weeds,” Silver Kayondo, a lawyer, warned.

But Frank Tumwebaze, the minister for ICT, responded that: “Violent scenes and fights offend minimum broadcasting standards. UCC is obliged by law to enforce these standards and protect consumers.”

CSO’S TAKE

In a video uploaded by NTV, Uganda National NGO Forum executive director Richard Ssewakiryanga said: “We condemn the shameful, barbaric, primitive and evil might that was displayed. We condemn the brutal arrest of MPs and many activists, journalists and Ugandans that have expressed their dissent at the proposed amendment of Article 102 (b) of the constitution.”

He was flanked by the coordinator of the Citizens’  Coalition on Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU), Crispin Kaheru, who added: “What happened is that we saw the speaker of parliament surrendering her powers to people who I don’t know whether she knows or doesn’t know. They were strangers and hooligans because they were not identifiable.”

Moses Khisa, a columnist with The Observer, sarcastically encouraged Ugandans on his Facebook page to pray for their country following last week’s unprecedented incidents.

“Now we’re being exhorted to pray. But we pray every day. I do. General Museveni too, prays. He has a church in his home. One of the daughters is a pastor to boot!” he wrote.

“I don’t know another nation that beats Uganda at praying. So, dear faithful, don’t be diversionary. Thank you.”

2 weeks 6 days ago

ENTEBBE: The Inspector General of police Gen Kale Kayihura has said he is not ready to retire from active police service until when the country is peaceful.
“I will retire depending on whether there is peace in Uganda. I will not retire in Uganda as long as there are still some people disturbing us,” he said.

Gen Kayihura made the remarks at Nkumba University while addressing students from various institutions of learning under their umbrella body ‘Uganda National Students Association (UNSA).
This was at a meeting themed ‘crisis in the African society and solutions at micro level’. The meeting with UNSA was part of the ongoing community policing week.

“If you want me to retire, keep the peace which many people of Uganda, our grandfathers, fathers, mothers and brothers sacrificed for. Nobody should play around. If anybody is planning to burn the city, I’m still around,” Gen Kayihura said.

He noted that not being in government even after he retires from the UPDF will not mean he has quit government duty.
“Whether I’m in uniform or out of uniform, I won’t retire. I will volunteer and be a crime preventer. Actually, I may be more effective as a crime preventer than in this uniform,” he added.
Gen Kayihura said he decided to work with the community because he noticed a weak link between the police and people.

“These incidents that have happened have made me focus since June on connecting and getting involved with the community, both by hunting the criminals, putting measures to protect the community and bring an end to this,” he said.
He further denied knowledge of the stick wielding men that allegedly work with police to brutalize people, especially during demonstrations.

“Is Tandeka a police officer? I don’t him as a police officer. He may be deploying himself. I have to find out who he is. Frankly you have to ask Kampala metropolitan commander,” he said.
Dan Tandeka is a crime preventer who was banned by police for beating former presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye’s supporters. He was also part of the security team that ejected suspended MPs from the House last Wednesday.

Mr Julius Bukyana the Nkumba University guild president told this reporter that they welcomed the IGP’s initiative to intervene in the security issues of Katabi Town council.
“With Gen Kayihura being present here we hope it will bring an end to the women killings in our area,” he said.

2 weeks 6 days ago

Punches, flying chairs and shouting dominated yesterday’s plenary sitting at Parliament as the ruling NRM unsuccessfully tried to muscle through its draft bill to amend Article 102(b) and remove the upper presidential age limit.

The motion was not tabled. Instead, possibly for the first time in its colourful history, the Ugandan parliament saw a brawl; an actual physical fracas breaking out between MPs.

A brawl broke out in parliament yesterday

The ugly scenes heralded an announcement by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga that together with two other motions proposing the establishment of a Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), and one on peaceful, democratic transition, restoration of presidential term limits and immunities for the president, the controversial age limit proposal will be considered.

Shortly after 4pm when chaos reigned, Speaker Kadaga changed tact and introduced other business on the order paper. MPs considered a report on the oil sector tabled by Energy minister Irene Muloni.

Earlier in the day, Parliament buildings were buzzing with the expectation of mischief. Police had taken the unusual precaution of frisking MPs for red bandanas and whistles, the protest tools.  

