Speaker of Parliament Hon Jacob Oulanyah was Tuesday afternoon compelled to suspend the house sitting to tomorrow Wednesday, after the MPs on the opposition side marched out in protests over the contentious handling of 2 colleagues by government security agencies.
The opposition MPs were led out of the parliament chambers by the Leader of Opposition Hon Matthias Mpuuga just after the house had started debating the arrest of MPs Muhammad Ssegirinya and Allan Ssewanyana.
Hon Mpuga‘s action followed earlier statements by both the Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja and Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka.
The Premier told the house that the two MPs who are facing murder charges, were indeed rearrested and charged with new offences.
Nabbanja however, admitted that the security wronged by not informing the office of the Speaker about the impending arrest.
She added that a letter to the speaker was “on the way.”
Attorney General Kiwanuka’s comments on the other hand, infuriated the MPs who later on walked out in protest.
He started by informing the House that everything was “being done to ensure that the MPs are treated in accordance with the law.”
He added however, that “while it was an error not come to you first (The Speaker) about the arrest;” the two MPs “are going to be presented in court and they can go back in as many times as the offences they have committed.”
Following minutes of loud murmurs from the house, LoP Mpuuga took to the microphone and ordered the opposition MPs to leave the house.
Mpuuga described the Attorney General’s statement as “most disturbing,” and “legally scandalous.”
The LoP went on to ask the speaker not to “join the state in the illegality,” adding; “when someone makes a wrong you don’t join them to commit another wrong.”
“I therefore find myself with no choice but to withdraw my team from this vulgar debate,” he said.
After the opposition exited the chambers, Speaker Oulanyah spent minutes lambasting government for the manner in which they handled the two MPs, before he adjourned the house.
Oulanyah said he was “not in disagreement with the opposition’s act of walking out” which he said was part of the expression of dissent that is permitted.
“I applaud the LOP that he led his team out without any drama,” he said.
Oulanyah then went on to condemn the security forces saying they went over board after misinterpreting the president’s comments on bail.
“Members it is problematic every time we find ourselves in this situation, even for the presiding officers. The constitution is clear and all the supporting laws are clear about processes and procedures. Why fault them? What is the emergency? When you do that, we end up like this and you give people with bad intentions excuse to do things they have been planning to do.”
He added, “The problem we have is the Technical people miss-stepping the directives from the higher authorities. When the president says no bodabodas riding on pavements, in the evening police are sent to the streets to beat up bodabodas, yet the president’s comments were merely a policy directive. The president is not saying this should be don’t that evening.”
According to Prime Minister Nabbanja, Hon Ssewanyana was yesterday taken to the CID headwaiters and interrogated in the presence of his lawyers, and Hon Ssegirinya is expected to undergo the same today.