Opposition Members of Parliament have made true their promise not to attend parliamentary plenary sessions. They have stayed away from plenary proceedings starting Tuesday.
Empty chairs, lime green in colour, making up five rows, long microphone stands on the left hand side of the Speaker is what meets your eye when you enter the Parliament of Uganda.
The abstinence kicks off a three day demonstration by the members of Parliament led by the leader of opposition Nandala Mafabi.
Last week on Thursday the MP’s walked out of Parliament after the speaker Rebecca Kadaga denied them debate on General Aronda Nyakairima’s appointment as minister for Internal Affairs.
Nandala argued that the move by President Yoweri Museveni is against the constitution arguing that some voting rules in the committee were flaunted. Kadaga argued that they could not discuss the subject but wait for the appointment’s committee to explain the rationale behind Aronda’s appointment.
Nandala also announced that as they prepare a petition to the constitutional court, all members of the opposition would not attend plenary.
True to their word, today Parliament only consisted of the ruling National Resistance Movement members with the opposition side completely empty. However, the opposition MP’s attended their respective committee meetings earlier in the day. As soon as the 1:30pm bell rang to call MPs for the plenary session, opposition MPs walked out.
Nabila Naggayi, Kampala Woman MP and memder of FDC however, had come to attend the plenary. She explains that she wanted to attend plenary because she is part of the select committee on the redevelopment of St. Balikuddembe and thought Parliament was going to discuss it.
She told local media that had the order paper indicated that it was part of the items to be discussed, she would have stayed on.
Namayanja Florence, Bukoto East MP and member of the Democratic Party, says the opposition should stick to the decision taken and not attend plenary until the three days come to an end.
Col. Fred Mwesigye, NRM MP Nyabushozi, says he is not bothered by the opposition’s protest saying it will not in any way affect the plenary proceedings.
Gen. Aronda was sworn in as Minister for Internal Affairs on Saturday by President Museveni at State House Entebbe. This Wednesday Hillary Onek the Minister for disaster Preparedness and relief also former Internal affair ministers will hand over the instruments of power to Gen. Aronda whose appointment has come amidst controversy.
Critics argue that as a serving member of the armed forces, he should have first resigned first from his position to take over a civilian role before he took over office that requires him to be nonpartisan.