Pro-Age Limit Members of Parliament today returned to the house, having completed the three sitting suspension over indiscipline.
The MPs, following the injurious, galling and imaginably embarrassing scuffle with security officers early last week as they were dragged off the floor; today came back looking more dogged and much bolder in terms of the attire.
Supposedly, the MPs intended to kick off from where they left in revolting against amending Article 102 (b) of the constitution to remove the Presidential Age Limit.
Some of them, who included the Opposition Whip Semujju Nganda, came dressed fully in red; crimson, cosmos and other shades, from head to shoe.
The Age Limit issue has been a red affair for the last two weeks or so, and it keeps getting redder it seems.
Members of Parliament opposed to the amendment showed up on Thursday September 21st donning red ribbons on the house floor.
That day, they anticipated introduction of a motion by NRM’s Hon Raphael Magyezi to seek leave of parliament to go work on the Age Limit Bill. Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah didn’t include the motion on the order paper, and he discounted the re kerchiefs.
In the next sitting, the MPs came in bigger numbers wearing the red ribbons. This time Speaker Rebecca Kadaga addressed the red ribbons, asking the MPs to remove them because they were in breach of house rules.
The following day on Wednesday, the MPs resorted to Islamic red hats; which again the speaker was uncomfortable with, saying that she had received complaints from the Muslim community that their attire was being defiled by the politicians.
In the sitting, which was to end with arguably the most dramatic scenes of the parliament’s history, Kadaga seized a bunch of these red hats which she said had been captured by parliament security being smuggled in the house in a box.
MPs were suspend; they missed the tabling of the age bill which was early this week and today they returned, some of them dressed fully in red.
Although none of the MPs has explained how the colour red was adopted for the Age Limit campaign, it appears this is being borrowed from the South African Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a “Marxist-Leninist” political party headed by Julius Malema a self-professed racist and one of the most offensive an controversial politicians on the African continent.
Malema has been described as the “pantomime villain of South African politics,” and “the best friend of controversy.”
His offensive, abrasive nature, his unhidden loathe for people of different races topped with criminal convictions, makes him a real piece of work.
Malema and his EFF which was formed in 2013 adopted wearing red overalls as its uniform, despite being against the rules of the South African Parliament.
They refuse to dress conventionally for the 400-strong house, and threaten to come naked to the floor if they are forced to remove the red jumpsuits.
All 25 EFF MPs in their red overalls, red berets and gumboots are a material nightmare especially to President Jacob Zuma during is his occasional parliamentary addresses.
Malema and his MPs, like their Ugandan counterparts, have more than once been escorted by violently out of the South African parliament for continuously disrupting parliament business.
Malema, formerly good friends with President Zuma, was suspended from the ruling ANC party before forming the EFF.
He says red is originally an EFF colour because it represents the blood that has been shed by those who have died during the struggle for economic freedom.”
According to EFF rhetoric, the red jumpsuits are meant to express solidarity with the country’s domestic workers and manual labourers.
So goes the claims by the Ugandan Age Limit crusaders, who recently launched the “red ribbon campaign.”
The campaign, where Ugandans put on red ribbons and use public means of transport once a week, supposedly aims at “isolating” the rich elite who tend “legitimize injustice.”
FDC’s Col Dr Kizza Besigye while launching the campaign recently said it is intended to bring the elite to identify with the common Ugandans in the fight against life presidency.
While Malema’s EFF fights for economic liberation and to take back the “stolen” black south African land, and the Ugandan pro-age limit on the other hand battle against life presidency; the one thing that colour red on the floor of parliament is synonymous with is …chaos.