MPs were involved in a fist fight for several minutes 

Last Thursday, whistles smuggled into the chamber contributed rather dramatically to the chaos, which forced an abandonment of proceedings.

These extreme measures inevitably provoked clashes. The member for Aruu South, Odonga Otto, literally fought his way through a bevy of security people who tried to stop him.  

Otto’s brush with the law was, however, nothing compared to the commotion which would later unfold. For long minutes, Speaker Kadaga sat transfixed, as if stunned.

Makindye West MP Allan Ssewanyana and State Minister for Water Ronald Kibuule (Mukono North) saw the red mist first. Within a flash, the open space separating the government and opposition benches was jammed with MPs.

Members went for each other. Jackets were pulled, shoes flew off as bodies twisted this way and that way and arms flailed, looking for jaws to crack.

Outside the chamber, counter-terrorism police and what was said to be plain-clothes elements from the Special Forces Command, the elite unit which guards President Museveni and his family, paced frantically. It all began about 40 minutes into the fully packed plenary sitting.

Presidential guards were seen at parliament

William Nzoghu (Busongora North) rose on a point of procedure and said that guns had been carried in, contrary to House rules, which forbid firearms in the chamber.

“Some members here are actually not safe because some guns have been sneaked into this House. For the safety of the members, I would like you [Speaker] to ask us to get out and we are checked one by one because in that seat ,Hon Speaker, where you are, you are not safe,” Nzoghu pleaded.

As Kadaga hesitated, Medard Sseggona (Busiro East) reminded her that safety of MPs is paramount and all MPs should be thoroughly searched. There was much finger-pointing in the ensuing cacophony.

Kibuule found himself being accused of being the gun-slinging culprit. Despite vigorous protestations of innocence, the junior minister was given marching orders to leave the chambers.

Sergeant-At-Arms Ahmed Kagoye took position next to the mace, the Speaker’s symbol of power, throughout the ruckus. Kibuule seemed to be moving out, stopped midway and pulled off his coat, daring the opposition MPs to check him.

Parliament was chaotic

Sources within the chambers allege that Kibuule surreptitiously slipped the gun into a pocket of the coat which he passed to Johnson Muyanja Ssenyonga (Mukono South), who then handed it to Peter Ogwang (Usuk).

Kadaga repeatedly called for calm, asking members to resume their seats but they were having none of it. When Energy Minister Irene Muloni stood up to make a statement on the status of preparedness of the oil and gas sector, Ssewanyana tried to distract her.

Kibuule moved to drag Ssewanyana away from the podium, sparking a fight. Many MPs including Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga) shot up from their seats to separate the two.

“We want the guns … we want guns,” MPs chanted.  

Before the dust from the Kibuule-Ssewanyana fisticuffs had settled, another one broke out between  Nathan Nandala-Mafabi (Budadiri West) and Geoffrey Dhamuzungu (Budiope East). In the melee, Mafabi and Dhamuzungu went for each other’s necks, attracting NRM MPs Pius Wakabi (Bugahya) and Bonny Desales (Kole North) to hurl chairs at Ssewanyana.

Ssewanyana also picked a chair and tried to hit them but instead struck Ssekikubo. One of the UPDF representatives, Lt Col Flavia Byekwaso, tried to intervene. She was shoved aside.

When the fighting subsided, Kadaga directed security led by Kagoye to search all MPs. At this point, Kampala minister Beti Olive Kamya walked out, raising suspicion that she was one of the suspects. Before the brawl, Kadaga directed opposition MPs to remove their red headbands.

“I know that sometimes people enjoy colours especially looking bright. But I want to invite members of the opposition side to remove your bandanas. You are in breach of Rule 73 which requires decorum in this House,” Kadaga pronounced, to which they complied.

She then said her office had cleared three motions seeking constitutional amendments. Among those approved were the motion by Raphael Magyezi (Igara West), to amend Article 102 (b) on presidential age limits; the motion by Dr Sam Lyomoki (Workers) hoping to amend Article 98 to provide for a peaceful, smooth and democratic transition for the first president under the 1995 Constitution.

Lyomoki’s proposal also offers various immunities to the president and seeks to restore presidential term limits. Kadaga also approved a motion by Patrick Nsamba (Kassanda North) urging government to urgently constitute the Constitutional Review Commission.

