Uganda’s deputy speaker of parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, has apologized over the chaos that broke out during the heated debate on the Public Order Management bill, which forced him to suspend four legislators.
They are Ibrahim Semujju Nganda, the Kyadondo East MP, Theodre Sekikubo, Lwemiyaga County, Odonga Otto, Aruu County and Soroti Woman MP Angelline Osegge.
Shortly after suspending the MPs, Oulanya also demanded that they apologize to the house before they are readmitted. However, the MPs rejected the directive saying it was unlawful and vowed to attend parliament without apologizing to Oulanya.
Last week, Ibrahim Semujju Nganda, the Kyadondo East MP was violently thrown out of the house on the orders of Oulanya drawing angry reactions from opposition MPs and certain sections of the public.
On Tuesday afternoon, Oulanya apologized to the house and unconditionally readmitted the MPs. In his communication to the House, Oulanyah explained that he allowed the MPs to return to the house following a meeting with Nathan Nandala Mafabi, the Leader of the Opposition so as to allow business to continue. Oulanyah said he does not feel any smaller or any weaker by apologizing and therefore apologized to the house on behalf of the MPs.
He however, warned the legislators that whoever breaches the rules of procedure next time should not count on his magnanimity. Oulanya explained that the rules are meant for the better management of the House.
Nathan Nandala Mafabi, the Leader of the Opposition thanked Oulanyah for his decision and also apologized for anything that could have gone wrong on the side of the opposition.
He said the speaker’s gesture shows the level of democracy in the house saying that is the best way to go. Nandala however, expressed concern about the strangers who participated in the forceful eviction of Semujju from the house saying they should be charged.
On his part, Amama Mbabazi, the country’s Prime Minister and Leader of Government Business in the House, thanked Oulanyah for his magnanimity and noted that the conduct of some members was an assault on the dignity of the House.
He noted that he intends to move a motion to ensure that parliament considers the conduct of MPs in order to restore the sanctity and dignity of the House.
Sam Otada, who spoke on behalf of Independent Members of Parliament thanked Oulanyah and congratulated the spirit of consensus. He noted that what happened is a clear testimony of what can happen if all members decide not to play by the rules. He appealed for consensus building in the day to day running of their work in the House.
MPs Ibrahim Semujju and Odongo Otto freely entered the chambers following the apology by the deputy speaker amidst tight security.