There were dramatic scenes in parliament on Thursday as Parliament prepared to vote on the Public Order and Management Bill. As a result, three lawmakers have been suspended from Parliament for 3 sittings for disrupting parliament proceedings on Thursday evening.
The MPs are; Theodore Sekikubo (Lwemiyaga County), Odonga Otto (Aruu County) and Ibrahim Semujju Nganda (Kyadondo East).
The chaos arose from Speaker Kadaga’s decision not to recommit the
contentious Clause 8 of the bill. The opposition plus independent MPs
insist the clause which among other things gives the Inspector General
of Police powers to deem a proposed venue for a given gathering
unsuitable or otherwise should be changed or entirely removed.
It’s at this point that Aruu county MP Odonga Otto got hold of the MP
register and ripped it apart in order to stop to the vote process from
The three MPs have been suspended for the next 3 sittings.
MPS ASK FOR MORE TIME
Parliament witnessed a large turn up on Thursday as Members of Parliament met to conclude the Public Order Management Bill.
However, the decision by Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanya to conclude the discussion has not gone down well with opposition MPs.
Opposition MPs kept on rising procedural points and points of order
to the Deputy Speaker arguing that the NRM MPs had been mobilized to
attend so that the bill passes yet most of them have not participated in
the legislation of the bill.
MP Mwiru Paul, representing Jinja Municipality, rose on a procedural
point to question how the house suddenly had enough members to vote on
the bill. He reminded the Deputy Speaker that the house had been forced
to adjourn yesterday because the house lacked quorum.
Mwiru added that the Constitutional Court ruled on the bill in a
petition that was forwarded by MP Muwanga Kivumbi that it was giving a
lot of powers to Police and that it was abusive to rights of Ugandans
say freedom of Speech, Movement and other.
However Mwiru’s argument fell on deaf ears. The Deputy Speaker
insisted that parliament was following procedural rules and it was not
the speaker’s business to explain how they got there.
MP Beatrice Anywar appealed to the Deputy Speaker that the bill be
given taken for consultation with their constituents. She said this is
what had been done with the controversial Marriage and Divorce Bill.
But Oulanyah disagreed and ruled that this was not necessary as the
house had done much of the work on the bill and should be the one to
vote on it.
MP Betty Awol, the Woman MP for Gulu, stood up on a guidance point
and wondered if the opposition MPs have the same rights as the NRM
Awol, who almost cried on the floor, said she was very sad to see MPs
turn up at parliament after long absences for the purpose of voting
along party lines with little knowledge of the issues discussed.
Oulanyah noted that all MPs are respected and have the same rights in
Parliament. He went on to ask the members to respect whatever decision
the house takes.
MP Odongo Otto suggested that Parliament debates again the clauses
that were stayed yesterday so that quorum is attained to vote on the
He explained that there are many MPs who had not attended proceedings
of the Bill and that this could be a chance for them to understand the
bill and vote on something they are aware of. In this case Otto cited
the new Internal Affairs Minister Aronda Nyakairima who attended the
session today for the first time as Minister and Prime Minister Amama
Mbabazi who was not in the house yesterday.
General Aronda noted that he had been following the bill and that he fully understands it.
MP Lulume Bayiga then moved a motion that the debate to vote on the
bill be deferred for further notice which was seconded by most of the
The Deputy Speaker then ruled and adjourned the debate to the
afternoon with a directive that MP Mwiru comes back and explains the
clauses that the Constitutional Court ruled to be dangerous in the bill.
The Opposition is now currently in a closed caucus meeting in order
to have a common stand on what to do in the afternoon when they return
to the house.
The Clauses that were stayed yesterday with a motion of
recommital of clause 7, 8, 9 and 10 in the bill that need to be voted on
today by MPS.
Clause 7 and 8 of the Bill provides that an organizer shall give
notice in writing to the IGP of the intention to hold a public meeting,
at least seven days but not more than fifteen days before the proposed
date of a public meeting.
Clause 9 of the Bill prohibits organizers of Public gatherings from telling the Media anything if it against the laws of Uganda.
Clause 10 provides for the fundamental duty of Police which is to preserve law and order.
The POMB which seeks to regulate public meetings and use of Public
address systems, has been widely criticized by both human rights
activists and political organizations saying it infringes on human
rights and it’s a replica of the already existing laws.