Uganda: Police Detain Two Men Who Stormed Parliament Chambers

19 February 2020

Police are interrogating two men who on Wednesday jumped from the Visitors' Gallery usually referred to as Strangers' Gallery, into the Plenary Chambers, where they disrupted debate.

A statement that was issued by Mr Sam Obbo, the Press Secretary in the Office of the Speaker, Datala Ssenjako and Charles Mutasa Kafeero, both aged 36, damaged the railings fluorescent tubes which sparked a noise that was mistaken for gunshots by some people who were watching the proceedings on Closed Circuit cameras and commercial television stations.

Mr Obbo said in the statement that by the time the incident occurred, Parliament was debating a statement that was read by the State Minister for Lands, Ms Persis Namuganza; that dwelt on the Land Information System International conference which is due in Entebbe, and other current issues pertaining to land.

"Upon jumping into the plenary gallery, the two men shouted claiming that corruption stems from Parliament," the statement reads in part. "Preliminary investigations by the police show that the duo had ulterior motives."

Video clips from the House show MPs scampering for safety as security personnel arrested the men.

One male MP could be seen punching one of the intruders who was throwing some pieces of paper at the MPs.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga watched on in bewilderment as a security officer shielded her.

The last time such chaos was witnessed in the plenary was on September 27, 2017, when debate came to a standstill after 25 MPs that had been suspended refused to vacate the chambers as directed by Ms Kadaga.

This prompted security officers dressed in suits to storm the Chambers and forcefully dragged several MPs from the House.

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