“These notices for motions have met the test under Rule 47 for inclusion on today’s order paper,” Kadaga stated.

She, however, rejected five other notices, noting that they were not copied to the office of the Clerk to Parliament and had no motions attached to them.

They included; another motion by Lyomoki for a bill titled, “The Museveni succession, transition and immunities bill.”
A motion by Mbwatekamwa Gaffa (Kasambya) to remove all academic restrictions for all elective offices established was also rejected.

Other motions rejected are those by John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya) seeking to compel MPs once appointed as ministers to relinquish their parliamentary seats; a motion by Muyanja Mbabaali (Bukoto South) to create a second chamber and a motion by Johnson Muyanja (Mukono South) to provide for a  federal system of government.

3 weeks 3 days ago

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has banned live broadcasts of events it says incite violence, are discriminatory, stir up hatred and promote a culture of violence.

In a one page statement sent to all broadcasters today morning, signed by the executive director Godfrey Mutabazi, UCC said it "has noted with concern that both radio and television broadcasting operators are relaying live broadcasts which are inciting the public, discriminating, stirring up hatred, promoting a culture of violence amongst the viewers and are likely to create a public insecurity or violence."

Adding: "…The Commission hereby directs all broadcasters to immediately stop and refrain from broadcasting live feeds which are in breach of the minimum broadcasting standards and the best practice guidelines for electronic media coverage/reporting and broadcasting of live events.

An NBS TV journalist covering events outside parliament yesterday 

"The Commission shall not hesitate to carry out enforcement for non-compliance with these guidelines and any further breach will result in suspension and revocation of your license in accordance with Section 41 of the Uganda Communications Act 2013.", the statement concluded.

Although UCC was not explicit enough in its communication that it was the ongoing controversial age limit debate in parliament and country-wide protests that it was targeting, subsequent social media communication from the Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Frank Tumwebaze seems to indicate just as much. 

"Violent scenes & fights offend minimum broadcasting standards.@UCC_Official [UCC] is obligated by law [to] enforce these standards & protect consumers", Tumwebaze wrote.

"Democracy entails tolerance & listening to one another..Those fighting to stop others from expressing themselves are the ones anti-democracy.

"They can shout, disagree, express but decorum matters...Fighting is not debating ....Space to speak and speak is too wide in Uganda..", Tumwebaze wrote further on his twitter account. 

Yesterday, for the second time in less than six days, parliament was prematurely adjourned as the ruling party MPs attempted to smuggle onto the Order Paper a motion by Igara West MP, Raphael Magyezi seeking leave to table a bill on the lifting of presidential age limits.

The anticipated motion has caused uproar and country wide protests in various parts of the country especially among the youths who argue that the Constitution should not be changed for an individual, President Yoweri Museveni who will be ineligible to stand for presidency in 2021.

Museveni will be 77 years, two years above the constitutional age of 75. 

Also, yesterday saw a brawl break out on the floor of parliament with MPs exchanging blows and throwing chairs at each other.

The events (protests) and debate in parliament have been extensively covered 'live' by most local media houses.

MPs opposed to lifting the age limit were involved in filibustering, singing the national anthem endlessly, forcing the speaker to adjourn the plenary to today, 2pm.

Parliament's spokesperson, also director of Communications Chris Obore later said that whatever had happened in the House should not be mistaken by the media or public as an abnormality as MPs are expected to debate charged on when such hot topics are tabled. Obore said it was up to the electorate to judge how their MPs had behaved in the House. 

JOURNALISTS ARRESTED

In a related development, four journalists from Lira spent a night in prison after they were arrested for covering anti age limit amendment protests. 

Issac Otwi (Daily Monitor), Robert Kalibongo (Unity FM), Denis Engena (NBS TV) & Martin Ongom (Dwon Luo, a local newspaper were picked up by police and reportedly beaten for covering the protests.

The youth in Lira have been very vocal against lifting of the presidential age limit from the Constitution. They have been staging protests ever since the country country got wind of the fact that Magyezi motion was to soon be tabled in parliament. 

3 weeks 3 days ago

For the second time in less than seven days, plenary was adjourned prematurely thanks to the filibustering of MPs opposed to lifting of the age limit.

They sang the national anthem endlessly forcing the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to adjourn the House to today 2pm.

