Tensions that have been boiling at parliament between members of parliament who support the lifting of the presidential age limit and those opposed to it, spiralled out of control on Tuesday.
After a hot exchange in the corridors of parliament, Ayivu County MP Bernard Atiku engaged in a physical scuffle with Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga, one of the MPs supporting the lifting of age limit.
The fight stemmed from an alleged incident in which Abiriga reportedly called Atiku “stupid” while chatting with other legislators.
Atiku was chatting with Hon David Abala (Ngora County) when Abiriga burst out: “Abala stop talking to that stupid man”.
Abiriga then went ahead and accused Atiku of disowning him as a fellow MP from West Nile region since he [Abiriga] is in cohorts with Privatisation Minister, Evelyn Anite.
An angry Atiku spat back, threatening to beat Abiriga black and blue to which the Arua MP replied arrogantly: “come and beat me!”
Punches in the house
Then Atiku literary flew, throwing a couple of punches at Abiriga sending him crashing to the wall, in a more shocking than painful episode.
Abiriga would not go down that easily, not without a fight: the Arua “yellow-man” too boxed his adversary.
But Atiku was quick. He gripped Abiriga by the neck, in a determined attempt to strangle him and the two swang back and forth but alas…their colleagues Abala and Gaffa Mbwatekamwa (Kasambya) rushed to the rescue.
It took the muscle power of some MPs who stumbled upon the rare scene and police officers deployed at parliament to separate the warring MPs.
After his “iron fingers” had been, with much difficulty, plucked off Abiriga’s neck, Atiku now launched a verbal artillery featuring their differences in West Nile as well as the age limit bill.
Abiriga was among the first National Resistance Movement (NRM) MPs to came out publically, publicising their support for the lifting of the age limit bill.
After today’s beating, Abiriga asked for a bottle of cold water to cool off the hot sweat falling down his spine.