State Minister of Internal Affairs Jeje Odongo has denied accusations that soldiers from outside parliament this morning were caught hiding inside both the Catholic and Anglican Chapels of Parliament.
Odongo, on the orders of Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, explained to the house that while it is true that unknown people were found in the chapels, these were not external soldiers.
The Minister also denied the claims that these were found eating inside the chapel.
His explanation came after Speaker Kadaga demanded to know who the strangers in the churches were, having in the past few days banned external security agents from the house
“I told you I want to know whoever is here. If these people were parliamentary police, why were they eating inside the chaplaincy? If you have come to pray, you don’t eat. I want to know who these people were before we proceed.”
In response, Minister Odongo said when he received information; he went down to the chapels and found that the said intruders were in fact parliamentary policemen.
He said he engaged the Sargent at Arms who told him the keys to the Chapels are kept by the leadership of the faiths.
“I went there to find out if there were people other than the authorized police men. I went with the commandant of parliament police and we found that they were policemen eating but not in the chapel.
“Indeed, there were utensils that had been used by the policemen but they were in the corridor but not in the chapel. It is not true that the chapel was used as eating places.
The Minister’s response angered some of the MPs, who shouted him down.
Hon Barnabas Tinkasimire took to the floor and slammed the minister as a liar.
“We went there to find if they were praying, we picked hundreds of plates and cups. We were intercepted but we overpowered the policemen,” he said before presenting the said items on the table.
Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa, sighting a stalemate, advised the speaker to allow more time for the matter to be fully investigated.
“This happened a few hours ago and you as the Speaker have not had time to investigate. The Minister has given his statement, some members are no satisfied. Others will say their views are correct. The Sargent at Arms and the Minister of Security should be given time to investigate and we come to the bottom of it.”
Speaker Kadaga ordered the Clerk of Parliament to prepare a report on what transpired.