Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Thirteen National Resistance Movement (NRM) MPs have expressed interest in the position of Speaker of Parliament.
These include the Deputy Speaker Anita Among, Deputy Attorney General Jackson Kafuuzi, Minister of State for Defence Jacob Oboth Oboth, Jackson Atima Lee Buti, Arua Central MP, and Tororo Woman MP Sarah Opendi.
Others are Dokolo South MP Felix Okot Ogongo, Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Ssekikubo, Kagoma North MP Kintu Brandon, Minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng, Minister of State for Sports Hamson Obua, Florence Asiimwe, the Masindi Woman MP, John Amos Okot, the Agago North MP, and Pius Wakabi, the Bugahya County MP.
The position of Speaker fell vacant after the death of Omoro County MP Jacob Oulanyah. He died on Sunday from a hospital in Seattle, USA where he had been taken for specialized treatment last month.
At the time of his death, Oulanyah had only presided over parliament business for 9 months and 24 days since his election to the position on 24th May 2021.
On Monday, Cabinet set March 25 as the date for the election of a new speaker of Parliament.
This prompted the ruling NRM party to call for expression of interest from MPs.
On Tuesday, Dr. Tanga Odoi, the party EC Chairman started receiving applications from MPs at 9 am at the party headquarters.
The first person to submit forms was the Deputy Speaker Anita Among through her Personal Assistant Mary Athieno. Among did not submit her application in person after Odoi told journalists that she could not come due to medical grounds.
Odoi also noted that they have banned any processions by those expressing interest in the position since the country is still mourning Oulanyah.
Jacob Oboth told journalists that he is the best candidate for the position.
He added that he has joined the race to ensure that he accomplishes what Oulanyah had planned to do. Oboth said that he is ready to resign his ministerial position if he is endorsed by the party.
Kafuuzi said that he is suitable for the position of Speaker. He promised to ensure unity and the integrity of parliament.
Jackson Atima said that he has been so keen on the procedures of parliament and how business is conducted. He said that he will emulate the vision and plans of the late Oulanyah.
The applications will be forwarded to the Central Executive Committee (CEC) chaired by President Yoweri Museveni who will on Wednesday discuss the candidates and make endorsements.
After this stage, the NRM Parliamentary Caucus will then sit on Thursday to endorse a candidate for the position before the election for a new Speaker on Friday.