Some members of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee want the Inspector General of Police Gen Kale Kayihura to be summoned over the September 27th raid on Parliament.
The demands, mainly from opposition MPs, came after a submission from Leader of Opposition Winnie Kiiza who had appeared before the committee to give her views on the proposed constitutional amendment to remove presidential age limits.
The bill tabled by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi seeks to amend Article 102(b), which bars people below 35 and those above 75 from holding the office of the president of Uganda.
In her submission, Kiiza expressed displeasure and discomfort in the way government and parliament mistreated MPs with divergent opinion in a country practicing multiparty politics.
“Members of Parliament being assaulted in the parking yard before the session, and the Speaker allowing parliament to proceed unbothered about the absence of other side of the House leaves a lot to be desired. As we appear before this committee, two of our colleagues are still hospitalised and have undergone surgery. These are the outcomes of this brutal attack on parliament,” said Kiiza.
She added that the government accolades that accompanied the introduction of the Constitutional (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2017 is so historical and brings them the memory of what happened in the 1966 Constitution crisis.
He asked Kiiza who is also a member of the Parliament Commission whether the security of MPs is considered an urgent matter by the commission and whether the chambers are considered safe for parliament sittings.
Ssemujju’s question angered a section of NRM party MPs led by Mwenge South MP Aston Kajara who said that the Kira Municipality MP was diverting the committee by asking matters concerning the Parliamentary Commission.
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee Vice Chairperson Robinah Rwakoojo noted that as much as LOP Kiiza had highlighted the issue of assault of MPs, she was also seeking answers.
Rwakoojo’s ruling did not please Busiro East MP Medard Lubega Sseggona. Sseggona told the vice chairperson that he will not sit back as she suffocates members of the committee from asking questions.
With Sseggona’s intervention, Ssemujju further asked Kiiza whether the events of 27th September were normal and whether it would be normal for parliament to continue transacting business on a day the House was invaded.
Kiiza noted that she had not been given a copy of the Speaker’s letter to President Museveni but added that this action shows a bigger problem in what transpired in parliament ahead of the tabling of the ‘Age Limit’ Bill.
She revealed that she has evidence of copies of identity cards they grabbed from the security operatives who stormed parliament and that these cards are allegedly for the Special Forces Command – SFC.
Kiiza also noted that the Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura was on record saying that he spearheaded the raid on parliament.
Kajara suggested that the Committee first accesses Speaker Kadaga’s letter to the President before making any informed decision on the matter.
Ssemujju noted that the committee could be constrained to summon the speaker but that its leadership can request the Speaker Kadaga to share the correspondences on the matter raised before the Committee.
At this point, shadow Attorney General Wilfred Niwagaba cited Rule 118(2) of the Parliament Rules of Procedure which empowers the Committee to make inquiries in matters raised while considering a Bill.
Rwakoojo then ruled that the committee will internally discuss the matter before sending a request to Speaker Kadaga and summoning the Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura over his statements.
Kayihura owns up on Parliament raid
On September 28th, the Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura said he planned and coordinated the raid on parliament in which security forces brutally ejected MPs.
He said that the operation was carried out with the help from ‘sister security agencies’ and that he had no regrets. This was despite an earlier denial of the plain clothed security men by Asan Kasingye, the police spokesperson
However, Captain Jimmy Omara, the acting Special Forces Command (SFC) public relations officer then denied knowledge of the plain clothed personnel.
“We didn’t deploy anywhere near parliament, inside parliament or outside parliament. We didn’t have any deployment there and we don’t even intend to deploy,” said Omara.
Prior to the raid on parliament, Kayihura and Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander Frank Mwesigwa were seen at parliament holding meetings with the security detail attacked to the House.
Kadaga’s Letter to President Yoweri Museveni
In a letter dated 23rd October 2017 authored by Kadaga, she demands President Yoweri Museveni to identify the operatives involved in the 27th September raid on parliament, their motive and purpose.
“I have had the opportunity to view (closed-circuit television) camera footages of what transpired and noticed people in black suits and white shirts, who are not part of the parliamentary staff or the staff of the Sergeant-at- Arms, beating members.” Kadaga noted.
She demanded an explanation about why the operatives assaulted MPs and why some MPs were confined at police stations and later released while others remain under police investigation.