The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah this afternoon postponed the tabling of the motion intended to pave way for the tabling of a controversial bill to remove the age limit for anyone to run for president. The move had received backing from over 280 MPs from the ruling NRM party and was seen as a move to give President Yoweri Museveni an open invitation to rule indefinitely.
The collapse of the motion sent opposition into abrupt celebrations.
Speaker Oulanyah probably had no option but to differ the debate, after opposition MPs resorted to a noise strategy to frustrate the NRM majority in the house who had vowed to back their own to push through the motion.
Leader of Opposition Winnie Kiiza protested the heavy police deployment saying Parliament is not at ease. Kiiza’s protests came as Police lined up over 20 cars including two fire fighting engines, Mambas, two lorries full of police personnel as well as plain clothed officers.
Kiiza asked Oulanya to differ debate so that ‘order can be restored’.
“Give us a working environment that is secure and free. What is happening in the country is not a matter that we should take lightly. I ask the PM to accept that we’re here but our minds are not here. Parliament not at ease. It’s not business as usual. I ask that you adjourn the house.”
Although Leader of Government Business and Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda was asked by Oulanyah to explain the cause of the heavy police presence, Opposition MPs rejected his claims that Police was trying to forestall violence.
Opposition Chief Whip Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda also challenged the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda from stating that MPs were sitting comfortably yet Parliament was surrounded by heavy Police deployment.
Rugunda said: “Rt. Hon. Speaker and colleagues are aware that the last week, there has been some degree of excitement because of the political exchanges that are taking place. Because of the environment that has caused political excitement which could get out of hand, it is absolutely necessary that security agencies must be alert.”