Igara West MP Igara Magyezi's motion is listed as item no.4 on today's Order Paper. The MPs opposed to lifting the age limit have promised to yet again block the debate of that particular motion. Like we have done previously, we'll attempt to bring you all the updates as they happen from across the country. Kindly refresh. 

17:12: Magyezi motion has been approved by the ruling party MPs and the House adjourned to tomorrow 2pm. Speaker reminded the MPs that as they consider the motion, sovereign of the people of Uganda is should come first.

16:39: Raphael Magyezi motion finally tabled. After the chaos that saw several MPs arrested and several others injured, plenary has resumed with mostly NRM MPs in attendance. Opposition MPs have walked out. Magyezi's bill has been seconded by MPs Moses Balyeku, Jackson Karissa and Doreen Amule.

15::25: Journalists roughed up and recording gadgets confiscated.

15:15: Chaos in parliament. Kadaga has suspended the House for 30 minutes to allow security to come in and vacate the suspended MPs. Fighting erupted. Microphone stands being used as weapons. 

15:10: Speaker Kadaga suspends minister Ronald Kibuule for entering the chambers yesterday with a gun and endangering the lives of other members yesterday. Kadaga has also suspended 25 MPs for behaving and dressing in a manner contrary to rules of the House. 

15:04: Speaker Rebecca Kadaga now in the House. Kadaga says she will name the MPs who were unruly in the House yesterday and that she can order any member to withdraw from the House. 

14:50: Makerere University under siege. Seemingly tired of the endless running battles with students, police has deployed heavily at Makerere University. 

Teargas vehicles at Makerere. Photo: @paulwebs1

14:35: MPs ditch red ribbons/bands for red hats. The MPs opposed to lifting of the age limit have today opted for red hats instead of red ribbons that the Speaker ordered them to remove yesterday. 

MPs opposed to the age limit amendment today chose red hats 

14:30: Nakawa MP Michael Kabaziguruka wheeled into the House. The MP who is visibly still in pain after a nasty accident earlier this says he could miss to represent his electorates when an important matter, the age limit is going to be debated. 

MP Michael Kabaziguruka wheeled into the House 

14:20: More red hats than the red ribbons today. Yesterday Speaker Rebecca Kadaga ordered the MPs to remove the red ribbons off their heads before plenary could start.

13:25: Less security deployment around parliament. There is visible less security deployment around parliament today compared to yesterday and last week. 

There is visible less security deployment today around parliament

13:20: Police chief Kale Kayihura at parliament. IGP Kale Kayihura made a brief stopover at parliament and today there seems to be less visible Counter Terrorism deployment in parliament. But security is as tight as ever. 

Police chief Kale Kayihura (R) was at parliament today 

12:30: NRM started the filibustering says MP Gaffa Mbwatekamwa. The Kasambya county, also NRM MP the ruling party started the heckling in parliament as resent as early this year when she attempted to present her East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) bid before the MPs.

We of the NRM, heckled FDC's Ingrid Turinawe for calling as MPigs and she couldn't speak, Mbwatekamwa said. A section of NRM MPs and other members in cabinet have condemned the conduct of MPs on the floor of parliament over the past two sessions arguing that it is dishonourable but Mbwatekamwa says it was all started by NRM and they will again do it today. 

12:20: Over 20 students of Gulu University arrested. The students who have been at the fore front of the age limit protests were at it again today. They wore their red ribbons. Over 20 have reportedly been arrested. 

12:00: Opposition not our of tactics, says Leader of Opposition. LOP Winnie Kiiza has said they are not out of tactics and just like they did yesterday and last week, they won't allow Magyezi's motion to be tabled. 

11:00: Kampala mayor Erias Lukwago's home under police siege. Police deployed heavily at Erias Lukwago's home in Wakaligga. According to Old Kampala DPC Grace Nyangoma, police has been given orders not to allow Lukwago to go anywhere today. 

More than 10 policemen camped at Erias Lukwago's home. Photo: @salmanamwanje

8.00am: Uganda Communications Commission bans live broadcast of age limit debate. In a statement issued to electronic broadcasters, UCC banned all live broadcasts that it says incite the public, are discriminatory and stir hatred amongst the citizens.

