5 December 2012

Uganda: NRM Whip - I Led Debate Chaos

Justine Kasule Lumumba, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) chief whip has said she was the ring leader of members of the ruling party causing chaos in parliament last week.

Lumumba said this while appearing before the parliamentary committee on rules, discipline and privileges that is investigating last week's fracas in parliament over the disagreement in the controversial clause 9 of the oil bill.

She says that she saw the parliament had turned rowdy without following any house procedure which left her with no other option but to command members from the ruling side to react.

On 27th Nov last week the house was adjourned prematurely when some MPs wanted to vote on the oil bill while opposition and a few NRM MPs wanted it discussed. Failure to agree on the best move led to chaos.

The speaker suspended parliament on Tuesday and asked the a committee to find out the individuals who could have sparked off the chaos .The chief whip told the committee she consulted the leader of government business that day for advice when parliament turned rowdy and she got no response thus leading her to act.

Lumumba however defended members of parliament who were sighted in the fracas saying that instead of punishing any member they should be cautioned.

She says that there have been several incidences where parliament has been caught in such a fracas but no one has ever been punished for such.

Last week five ministers led by Lumumba including the Attorney General Peter Nyombi, Jessica Alupo, Chrispus Kiyonga and Okello Oryem were thrown out of the rules, privileges and discipline committee of parliament after they refused to take oath.

Her response was also echoed by some opposition MPs who criticized speaker Rebecca Kadaga for failing to control the house.

The MPs said that there was no reason for suspending parliamentary sessions.

Rubaga South MP John Ken Lukyamuzi together with Aruu county MP Odonga Otto told the committee that what happened was inevitable given that the speaker did not follow the rules of procedure and did not make any efforts to calm the discontented voices.

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