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Museveni Backs Brutal Eviction of Legislators

Legislators evicted from parliament

By Ronnie Wabomba

President, Yoweri Museveni has defended the brutal eviction of legislators from parliament on Wednesday last week, saying they disobeyed the speaker’s orders.

On Wednesday last week, plain clothed security operatives believed to be from the elite Special Forces Command stormed the house and forcefully evicted 24 legislators opposed to the proposed scrapping of the presidential age limit from the constitution.

The operative stormed the chambers after the legislators, mainly from the opposition disregarded a directive by the speaker, Rebecca Kadaga to vacate the house following their suspicion.

The speaker had earlier on suspended the 24 legislators for disrupting the plenary on Tuesday in an attempt to prevent the Igara West MP, Raphael Magyezi from presenting a motion pushing for the scrapping article 102 (b) from the constitution. Article 102 (b) of the Ugandan constitution restricts the president’s age to between 35 and 75 years of age.

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The ongoing debate of the presidential age limit led to the arrest of some journalists who were covering the protest.

The brutal eviction of the legislators drew outrage from the opposition, civil society, academics and ordinary Ugandans. On Tuesday, a radio listener asked for President, Yoweri Museveni’s opinion on the brutal eviction of the legislators. Museveni was appearing on Open Gate FM in Mbale town in Eastern Uganda as part of his campaign to drum support for the controversial bill seeking to provide for the compulsory acquisition of land for government project.

In his response, Museveni supported the eviction of the legislators, saying they had disobeyed the speaker, adding that Uganda isn’t the first country to evict undisciplined legislators. On Wednesday, the speaker rejected calls from legislators under the Parliamentary Forum on Constitutional Supremacy to apologize over the fracas.

Kadaga said she will not apologize because she didn’t ask any security operative to raid the house. Adding that, “I only followed the rules of procedure.”

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