The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has claimed that the 25 Members of Parliament (MPs) she suspended last week were attempting to stage a coup d’etat, hence her decisive action to stop them.
She made the claim while addressing at the International Day for Older Persons Celebrations that were held in Kiboga district last weekend.
“Those MPs wanted to stage a coup d’ etat. They even reached an extent of blocking the Prime Minister [Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda] from speaking. How can they refuse the Prime Minister to speak?” she asked.
“That means that if we fold hands, they will wake one day and say we don’t want the national budget to be read because we don’t want it,” Kadaga added.
Kadaga’s comments come in the wake of last Wednesday’s s chaotic scenes in which Opposition leaning MPs fought with plain clothed security agencies to try to resist the dismissal from Parliament.
The MPs had opposed the the tabling of the age limit removal motion by Igara West MP Rafael Magyezi. The motion, backed by the ruling NRM caucus and Cabinet seeks to remove the top and lower age limits prescribed in Uganda’s constitution for anyone to stand for president.
President Museveni, who is 73 years now, is believed to be main force behind the campaign with a perceived intention to rule indefinately. In 2021, Museveni will have spent 35 years in power.
Despite Kadaga’s claims, the rebellious MPs appear to have scored points in the public gallery judging by the debate ongoing on mainstream as well as social media.
Last weekend, the three NRM MPs were attacked by angry voters as people challenged their representatives for supporting the removal of age limits, which they opposed.
The MPs who received hostile reception by their voters were Godfrey Kiwanda (Mityana North) Judith Nabakooba (Mityana Women MP) and James Kakooza (kabula county, Lyantonde district).
Besides the attempted violence, different religious leaders used their pulpits to warn the government ignoring the public’s opposition to the #AgeLimit removal.
Kampala Arch diocese Bishop and the head of the Catholic Church in Uganda, Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga is one of those who voiced their discontent on the MPs forceful eviction last week calling it unfortunate and regrettable.
“What happened last week when MPs were being beaten up is a shame. Whenever that video plays on the television, I feel bad. It should not have happened,” Lwanga said.
At Namirembe, the seat of the Anglican Church, Bishop Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira accused NRM leaders of deliberatly refusing to hear people’s concerns by going ahead with the age limit bill. Both members of the clergy warned of instability arising from opposition to the unpopular amendments.