Friday March 18 2016

NRM top organ to vet next Speaker, deputy

By Yasiin Mugerwa & Solomon Arinaitwe

The ruling party’s Central Executive Committee chaired by President Museveni, will vet the candidates for Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the 10th Parliament.

According to NRM secretary general, Ms Justine Kasule Lumumba, all NRM MPs seeking to contest for the positions of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker must notify the NRM electoral commission chairman, Dr Tanga Odoi, in writing.

Ms Lumumba, quoting section 9 of the 2014 NRM Parliamentary Caucus Rules of Procure, reminded interested MPs that at an appropriate time, CEC shall consider the names of those interested in the two positions and recommend successful candidates to the caucus for election.

The caucus will elect the new Speaker and Deputy Speaker on May 18, a day to the first sitting of the 10th Parliament.
After CEC has vetted the names, Rule 9(4) empowers Dr Odoi to appoint a date, time and place for nomination and election of the NRM candidates for the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
This explains why NRM chairman (President Museveni) on Wednesday stopped campaigns for the two positions and cautioned interested members “to stop wasting time.”

According to members of CEC who requested not to be named because it is considered indiscipline to discuss CEC matters in the media, “party loyalty” is key in determining who should be the next Speaker. To avoid conflict of interest, sources also hinted at a possibility of asking Ms Kadaga, a member of CEC to step aside as CEC discusses her candidature.

In what is shaping into a three-horse race for the Speaker job, Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah is taking on her boss, Ms Rebeca Kadaga, as Foreign Affairs minister, Mr Sam Kutesa’s candidature lurks in the corridors of Parliament and Kyankwanzi, where NRM is currently holding its nine-day retreat.

Sources at Kyankwanzi told Daily Monitor that Mr Oulanyah and others had started campaigning using proxies.
Ms Kadaga has been Speaker since May 2011. She is the first female to be elected Speaker in the history of Parliament. She succeeded Vice President, Edward Ssekandi, who served as Speaker from 2001 to 2011. She was a deputy speaker under Ssekandi. She has been in Parliament since 1989.

Mr Oulanyah, who is seen as pro-government Speaker as a result of his handling of controversial Bills, defeated FDC’s Odonga Otto (Aruu) for deputy speaker. He chaired the House Legal Committee in the 7th Parliament that handled the lifting of the term limits as had been enshrined in the 1995 Constitution. Oulanyah crossed from UPC to join NRM party.

And in the race for the Deputy Speaker, the outspoken NRM legislator, Mr Theodore Ssekikubo (Rwemiyaga), and FDC’s fresher, Mr Denis Oguzu Lee (Maracha County), and Mr Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East Independent), are interested in the position. However, more NRM MPs as well as Opposition legislators and independents are expected to join the contest for Speaker and Deputy before May 18.

Commenting on the NRM chances of retaining the position of Speaker and Deputy Speaker, Ms Lumumba said: “All parties are at liberty to front candidates, but they cannot defeat NRM with majority in the House.”

The NRM party has 301 MPs out of 458 legislators expected in the 10th Parliament.