3 weeks 3 days ago

A joint force of presidential guards, the elite Special Forces Command (SFC) soldiers and police officers attached to parliament forcibly pulled out several legislators opposed to lifting the age limit from the chambers of parliament today afternoon.

In a scuffle that lasted more than an hour, at least 30 SFC soldiers in plain clothes poured into the chambers to pick at least 25 MPs who were named and suspended by the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga for three sittings at the beginning of the session, for engaging in disorderly conduct during yesterday’s plenary sitting.

The operation was commanded by Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander, Frank Mwesigwa, who was seen earlier in the day, patrolling the precincts of Parliament with the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura.

Parliament head of security Anabella Nyinamahoro attends to Charles Gutumoi (Erute county) after he collapsed during arrest

The legislators disrupted the House proceedings when fighting broke out between opposition and NRM MPs, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House.

Those suspended from the House include Ronald Kibuule the state minister of Water, who was accused of carrying a firearm during the House sitting, an act Kadaga explained was a violation of Rule 74 of the Rules of Procedure.

“I have received some terrible information that Hon Kibuule endangered the safety of members by bringing a firearm into this House. I have checked the footage and Hon Kibuule did not go through security checks. He came through the Office of the President into the North wing and into this chamber so I will be suspending you,” Kadaga announced.

Kadaga also suspended 23 opposition legislators, whom she accused of flouting the House rules by engaging in chaotic behavior. They will not be allowed to access Parliament, including committee and plenary sittings.

“The Speaker was not heard in silence. Members were standing, jumping over tables and chairs; they were dressed in a manner that contravened the Rules and despite calls from the Speaker to sit down and be orderly, this was not adhered to. Some members crossed from one side to another in a menacing manner…This Parliament is a place to speak, to exchange views even if you don’t have the same views,” she reminded the legislators.

The suspended MPs include Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West), Monica Amoding (Kumi Woman), Sam Lyomoki (Workers), Moses Kasibante (Rubaga North), Betty Nambooze (Mukono Municipality), Robert Kyagulanyi (Kyadondo East), Francis Zaake (Mityana Municipality), Ibrahim Kasozi (Makindye East), William Nzoghu (Busongora East), Gilbert Olanya (Kilak North), Jonathan Odur (Erute South), Mohammad Nsereko (Kampala Central), Angelline Osegge (Soroti Woman), Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East) and Odonga Otto (Aruu).

Others are Nandala Mafabi (Budadiri West), Mubarak Munyagwa (Kawempe South), John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya), Mbwatekamwa Gaffa (Kasambya), Roland Mugume (Rukungiri Municipality), Joseph Ssewungu (Kalungu West), Barnabas Tinkasimire (Buyaga West), Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala) and Medard Ssegona (Busiro East).

Two other MPs who were arrested but were not on the list include Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda (Kira Municipality) and Matthias Mpuuga (Masaka Municipality).

When the Speaker directed them to leave the chambers with immediate effect, only Kibuule and Mbwatekamwa complied. The opposition legislators refused to budge and kept shouting, “procedure, procedure”.

However, Kadaga did not budge and ordered them to leave immediately or be forced out by officers from the Sergeant-at-Arms. When the MPs remained defiant, Kadaga suspended the House for 30 minutes.

At that point, the police officers walked into the chambers to escort the MPs out but the legislators instead grabbed the microphone stands and tried to scare away the officers.

Some legislators were seen shoving the police officers away, prompting more commotion that saw the SFC soldiers enter the chamber and grab MPs indiscriminately. MPs Odonga, Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality) and Hassan Kaps Fungaroo (Obongi) jumped on the Table of the House, where the mace is usually placed, with microphone stands and warned the officers against touching them.

Zaake pulled out his belt and repeatedly tried to whip the officers. Other MPs hurled chairs at the officers, leaving one of the Parliament police officers bleeding profusely.

The provocation saw the SFC officers, three or four at a go, lunge at the MPs and drag them out of the House. Ssemujju was the first victim to be dragged out. Others followed suit, however the opposition MPs did not go without a fight.

One of the SFC officers jumped on the seats and grabbed Nabila Naggayi Ssempala (Kampala Woman) and tried to drag her out. However, some MPs nearby rushed to save her. It was not until one of his fellow officers shouted that she is not on the list of suspended MPs that were suspended that she got relief.

