With only a few hours left for the much awaited tabling of the Constitutional Amendment No.2 Bill 2017, tensions have heightened both within parliament and country at large.
The Members of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee who were camped at Serena Hotel Kigo finalized their report writing and all left is having it scheduled on the order paper for the Bill’s second reading.
Information coming from the Legal Committee indicates that the legislators tasked with scrutunising the Bill that was tabled by Igara West MP Raphael Magezi voted to have the upper and lower 75 and 37 year cap lifted from the constitution.
However, the camp opposed to the lifting of the Presidential Age Limit snubbed the reporting session on grounds that parliament declined to avail funds to the Committee to carry out country wide consultations on the proposed amendment.
A number of activities have been taking place at parliament where the security chiefs Kale Kayihura (Inspector General of Police) and David Muhoozi Commander of Land Forces, Frank Mwesigwa Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander alongside top police officers held a closed door meeting with Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.
Kadaga is expected to preside over the plenary sitting tomorrow, after her Deputy Jacob Oulanyah declined to preside over the lifting of presidential term limits.
The group is said to have discussed matters regarding security deployment both within and outside parliament and the move is intended to avoid the September 27th like drama.
This is in response to threats by Opposition to hold protests outside parliament as MPs drive inside parliament premises ahead of the much anticipated debate and vote on the amendment.
However, after getting wind of news that Kadaga had met with Security Chiefs, MPs opposed to lifting of Presidential Age Limit issued warning to the Speaker not to allow any security operatives inside Parliament Chambers during tabling of the report.
“We want to call upon all those negative elements, all those people who are against the rule of constitutionalism in this country that let them not dare to invade parliament again,” Theodore Sekikuubo Lwemiyaga County MP said.
He made the remarks today during a joint press briefing held between Opposition MPs and NRM ‘rebel’ MPs, where they were updating the public ahead of the report tabling.
Ssekikubo added; “We do not expect to see the mambas surrounding this parliament because this is not a blockade entrenchment. It’s a parliament for all Ugandans to witness how all members will be speaking to the constitution amendments.”
Speaking to journalists after his meeting with the Speaker, Kayihura told journalists that his meeting followed complaints aired by Kadaga that she felt insecure at parliament following threats from her troops about the security at parliament.
This according to the IGP prompted him to intervene and discuss ways in which to secure the parliament premises.
A section of MPs who were forcefully evicted out of the chambers in September following their suspension by the Speaker were seen matching to her office, demanding an explanation and identity of the plain clothed security operatives that carried them out of the House on the fateful day.
On the ruling side, legislators subscribing to the NRM have been summoned for an urgent caucus meeting tomorrow at 9:00am ahead of tabling of the report in the afternoon.
Additionally, the MPs opposed to the controversial constitutional amendment have vowed to present a minority report to the floor of Parliament tomorrow.
The meeting was also attended by; Muhammad Nsereko, Monica Amoding, William Nzoghu, Robina Ssentongo, Sam Lyomoki, John Baptist Nambeshe, Roland Mugume, Theodore Sekikuubo, Ann Ebaju Adeke, Felix Okot, Francis Mwijukye and Patrick Nsamba.
Wilfred Niwagaba, Shadow Attorney General who is also a member of the Legal Committee faulted the Committee for abdicating its own duties, saying that despite the fact that the Committee was mandated to do the consultative process with the people of Uganda and seek people’s views on the Bill, the Committee only met few individuals within the premises of Parliament.
Muhammad Nsereko, Kampala Central MP Nsereko who was the champion of drafting the minority report called on Ugandans not to lose hope but continue calling their individual MPs to warn them against associating themselves with the Constitutional Amendment.
Nsereko baptized the minority report as ‘Wise men and women’s report” vis-à-vis the report of those that want to stampede the nation.
He explained that 120 MPs confirmed to vote NO, while the undecided are 25 stating: “We shall not unfold the content of the minority report because it is contrary to our rules of parliament, but the justifications are clear there in. We shall continue persuading those that are at the borderline, those for NO are a big number, those that are still un decided are also a big number and those that are PRO are also a big number but we can say that by the end of this week all options are still on table.”
Another ‘rebel’ MP, Monica Amoding (Kumi Woman MP) called on Ugandans to keep their ears and eyes on TV, watching and listening to all proceedings and witness how the people they voted betray their own nation.