The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Thomas Tayebwa, took action yesterday by suspending five members of the Opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) party for three consecutive sittings. These suspended MPs include Ms Joyce Bagala, Mr Francis Zaake, Mr Frank Kabuye, Mr Derrick Nyeko, and Ms Betty Nambooze.
According to Mr Alex Esagala, the senior press secretary to the Deputy Speaker, the suspension was a result of the NUP members continuously disrupting House proceedings and turning Parliament into what was described as a marketplace, thus violating the rules of procedure.
The suspension of these MPs followed a disagreement among the legislators about whether to play a video that purportedly depicted acts of brutality against NUP party leader Robert Kyagulanyi, commonly known as Bobi Wine, and some of his supporters. The video, presented by the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Mr Mathias Mpuuga, highlighted what was claimed to be unfair arrests of Bobi Wine and his supporters.
Amidst the disagreement, the Deputy Speaker, Mr Tayebwa, attempted to resolve the issue, initially suggesting that the video be played. However, technical difficulties arose, and some MPs, particularly from the Opposition, refused to comply with the proceedings. After several attempts to reach a resolution, the Deputy Speaker ultimately suspended the session and subsequently suspended the five MPs.
In response to the suspension, Mr Mpuuga expressed his dissatisfaction, emphasizing that the suspension was a minor issue compared to the larger concerns of upholding constitutional order, the rule of law, and human rights in the country. He also implied that the objections to playing the video were motivated by its depiction of alleged human rights violations and the mistreatment of political leaders.