MPs Question Authenticity of ‘Age-Limit' Report

3268 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Ssekikubo raised a matter of procedure questioning the authenticity of the report that was being tabled before parliament by the committee chairperson Jacob Oboth-Oboth.

Parliament business has been suspended to allow the speaker to ascertain the authenticity of the report presented this morning by the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee.

The suspension follows doubts cast by Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Ssekikubo to the report tabled by the committee chairperson Jacob Oboth-Oboth. Ssekikubo pointed out that two MPs including Akello Rose Lilly and Mbabazi Akampulira who signed the committee report are also members of another sectoral committee of Parliament.

The two MPs were designated to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee by Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa way after the committee had finished interfacing with individuals and institutions on the controversial bill, that seeks to, among others, lift the cap on the presidential age.

Parliament Rules of Procedure bar members from belonging to more than one sectoral committee. Sekikubo said that the two are members of the Defence and Internal Affairs committee and, as such; do not have the moral authority to sign a report of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee.

"They are just mercenaries that were designated on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee to endorse the report," Ssekikubo said.

However, Akello defended her position on the committee saying that she was designated by Nankabirwa and that she doesn't belong to any other sectoral committee of parliament.

But her submission raised protests from Opposition MPs who told Parliament that she had been participating in the activities of the Defence and Internal Affairs committee. They added that any activity undertaken as a member of the Legal and Parliamentary affairs committee is null and void. 

Lira Woman MP Joy Atim Ongom requested Speaker Kadaga to direct the Clerk to Parliament Jane Kibirige to print out the lists of both committees so that parliament can ascertain where the two MPs belong.

 Following the back and forth arguments, Kadaga suspended the House saying that the break was to enable her look at the composition of both committees so that she can come back with a ruling.

This was part of the Drama that ensued in the sitting in which opposition MPs continuously raised matters of procedure and order in an attempt to stop the presentation of the report. Their efforts, however, proved futile as Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga continuously ruled them out of order.

In one of the moves, Leader of Opposition Winnie Kiiza announced that there were unfamiliar faces in the Chambers of Parliament. She was referring to a group of plain-clothed personnel strategically positioned behind the Speaker's Chair as MPs turned rowdy.

Kadaga later announced that the plain-clothed personnel where part of her security detail. However, even with her confirmation, Kiiza questioned why she was worried about her safety yet no one intended to harm her.

Kiiza said that the presence of the plain-clothed personnel was bringing back bad memories of the September 27 events when security personnel raided parliament to eject legislators who had earlier been suspended by the speaker.


About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.