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Opposition MPs Walk Out of Parliament amid ‘Age Limit' Controversy :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Opposition MPs Walk Out of Parliament amid ‘Age Limit' Controversy

The leader of Opposition in Parliament Winnie Kiiza led the group out of parliament saying that they could not hang on and support the violation of the rules of procedure.
Opposition legislators have walked out of parliament amid controversy on a report from consultations on a proposal to lift the cap on the presidential age.

The leader of Opposition in Parliament Winnie Kiiza led the group out of parliament saying that they could not hang on and support the violation of the rules of procedure.

She was reacting to a statement by the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga in defence of National Resistance Movement (NRM) party members who were standing in the Chambers due to lack of seats.  The matter had been questioned by Kampala Central MP Muhammed Nsereko.

But Kadaga said the members were not out of order. Kiiza said Kadaga had surrendered the powers of Speaker and opted to support the violation of rules of parliament.

She asked the Speaker to allow MPs who shared the same sentiments with her to first consult before proceeding with parliament business. All Opposition Members of Parliament walked out of the chambers at this moment.

But Kadaga said that it was surprising that the Leader of Opposition is very much concerned with MPs who are standing peacefully and following the day's proceedings. Kadaga then directed all the MPs who were standing to occupy the seats on the opposition side.

Afterwards, the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee chairperson Jacob Oboth-Oboth went ahead and presented a report of the committee arising out of consultations conducted over the last three months. The report endorsed a proposal in the private member's bill by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi to lift the presidential age from the current 75-years limit.

Prior to the walkout, opposition legislators had pleaded with Kadaga to rescind her earlier decision to suspend six legislators, accused of causing chaos in Parliament. The suspended MPs are Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, Allan Ssewanyana, Gerald Karuhanga, Jonathan Odur, Akol Anthony and Mubarak Munyangwa.

“You suspended the members after you had suspended the sitting. May I request that you rescind your decision and have these members back and possibly suspend them officially in a proper manner,” Kiiza said.

She was immediately challenged by Information Minister Frank Tumwebaze who said that if Kiiza wanted to challenge the decision of the Speaker, she had to do that through a motion.

Kadaga also maintained that the MPs will remain suspended since they had violated the rules yet she had warned them before.

“It is a pity that an officer of parliament who is the Leader of Opposition is the one promoting disorder,” Kadaga stated.

Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal also made an effort to convince the Speaker to allow the six MPs come back and represent their constituencies considering that the matter under discussion was very key. But Kadaga said that Ogwal, as a senior member of parliament knew the implication of acting contrary to the rules.                                                                                                                                          

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