The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has asked President Yoweri Museveni to provide an explanation on why unknown operatives attacked Parliament and assaulted legislators in September.
In an unprecedented development, Kadaga demands to know who the security operatives that raided Parliament were and why they raided Parliament without her knowledge.
On September 27, plain clothed personnel suspected to be part of the Special Forces Command (SFC) which is in charge of the President’s security detail entered Parliament and attepted to extract opposition MPs who had defied the Speakers order to leave the chambers.
The previous day, a sitting in which the contentious Age Limit Bill was slated to be tabled had ended prematurely after Speaker suspended 25 MPs for causing commotion to disrupt the Bill from being heard.
The next day, the Speaker ordered the suspended MPs out but they defied. It was after moments of a standoff that the ‘SFC’ personnel stormed the chambers and a brawl erupted as the MPs resisted efforts to forcefully drag them out.
After scenes of violent and physical engagement, the MPs were pushed out and some arrested. Others sustained serious injuries and two of them are still hospitalized.
The incident attracted widespread criticism of Speaker Kadaga whom the opposition has since accused of ordering for the brutal treatment that they were subjected to.
However, in a letter obtained by SoftPower News, authored by Speaker Kadaga and addressed to President Yoweri Museveni, she denies having sanctioned the acts and seeks explanation from the President on the infamous operation.
In the letter titled ‘Invasion of the Parliament precincts by security agencies on September 27’, Kadaga refers to CCTV footage which showed the unknown men walking from the Office of the President towards Parliament.
“After I had requested the Sargent at Arms to remove the Members from the precincts, unknown people entered the chamber and beat up the Members including those not suspended and a fight ensure for over an hour,” the letter dated October 23, 2017 reads in part.
The Speaker adds that; “I have had to view the camera footage of what transpired and noticed people in black suits who are not part of the Parliamentary Police or the staff of the Sargent at Arms beating up Members.”
Kadaga proceeds to demand an explanation on who the unknown operatives are, why they attacked Parliament as well as why they assaulted and arrested the legislators.
“I am seeking an explanation as to the identity, mission and purpose of the unsolicited forces. I am also seeking an explanation about why they assaulted the MPs,” she wrote to the President.
The letter to President Museveni is copied to the Prime Minister, Inspector General of Police, the Minister of Internal Affairs and Commander of Special Forces Command.
“I am also seeking an explanation why the members were arrested, transported and confined at Police stations,” the letter also states.
Furthermore, Kadaga demands from the President to know who commanded the operation “since the Parliamentary Commission/Speaker did not request for any support”.
The Speaker’s denial of having solicited for the help of ‘SFC’ is a new twist in the contentious Age Limit debate especially after the leader of government business in Parliament Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda came out publicly to defend Kadaga for calling in other security agencies to reign in on the unruly MPs.
A week after the brawl in Parliament, Rugunda said; “The Sargent at Arms was at liberty to call for reinforcement from other security agencies to ensure there was order”.
“We salute the Speaker and her Deputy for being extremely tolerant because their orders were defied and disrespected until they were overstretched and took necessary decision to restore calm,” he added
Rugunda went ahead to hail the security agencies for intervening to protect the Speaker and Parliament “which is an important institution in a democracy”.
Kadaga’s letter to the President follows her decision to have opposition MPs Betty Nambooze and Francis Zaake flown abroad to get medical treatment. The two MPs have been in a critical condition since they suffered the assault on the fateful day.