Former Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) and State Minister of Works, Gen. Katumba Wamala tried to quell the commotion by calling for calm and speaking to the SFC officers; however this did not help save matters.

For close to two hours, the suspended MPs were dragged out, one by one and swiftly taken to the North Wing entrance, opposite National Theatre, where a number of police pickup trucks were waiting to whisk them off to unknown destinations.

At least three MPs fainted, including Osegge, Lucy Achiro (Aruu North) and Angiro Gutumoi (Erute North). Zaake has also been admitted in hospital.

Speaking to The Observer, Mwesigwa revealed that a total of 27 MPs are currently under detention. However, sources within Police intimated to the Observer that the MPs are currently in a number of police stations around the Kampala Metropolitan area. Some of them are currently being held at Special Investigations Unit in Kireka.

The Speaker reconvened the House after 4pm where in her communication she announced that the MPs who caused damage to Parliament property within the chambers would be directed to pay for them.

“Some damage has occurred in the chambers. I will ask the Rules committee to review the footage and identify the members who caused the damage. They will be taken to the disciplinary committee and will be obliged to pay from their salaries,” Kadaga said, adding that Kibuule will also appear before the committee for carrying a gun into the House.

Leader of Opposition, Winnie Kiiza tried to intervene, standing up to express concern over the manner in which the SFC officers handled the MPs, however Kadaga shot her down immediately.

“Take your seat. You are familiar with our rules of procedure. Our rules say if you are asked to leave, you must leave. If you don’t leave, you are removed,” she said, warning that she would suspend any member who disrupted the sitting.

At this point, the opposition MPs walked out of the chamber in protest, as NRM MPs heckled them.

Raphael Magyezi (Igara West) was granted leave of Parliament to draft a bill, which will include amendments to Article 102 (b) of the Constitution to remove the minimum and maximum age criteria of 35 and 75 years respectively for presidential candidates.

In his motion, Magyezi stated that the bill seeks to amend Articles 259 and 262 of the Constitution to provide for the time within which to hold presidential, parliamentary and local government council elections; to provide for eligibility requirements for a person to be elected as president or district chairperson; to increase the number of days within which to file and determine a presidential election among others.

Magyezi was seconded by Moses Balyeku (Jinja West) and Doreen Amule (Amolatar Woman). Magyezi has 45 days within which to present the bill before Parliament for first reading.

FIGHT OVER RED CAPS

Before the ugly events, there was a brawl that ensued between a group of opposition MPs and security operatives at Parliament’s parking lot over the red caps. The MPs had ditched the red ribbons they wore yesterday for red caps after Kadaga forced them to remove them.

MPs including Julius Ochen (Kapelebyong), Phillip Okin Ojara (Chwa West), Joseph Ssewungu (Kalungu West), Mubarak Munyagwa, Gilbert Olanya (Kilak South) and Ssempala Kigozi (Makindye-Saabagabo) were beaten up as they attempted to pick their caps from one of the vehicles.

“We were just picking our caps, we were not violent, they just attacked us and started beating us. If they want to attack us, we shall also revenge. This is not their house [parliament], they are supposed to protect us not to beat us up,” Francis Zaake.

Ojara said the security is now biased, adding  "we are legally dressed and I don’t see any problem with our dress code." Zaake was injured while Kapelebyong MP Julius Ochen was also seriously beaten.

 

3 weeks 3 days ago

KAMPALA- The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Jacob Oulanyah, is in Israel for what officials say is "Parliament business".

Mr Oulanyah, who steered the initial part of the divisive age limit debate, travelled to Israel days after Speaker Rebecca Kadaga returned last week from a trip abroad.

The Parliament’s Director for Communication and Public Affairs, Mr Chris Obore, confirmed that Mr Oulanyah is away on an official trip.

"We are aware that the Deputy Speaker is away. He communicated to the Speaker, "he says.

At the height of the controversial debate, Mr Oulanyah declined to entertain the motion by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi seeking leave of Parliament to introduce a raft of amendments to the Constitution, including lifting of the age limit for presidential candidates.

Mr Oulanyah said the matter would have to wait the adjudication of Ms Kadaga, who an hour ago said she would pronounce herself on the polarising matter on Tuesday afternoon.

3 weeks 5 days ago

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