KAMPALA — The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa reminded Members of Parliament of their right to free entry and exit of the House adding that they don’t the permission of the presiding officer to enter or leave, if they feel uncomfortable conducting business of the house.
Tayebwa was reacting to walkout protests by opposition MPs—, protesting what they described as continued arrest, kidnap, and detention of their leaders’ supporters.
“This is a level you reach on after interacting with the presiding officer, you don’t ambush the presiding officer that way on the floor. When we are in this House, no one asks me for permission, no one has given me warning that they are walking out, so whoever is to sit and handle business should continue, those who are uncomfortable can move out,” the Deputy Speaker said.
This was after his attempts to call for calm amongst the Opposition to allow the Government table a statement, explaining actions of security forces were rejected by the opposition—prompting him to remind the Leader of Opposition and his group that the presiding officer had no powers to stop them from moving out of the chambers.
He said that such a matter should have been discussed between the Leader of Opposition and his office, before the decision of walking out was taken.
He added that despite being the presiding officer, he had no powers to stop any MP from walking out.
The acting Leader of the Opposition; Muwanga Kivumbi who led the protest said they would not continue attending Plenary sessions if the government didn’t provide an explanation for the arrests of their leaders and colleagues.
“As we are gathered here, in this August House, and on this good day. For the last couple of days, as we were celebrating our independence, yesterday, the very notions of our independence have been grossly abused and challenged,” the acting Leader of the Opposition Muwanga Kivumbi said.
“The other day, the Leader of the NUP, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, was kidnapped from a plane and driven to his home. Yesterday the offices of NUP were not only sealed off, but national leaders were also arrested from the Secretary-General to the Spokesperson and hundreds of our youth were arrested,” he added before storming out of the house.