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Opposition MPs to Fight Public Order Bill

Following yesterday’s chaotic Public Order Management Bill Debate that led to the unceremonious adjournment of the House to Tuesday, opposition MPs have today vowed to block the passage of the bill come Tuesday.
Opposition MPs have vowed to do all they can to prevent the Public Order Bill becoming law.

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Following yesterday’s chaotic Public Order Management Bill Debate that led to the unceremonious adjournment of the House to Tuesday, opposition MPs have today vowed to block the passage of the bill come Tuesday.

 

Parliament Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah suspended three MPs Odonga Otto, Ssemujju Nganda and Theodore Sekikubo during the heated debate. Oulanyah ruled that the MPs had been unruly and out of order.

 

This followed a vigorous protest by the MPs opposed to the passing of the Public Order Management Bill which the speaker had asked be voted on.

 

During the protest over Oulanyah's decision, MP Odonga Otto tore up the roll call paper that the house clerk was using to ask members to vote on the bill.

 

Now today a section of opposition MPs have expressed support for the suspended members. 

 

MP Mwiru Paul, representing Jinja Municipality, defended Otto's action as justified. He said that MPs were ready to go even further in opposing the bill should it come up on Tuesday for a vote.

 

Mwiru said the MPs were most opposed to clause 8 of the bill. He said the clause abuses the fundamental human rights of all Ugandans and the right of political parties to associate.

 

 

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The contentious clause 8 of the gives powers to police to provide permission for public rallies or assemblies. This clause was passed last week when opposition MPs were on a self imposed leave over the appointment of General Aronda Nyakayirima as Internal Affairs Minister.

 

The Opposition Chief Whip Winnie Kiiza said that they have resolved as the opposition that they will no longer walk out of the House when Members of NRM misbehave, act or proceed with legislative matters in a manner that they think is not proper for the general good of the Country.

 

She noted that they will still no longer allow NRM members to take field on any controversial matters in the House and that where reason fails, they will react with that this will be done no matter the consequences.

 

Kiiza questioned the Deputy Speaker's motive in suspending the three MPs yet he had continually ignored their requests to be heard. She noted that more 30 MPs stood up at once against the motion to vote on the bill but were ignored. 

 

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MP Lulume Bayiga, representing Buikwe County South, accused the Oulanyah of giving himself more powers than vested in the office of the Deputy Speaker of parliament.

 

He challenged Oulanyah to learn to give a fair hearing to those in the minority in parliament in order to help facilitate the growth of democracy.

 

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Meanwhile in response to the yesterday’s debate on Public Order Management Bill, Amnesty International’s deputy Africa Director Sarah Jackson said that the Bill must not be allowed to pass in its current form as it poses a grave threat to basic freedoms in the Country.

 

And in particular citing the right to organize and participate in public meetings or gatherings which discuss political issues as these would now be subject to heavy restrictions and controls from police.

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