The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, has suspended five MPs over their conduct in the House following a disagreement on presentation of video evidence on the treatment and arrest of Opposition politicians.
The video evidence, according to the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga, was meant to be part of his response to a statement by the Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Gen. David Muhoozi.
Muhoozi’s statement to the House during plenary on Tuesday, 17 October 2023 dwelled on incidents involving security officials and National Unity Party (NUP) President and some MPs in Kampala and Kayunga districts on 05 and 09 October 2023.
Opposition MPs last week walked out of Parliament demanding that government explains the disruptions and arrests.
The suspended MPs include: – Hon. Betty Nambooze (Mukono Municipality), Hon. Francis Zaake (Mityana Municipality), Hon. Joyce Bagala (Mityana District Woman Representative), Hon. Frank Kabuye (Kassanda County South) and Hon. Derrick Nyeko (Makindye Division East).
In the statement, Muhoozi said that on 05 October 2023, the Police with other security forces, deployed proactively to prevent the mobilisation for the illegal procession and anticipated associated mischief that could result from a planned march by the NUP President from Entebbe to Kampala, upon his return from visiting Canada and South Africa.
“Some of the planners and organisers were arrested in areas of the Kampala Metropolitan Policing area, arraigned in courts of law, and later released on bond. The Government has the duty, through the Uganda Police, to keep law and order, and to ensure the safety of all persons within its borders, not least VIPs like the Hon. Kyagulanyi Ssentamu [NUP Party President],” said Muhoozi.
He said that President Yoweri Museveni also travels out of the country and returns without causing a stampede and mobilising processions, to the detriment of other citizens, and that is how it should be.
In Kamwokya, a Kampala suburb, Muhoozi said that NUP leaders and supporters arranged to have a parallel Independence celebration in Kamwokya on 09 October 2023.
He said that their intention was to make a disruptive illegal procession from there in order to depict the national celebrations in Kitgum District as sham.
“As a result of their proclaimed aims and anticipated consequences, security intervened and disrupted their intended illegal activities. Consequently, 14 of the leaders were arrested, detained at Kira Road Police station, charged and later released on Police bond the same day,” Muhoozi said.
The case of Kayunga District involved Hon. Charles Tebandeke (Bbale County), whom the minister said that together with others, mobilised the community to hold demonstrations on 09 October 2023 purportedly over the delayed tarmacking of the Kayunga – Bbale – Galiraya Road.
“He had written to the Inspector General of Police notifying him about the intended activity and was advised by Police to raise the said grievances in Parliament, where he is a representative of his people. The timing of this planned activity, was also intended to tarnish the National Independence Day celebrations,” Muhoozi said.
He said that the incidents and responses of law enforcement arose from the intent and activities to cause public disorder and breach of the peace in the stated places.
“The Police will and should fulfil their mandate and utilise their authority and powers given by the law, to keep law and order and to maintain public order and peace for the common good of all,” Muhoozi said.
When the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Mpuuga, was given chance to respond, he requested for a video recording of the incidents to be played for the House, as part of his reaction. The video could not be due to a technical glitch, and later a vote against the video playing.
With various points of procedure and order being raised by members, the Deputy Speaker briefly suspended the House.
The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga told MPs that his presentation was hinged on the video playing
Upon resumption of the House, Tayebwa called for a vote on the decision to play the video – a vote that was lost amidst disruptions by MPs.
Invoking Rule 89 (4) of the Rules of Procedure, Tayebwa suspended the five legislators from attending plenary sittings for three days.
Article 89 (4) of the Rules of Procedure states, “If a Member is suspended, his or her suspension on the first occasion in a Session shall be for the next three sittings, excluding the sitting in which he or she was suspended; on the second occasion in a Session, for the next seven sittings excluding the sitting in which he or she was suspended, and on the third and any subsequent occasion during the same Session, for the next twenty eight  sittings of the House, excluding the sitting in which the Member was suspended.”