✳ NRM CHOICE FOR SPEAKER Jacob Oulanyah
✳ NRM CHOICE FOR DEPUTY SPEAKER Anita Among
Entebbe, Uganda | JOAN AKELLO -URN | A decision by National Resistance Movement Party organ to back outgoing Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanya for Speaker of the 11th Parliament is drawing mixed reaction.
Kadaga has been at the helm of the legislature for the last ten years having been Deputy Speaker before. Now the NRM’s second top most organ says Jacob Oulanyah should replace Kadaga .
Some membrs of the NRM Central Executive committee (CEC) accused Alitwala Rebecca Kadaga of allegedly bribing MPs to vote her for a third term as speaker. She is also allegedly accused of causing tension among the three arms of government during her ten-year tenure as Speaker of Parliament.
Oyam county South MP, Betty Amongi Ongom could not hold back her excitement when she spoke to Uganda Radio Network.
Amongi, also an outgoing Minister for Kampala is one of the Campaign Managers for Jacob Oulanyah regrets the fact that a woman may lose the post of speaker but she is happy with the decision taken by the Central Executive Committee (CEC)
“We are very happy that Oulanyah has got the backing of CEC,” Amongi added, ” It is very sad that we had to achieve this through sacrificing a woman.”
Betty Amongi who previously served as chair of Uganda Women Parliamentary Group(UWOPA) says they are to shift their lobbying skills to have a woman appointed vice President if Parliament votes Jacob Oulanyah as Speaker. Alitwala Rebecca Kadaga has however in the past publicly said that she will not accept the post of Vice President.
During the heated campaigns between Kadaga and Oulanyah, some people from Team Oulanyah had urged Kadaga to step down and be appointed Vice President. Kadaga reportedly rejected the proposal and insisted on seeking a third term.
Kadaga, who was Deputy Speaker for ten years has not yet given a formal communication on her next course of action after CEC endorsed Oulanyah. But members of her campaign team say she will present herself as an Independent candidate.
Composition of the 11th parliament
The eleventh Parliament has 529 legislators. Of these 337 belong to NRM, 73 are independent and the remaining 119 belong to opposition political parties. 43 of the 73 independent MPs “are NRM leaning” and therefore prop the NRM numbers to 380 in Parliament, if all of them comply with the CEC decision tomorrow.
“We have 280 MPs in the NRM caucus who support Oulanyah and even in parliament, we have good numbers,” Amongi says, ” Currently we are talking to the opposition and so far we have 7 NUP MPs who support Oulanyah.
Another MP who is in Team Oulanyah agrees with Amongi. He however says many MPs, both old and new have been intimidated by Team Kadaga members and as a result, have not declared their support openly for Oulanyah.
“You see, most MPs have been quiet about this race but now that they know that we shall have a new Speaker, they are going to speak loudly by voting for him on Monday,” the source says.
Kasilo County MP, Elijah Okupa, who is Team Kadaga, says he is waiting for instructions from his candidate. “But as of now, I do not know what will happen next.”
“During campaigns, you have to plan for when you win or lose a race, so let’s wait for our candidate to tell us what to do next.” Okupa says.
However, Bugiri Municipality MP Asuman Basalirwa wants her to stand as an Independent candidate.
Some sources agree with Basalirwa, saying she must take the fight to Parliament so that MPs decide on who should lead them.
However veteran journalist Andrew Mwenda, has tweeted saying Kadaga will commit “political suicide” if she runs as an independent because “she has no chance”. He advises her to instead “pull out of the race tonight and you will be made Vice President”
However, Kilak North MP, Anthony Akol thinks it is unlikely that “President Yoweri Museveni will allow Kadaga to run as an independent candidate because if she wins, he and the NRM will be humiliated.”
He says that Museveni and Kadaga will hold discussions before tomorrow’s election and this will “result in an agreement or disagreement between the two.”
But whether or not Kdaga defies her party, Akol is convinced that the CEC decision has boosted support for Kiira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda of the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC.
“If Kadaga does not run tomorrow, then some of her supporters will swing to Ssemujju. But he has to do a lot of lobbying between today and tomorrow morning,” Akol says.
Caucus set to confirm, pick deputy
Meanwhile, the NRM Parliamentary Caucus meeting is underway at State House, Entebbe. The meeting will choose the flag-bearer for the Deputy Speaker race.
This after CEC failed to reach consensus on the six candidates namely Bukedea Woman MP Anita Among, Kakumiro Woman MP Robinah Nabbanja,and Ruhinda North MP Thomas Tayebwa. Others are Gomba West MP Robinah Rwakoojo, West Budama North MP Jacob Oboth-Oboth and Theodore Ssekikubo of Lwemiyaga County.
However, the leading candidates are Oboth and Rwakoojo because they have a legal background.
About NRM CEC
The Central Executive Committee is the second-highest organ of the National Resistance Movement-NRM party after the National Delegates Conference. Its membership includes the chairman of the party Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, his two national vice-chairpersons, Hajji Moses Kigongo and Rebecca Kadaga, six regional chairpersons who are joined by the Secretary-General of the NRM, her deputy, the treasurer, chairpersons of leagues such as the youth, women, veterans, the Prime Minister and the Government Chief Whip.
According to the NRM constitution, CEC performs functions such as providing and exercising political leadership in the country, formulating policy for consideration by the National Executive Conference (NEC), supervising the day to day conduct of the NRM’s activities, appointing organizational functionaries from amongst members of NRM and propagating NRM policies.
CEC also recommends candidates seeking nomination for the offices of National Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General and National Treasurer and Presidential candidate for NRM. It implements the decisions of the National Conference and NEC among others.