August 1, 2013

Chaos As MPs Clash Over Public Order Management Bill

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 trio were suspended for misconduct.

The chaos arose from the Deputy Speaker’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.

The MPs became loud and unruly during the debate as they disputed an attempt by Deputy Speaker Oulanyah to put the bill to vote.

Hon. Odonga Otto ripped the MPs register apart and has been suspended
Hon. Odonga Otto ripped the MPs register apart and has been suspended

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 going ahead.

Oulanya then adjourned the house to Tuesday next week for the roll call and tally to continue and added that the disciplinary action against Otto will be communicated.

Odonga Otto said that Oulanyah had no right to stop opposition MPs from speaking about the bill and according them more time to consult about it before it is passed.

MP Theodore Sekikubo said he is not respecting any suspension and he is to appear in the House come Tuesday next week.
MP Theodore Sekikubo said he is not respecting any suspension and he is to appear in the House come Tuesday next week.

Otto, who had earlier this year noted that he would leave Parliament in 2016, said he had changed his mind about retiring from politics. Instead, he said he is going to seek re-election to represent Omoro County which the Deputy Speaker currently represents.

MP Ssekikubo said he was disappointed with Deputy Speaker Oulanyah’s conduct adding that the deputy speaker had attempted to pass the bill last Thursday, but was blocked because parliament did not have a quorum. Ssekikubo said he had been informed just in time as opposition MPs were not in the House.

He said Oulanyah’s decision to try and pass the bill again in this manner demonstrated that he had decided to fight NRM wars instead of being impartial.

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 members.

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 bill.

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 opposition MPs.

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.

7 thoughts on “Chaos As MPs Clash Over Public Order Management Bill

  1. NRM MPs are sycophants who are summoned to vote as HE wishes, they are turning this country into a police state. They should remember that “when you are on top of the world it turns over every twenty four hours”.
    So sometime to come they will be in opposition and thus being the minority. Human rights are good for all of us irrespective of what party you belong.

  2. I hope that the NRM MPs attending to simply vote for these oppressive powers are aware that they may be next in line when they decide at a future date that they want to say something useful or pro-people which the government does not agree with. I refer to the recent story where activities at Iganga District Hospital were paralysed for most of a morning following a demonstration by the Municipality MP Peter Mugema (Panadol) to protest against a month-long lack of water at the government facility. He was arrested for this despite the fact that it was/is a just grievance.

    The simple fact is that if you give an inch I can bet my last shilling that the government/NRM will take the proverbial mile.

    You have been warned and in case you suffer remember the wise saying:-

    “a man who brings home ant-infested faggots should not complain if he is visited by lizards”

  3. One man told me that in the 60s prisoners complained that they were tired of one diet beans and posho. The minister in charge then Grace Ibingira said no change of diet should be for whites. He was sent to Luzira afterwards and the first thing he complained of was the bad food. He said that he had ailments that could not allow him to eat posho and beans. They reminded him he is the one who directed as such and was told to bear with the posho. Therefore these blind, money hungry, NRM MPs one day will pay for their sins. Today it is their stomachs tomorrow it will be their case. No one is destined to be in the opposition for his entire life even Dr. Ssemogerere one time wasnt

  4. Otto please behave like a mature person.If an MP carries himself the way u do,what do u expect from high school student to copy from u.Mind u both the opposition and the ruling party are watching u closely because you have a record of indiscipline always in fights…Please try to be exemplary

    1. He is fighting for your right if you havent noticed! He is brave enough to take risks even when he knows the consequences

  5. Typical FDC “politics of the goons”. When you loose a debate or election the prescribed and documented way – TRY VIOLENCE.

  6. Being in Parliament means to discuss,question at times fight the colleagues if they fail to understand that the Public order Bill managements intended to harass the Opposition.Those who became chaotic had a cause for their conduct and they should be Postpartum chaos understood That They want Peace,Unity/Love,development and Good Governance in Uganda.

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