In a twist of events and perhaps a cleansing move, the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga today directed all non-parliament security withdrawn from the precincts of Parliament. She also ordered all security personnel attached to Parliament to wear police uniform with their name-tags attached.
Her directive comes following complaints from some MPs mainly the opposition that their security while in the House was not guaranteed following the violent eviction of MPs on September 27 during the tabling of the age limit bill.
In her communication to the House, Kadaga ordered the Sergeant-at-Arms, Ahmed Kagoye, the in-charge parliament security to ensure all the ‘illegal entrances and exits’ into Parliament from the President’s Office are sealed off.
Kadaga singled out the access route on the fourth floor of the Parliament building connecting to the Office of the President, through which some people can access some areas within the House without going through the security checkpoints.
“This poses a danger to the premises. I am now instructing the Sergeant-at-Arms to seal that place on the fourth floor of the Parliament side,” Kadaga said.
“I am further instructing that all staff of Parliament Police must henceforth wear uniform and they must have name tags,” she added.
Kadaga did not stop at directing Kagoye on the security but also the Clerk to Parliament Jane Kibirige to ensure that the names and the ranks of police officers deployed at Parliament are submitted in writing to the Office of Speaker.
“Parliament is a civilian institution; all other security organs if they are here should withdraw and go to where they are supposed to go,” Kadaga said.
Kadaga's new orders are in sharp contrast to her earlier statements when she defended the heavy deployment and forceful eviction of legislators from the House in September when she agued then that the filibusterring MPs were plotting a 'coup' against Parliament by not allowing debate in the House.
Before Kadaga’s directive to have non parliament security withdrawn, security at Parliament was not as tight as yesterday.
Security within and around Parliament had been beefed up following meetings of Kadaga with security bosses and the prime minister on Monday evening to draw out a plan on how to avert possible chaos ahead of the anticipated tabling of the ‘age limit bill’ reports by the legal and parliamentary affairs committee.
In September, security forces, believed to be presidential guards (Special Forces Command) invaded the chambers and violently evicted MPs that were suspected to be opposed to Igara west Raphael Magyezi’s controversial bill which seeks among other things to scrap the presidential age limits from the Constitution.