SFC raid will never happen again, Oulanyah apologises to MPs

Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah tours exhibition by the Business Technical Vocational Education and Training (BTVET)

Members of the Opposition returned to Parliament amidst claims of anxiety for their safety while inside the House.

This follows the events on Wednesday 27th September in which a number of their colleagues were forcefully manhandled, evicted and detained.

The Opposition MPs wondered whether the Speaker can guarantee their security in the House.

This was after she, in a letter to the President, expressed ignorance about the persons who entered the Chamber and forcefully evicted the legislators who had been suspended.

“I was not one of the Members that were suspended, but I was grabbed from here (Chamber), nearly strangled and bundled onto a waiting van before being dumped in Naggalama Police Station,” said Hon. Ibrahim Ssemujju (FDC, Kira Munic.).

On 27th Sept. 2017 the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, suspended 25 MPs including the Minister of State for Water, Hon. Ronald Kibuule, following disruptions of House proceedings.

The MPs, who had declined to leave the Chamber, were forcefully and violently evicted by plain clothed security officers. Opposition MPs later walked out of the House in protest, after a procedural issue raised by Hon. Winifred Kiiza, the Leader of Opposition was not heard.

During yesterday’s sitting, the Opposition MPs expressed their disappointment over the method used by the security operatives to evict MPs from the Chamber.

“Is it safe for me to attend House now?” Ssemujju asked, adding that, “I am afraid that all the Parliament security was overrun that day because the people unknown to ourselves and the Speaker entered the House and manhandled innocent people.”

Hon. Ssekikubo also noted that the treatment of MPs was dehumanising.

“I found myself being bundled up and arrested by the Police yet we have protection and immunity in the House,” he said.

The Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah said that the events of that day were highly regrettable, and the force used was unnecessary.

“My prayer is that nothing like that ever happens again. The nature of security dictated that we have the Directorate of Police to help the Sergeant at Arms with security. However, what happened that day is unacceptable,” said Hon. Oulanyah.

He assured members of their security while in the Chamber.

“We shall sit with the relevant authorities and deliberate on a smooth way forward in reflection on this incident,” he said.

Oulanyah told the MPs that they are the first line of defence and advised that take caution in their actions.

He acknowledged that the arrest and eviction of MPs who had not been suspended was a gross mistake.

“It was wrong to have the MPs who had not been suspended taken out; it was not procedurally correct. It was irregular and completely out of order,” he added.

In addition, the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Winfred Kiiza noted that, following the decision by Parliament to allow MPs to go and consult over the Constitution Amendment Bill 2017, MPs especially those against the Bill were blocked from holding consultations.

She demanded that the matter is resolved to avoid engaging in running battles with the Police.