11 January 2013

Uganda: Defence Minister Kiyonga Tells MPs to 'Behave'

Defence minister Dr. Crispus Kiyonga has cautioned fellow legislators against making Ugandans lose confidence in Parliament by conducting themselves in ways that sully the institution's image.

He said such behaviour is a security threat.

In a meeting with the rules committee of Parliament over what he referred to as "regrettable" scenes during the oil Bill debate last year, Kiyonga said the public has a lot of confidence in Parliament and undermining it can cause "the military to intervene".

"Even soldiers, just like all Ugandans, are watching. We should not take their discipline for granted. If the military feels the country is in the hands of wrong politicians, some officers might be forced to intervene in the name of refocusing the country's future," Kiyonga said.

Asked by committee lead counsel and Jim Muhwezi (Rujumbura County MP) whether he was insinuating that some elements in the army can contemplate staging a coup against the Government if they are dissatisfied, Kiyonga refused to rule out the possibility.

"It was a regrettable occurrence in our democracy," Kiyonga said, during his submission in which he discussed a number of issues pertaining to the business in the House, adding that: "Symbolically, MPs ousted their own Speaker."

Stopping short of faulting the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, over what he called "failure to exert her authority in the debate" unlike her deputy, Jacob Oulanyah, who has proved successful in controlling the house Bukonjo West MP warned against parliament losing its luster in the eyes of the public.

Kiyonga named Beatrice Anywar as the MP who tried to grab the mace.

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