In a move viewed as an attempt to distance herself from the invasion of parliamentary chambers by Special Force Command (SFC) officers last week, Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has absolved herself of any wrongdoing.
Speaking during the plenary sitting today afternoon, Kadaga labored to explain that she had no hand in commanding the plain-clothed security officers into chambers on September 27, 2017 to drag out 25 MPs whom she had suspended at the start of the sitting, for being involved in fighting during the previous sitting, when Igara West MP, Raphael Magyezi was expected to table a motion, seeking leave of Parliament to draft a bill to amend the Constitution, including removal of presidential age limit.
The action of SFC has since sparked wide furor, with sections of the public including opposition parties and MPs accusing the Speaker of conniving with the security agencies to attack Parliament.
However, in a scathing statement to the House, Kadaga asserted that she had no hand in the “attack” of Parliament. “I did not invite any security organ to Parliament, I didn’t command any security organ to take any action in Parliament and I am surprised that me a civilian is being accused of commanding security agents,” Kadaga said.
She cited the Parliamentary Forum on Constitutional Supremacy and FDC deputy spokesperson, Paul Mwiru, who accused Kadaga of having a hand in the violent invasion of the chambers and demanded that she apologizes to Ugandans. “I don’t know how a civilian can command security forces. It just shows you how empty their thinking is,” she scoffed.
She further explained in her statement that the suspension of the MPs was a decision she made in consultation with the rules of procedure, which guide the conduct of legislators in the House.
“I will not apologize for applying the rules of procedure in the House. There was a clear breach of our rules and the conduct that you saw here brought this House into disrepute. And those members outside who are trying to run Parliament from the streets should know that I am the custodian of the rules of procedure,” she said.
Kadaga was supported by the Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa who lauded the Speaker for taking action against the MPs, whom she accused of attempting a coup.
“Government cannot sit back when this arm of government is being attacked and the Speaker is being threatened….The government will always come in to protect all the institutions including Parliament. This message should go out there to inform people who think they will threaten this arm of government,” a tough-talking Nankabirwa said.
Kadaga further said she has a record of protecting the rights and privileges of MPs, citing the NRM party’s attempt to withdraw four of its members from the House during the 9th Parliament. The MPs are Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo, Kampala Central MP Mohammad Nsereko, Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba and Buyaga West MP Barnabas Tinkasimire, who was accused of not toeing the party line and disregarding its decisions.
“I took issue with my party, the NRM and upheld the constitutional rights of MPs in this House and that protection became the protection of all members of this House. No party can now withdraw a member of this House and it was upheld by the Supreme Court. So those who are running Parliament from the street can forget it,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Minister in charge of KCCA affairs, Beti Olive Kamya has dismissed claims that she had a hand in aiding Kibuule to sneak out a gun from the parliamentary chambers.
The firearm controversy sparked off a fight in Parliament, However in a statement in Parliament today, Kamya denied being used to hide the gun, and asked the New Vision to retract their story and apologize.