The chaotic scenes that played out in Parliament this week, have attracted mixed views on the health of Uganda’s democracy. While some have condemned the way the opposition MPs ‘desecrated’ the sanctity of Parliament by stepping on chairs and tables, a considerable number of Ugandans have hailed the behaviour of the MPs for ‘putting up a spirited fight’, despite their numerical weakness.
Captured on mobile phones and posted on social media, the chaotic scenes were not only the first of their kind in the history of Uganda, they will travel far beyond Uganda’s borders and add to the already unpalatable view that Africa is not willing to let go of its dictators.
The fighting that was sparked off by the decision by the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to suspend 25 of the Members of Parliament, mostly from the Opposition, for fighting on Monday when the first attempt to present the Age Limit motion was first presented.
Sources from Parliament revealed to The Sunrise that the government responded with full crude force when it deployed well-known ‘thugs’ to arrest the errant MPs and punched them hard while out.
A number of Ugandans hailed the ‘rebel MPs’ as courageous because they dared the majority and demonstrated that Ugandans are not willing to take Museveni’s life presidency project without a fight.
DP’s President General Norbert Mao condemned Speaker Kadaga for permitting plain clothed security officials to invade Parliament.
“This is the first time that the chamber of Parliament has been invaded by members of the armed forces dressed in civilian clothes. We condemn in the strongest terms the invasion of Parliament by the military in a manner most undignified. If the aim of the Speaker’s order (unjustified as it was) was the suspension of the members, it could have been enforced in another manner without violence,” said Mao.
Ramathan Ggoobi, the MUBS economics lecturer also observed that the ‘Red Ribbon’ MPs did what their voters want them to do.
“Sometimes I doubt one of the key assumptions in economics – that humans are rational. However, today I understood why voters opted for this caliber of MPs.
It could only be them to pull off what they did. No old-school ‘honourable’ could do what this group has done today. Kudos to their voters. They knew the appropriate calibre of legislators to deploy at this point in time.
They might lose the war; but certainly they’ve won a few battles.” Meanwhile at a press conference held at Hotel African on Thursday, the expelled MPs vowed to fight on.