Uganda Speaker Suspends 25 MPs

The Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, on Wednesday suspended a minister and 25 MPs for participating in the Tuesday fracas that forced her to adjourn the House.

Water minister Ronald Kibuule was suspended for allegedly going to Parliament chambers with a gun.

The suspended MPs were mostly from the opposition and had demanded that the minister be disarmed ahead of the debate on the scrapping of Article 102 (b) from the Constitution that bars people above 75 years from contesting for the presidency.

The MPs include Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, representing Kyaddondo East, Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West), Monica Amoding (Kumi District), Dr Sam Lyomoki (Workers).

However, the MPs refused to vacate the chambers, forcing Ms Kadaga to suspend the sitting. After a standoff, security officers stormed the chambers and dragged out Mr Kyagulanyi and Mr Ssewanyana. 

The Tuesday session marked another chaotic day in the Ugandan Parliament over the controversial presidential age limit debate.

Members engaged in a brawl, throwing chairs and tugging and pulling each other over allegations that Mr Kibuule had smuggled a gun into the chamber.

Unlike last week, Ms Kadaga sat through the melee, before yielding to pressure to suspend House business, held under heavy military and police presence around Parliament.

Police and the military had also battled demonstrators in different towns, leading to the arrest of several people, including main opposition politician Kizza Besigye. 

Museveni re-election.

Uganda has remained restive over the proposed Constitutional amendment, seen as a significant step towards securing a free run for President Yoweri Museveni to seek re-election in 2021.

President Museveni, 72, is barred by the current constitution from running again for president as he will have surpassed the 75-year mark by the next election.

A caucus of members of the governing National Resistance Movement (NRM) last week voted unanimously in favour of a motion seeking to remove the age limit for a presidential candidate.