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Three MPs Suspended as Public Order Bill Debate Turns Chaotic

Tempers flared as Parliament debated the Public Order Management Bill on Thursday, forcing Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah to suspend three MPs.
MP Otto explains why he tore the parliament roll call paper

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Tempers flared as Parliament debated the Public Order Management Bill on Thursday, forcing Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah to suspend three MPs.

 

 MPs Ibrahim Semujju Nganda for Kyadondo East, Theordre Sekikubo for Lwemiyaga and Odonga Otto for Aruu County were suspended for misconduct.

 

The three were suspended for three sittings of Parliament and the Deputy Speaker ordered that they leave the house immediately.

 

The MPs became loud and unruly during the debate as they disputed an attempt by Deputy Speaker Oulanyah to put the bill to vote.

 

Oulanyah ruled that a role call be made so that individual MPs make personal decisions on the bill before it passes or fails.

 

When the clerk started roll-calling members, opposition MPs stood up and protested the procedure and made a ring around the table of the clerks in front of the Speaker chanting "No way, no way, no way."

 

But the Deputy Speaker did not listen to their plea and kept on telling the clerk to roll call members.

 

MP Odonga Otto then grabbed the roll call list from the clerk and tore it into pieces.

 

Oulanyah  told the house that the records should capture that the roll call list from which the final decision on the bill was to be arrived from has been torn by Otto and that the roll call and tally could not continue. He then adjourned the house to Tuesday next week for the roll call and tally to continue and added that the disciplinary action against Otto will be communicated.

 

//Cue in: “Let the record show….

Cue out:….to proceed with the vote.”//

 

Odonga Otto said that Oulanyah had no right to stop opposition MPs from speaking about the bill and according them more time to consult about it before it is passed.

 

He said that the speaker’s ruling was not legitimate adding that opposition MPs will write to the Speaker of Parliament about the conduct of her deputy. He described Oulanyah's conduct as a disgrace to the people he represents. He vowed not to attend parliament again when Oulanyah is presiding.

 

Otto, who had earlier this year noted that he would leave Parliament in 2016, said he had changed his mind about retiring from politics. Instead, he said he is going to seek re-election to represent Omoro County which the Deputy Speaker currently represents.

 

//Cue in: “I cannot come to….

Cue out:…and we want.”//

 

MP Ssekikubo said he was disappointed with Deputy Speaker Oulanyah's conduct adding that the deputy speaker had attempted to pass the bill last Thursday, but was blocked because parliament did not have a quorum. Ssekikubo said he had been informed just in time as opposition MPs were not in the House.

 

He said Oulanyah's decision to try and pass the bill again in this manner demonstrated that he had decided to fight NRM wars instead of being impartial.

 

Ssekikubo said he is not respecting any suspension and he is to appear in the House come Tuesday next week.

 

//Cue in: “It is because….

Cue out:….the Speaker’s eye.”//

 

During the same debate, Muhammed Nsereko, Kampala Central MP, was summoned to the Deputy Speaker's for misbehaving in house. However, Nsereko said he would not respond to the summons because Oulanyah had not followed any rules of procedure to summon him.

 

While the Deputy Speaker said he had taken issue with Nsereko’s temper, the MP acknowledged that the Speaker later found it necessary and accorded him time to speak on the Bill.

 

//Cue in: “How many times….

Cue out:….touches the fundamental.”//

 

It remains to be seen what action will be taken against Otto and whether inquiries into his conduct will be handled by the disciplinary committee of Parliament since he had been suspended from the sitting at the time he tore roll-call lists in the house.

The Public Order Management Bill was tabled in 2011 in what appeared as a government plan to regulate public gatherings at the time of increased cases of protests in the country.

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