In Uganda news today, a parliamentary session in the little east African country (Uganda), turned into Armageddon when parliamentarians decided to quench their anger on each other last Tuesday.
The ugly brawl in the Chamber happened during the controversial presidential age limit debate.
Chaos started shortly after as Makindye West MP Allan Ssewanyana alleged that guns had been smuggled into the Chamber, with the opposition members pointing a finger at Mukono County North MP and Water minister Ronald Kibuule.
Parliamentarians hurled chairs at each other and swung microphone stands like swords. Men were torn from the room by their blazers and women by their dresses. Some people wailed and cried. Two female lawmakers were carried out of the chamber after collapsing.
“Please take your seats… let us speak with our words, not with our fists,” Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said.
That fight exposed the bitter rift between lawmakers who support President Yoweri Museveni’s efforts to extend his rule and those who oppose it. Museveni, 73, has been president for 31 years.
Uganda news confirms that at least 25 MPs opposed to the proposed constitutional amendment to prolong Museveni’s tenure were forcibly ejected on orders of the speaker for involvement in fighting on Tuesday. All other like-minded MPs then walked out.
Uganda’s two major privately owned TV stations, including a local unit of Kenya’s Nation Media Group, and some radio stations carried Tuesday’s parliamentary session live.
“It is unacceptable that Uganda’s media regulator is threatening to close down media houses simply for doing their job and broadcasting live news events. Ugandans have a right to know what their elected representatives are doing, a right the authorities must facilitate rather than hinder,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
Uganda’s constitution says no one older than 75 can run for president, which would effectively prevent Museveni from running for re-election in 2021. Some parliamentarians want to introduce a bill that would change that law, allowing the president to extend his rule.
Museveni is among a growing group of African leaders — in Zimbabwe, Burundi, Rwanda, Congo and other countries — who are trying to stay in power by changing or defying their countries’ laws.