Among joins race to replace Oulanyah

President Museveni (with hat) and wife Janet are seen off by then Parliament Speaker Jacob Oulanyah (2nd left) and his deputy Anita Among after the State of the Nation Address at Kololo Independence Grounds in 2021. PHOTO | ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

What you need to know:

  • This publication Tuesday morning confirmed West Budama South MP Jacob Oboth's resignation from his position as State Minister for Defence to contest for Parliament Speakership.
  • Mr Oboth is expected to pick nomination forms from the ruling NRM party later on Tuesday.
  • By Tuesday morning, at least four names had prominently featured as potential replacements for Oulanyah.

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Ms Anita Among, last night joined a growing number of aspirants for Speaker race. She is expected to pick nomination forms at the NRM party headquarters at 11am today, the party Caucus vice chairperson Herbert Kinobere, said in a message to members.

Parliament Spokesman Chris Obore last night dismissed reports that Ms Among had resigned ahead of the contest, arguing that there is no such legal requirement. The election is expected on Friday.

A flurry of meetings, phone calls and clashing programmes characterised the mood at Parliament yesterday with several legislators either showing interest or being fronted to replace Jacob Oulanyah as speaker.

Several legislators could be seen dashing from one board room to the other catching up with fast paced events after government announced that Parliament will on Friday convene to replace Oulanyah who died in Seattle, United States, on Sunday.

Later in the afternoon, President Museveni issued a directive to all the ministers who have interest to contest for the seat to resign by closure of business yesterday. It was not immediately clear how many ministers had resigned by press time.

As the day wore down, at least four names had prominently featured as potential replacements for Oulanyah.

They are Ms Among, who is also the Bukedea Woman MP,  Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Hillary Onek (Palabek), State minister for Sports Denis Hamson Obua (Ajuri), and State minister for Defence Jacob Oboth Oboth (West Budama South).

By closure of yesterday, there was intense lobbying, with different groups organising meetings both within and outside Parliament.

Article 82(4) of the constitution of Uganda provides that subject to Clause (4) of Article 81, “no business shall be transacted in Parliament other than election to the office of Speaker at any time that office is vacant.”

Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the minister for ICT and National Guidance, said the Cabinet yesterday sat at State House Entebbe and resolved that basing on the constitutional requirements, Parliament shall convene on Friday to fill the vacancy of the speaker.

“The election of the speaker in Parliament is provided for in the law. My announcement means that political parties can start their internal processes to get flag bearers for the position of the speaker,” he said. The ruling NRM party shortly after issued calls for expression of interest to its members with a deadline of 5pm today.

Left to Right: Jacob Oulanyah, President Museveni, Common Wealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland, then IGG Irene Mulyagonja during the 9th Common Wealth Regional Conference of Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Africa at Lake Victoria Serena Hotel Entebbe on May 6, 2019. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA

Dr Tanga Odoi, the NRM electoral commission, chairperson said they shall present names of the interested candidates to the NRM Central Executive Committee, which shall recommend names for election to the NRM Parliamentary Caucus on Thursday.

“Any member who wishes to contest for the position of NRM flag bearer for Speaker of the 11th Parliament shall deliver a written expression of interest and updated curriculum vitae (CV) to the chairperson, NRM Electoral Commission at Plot 13, Kyadondo Road between 9am and 5pm on Tuesday (today),” the notice states.

Impeccable sources told this newspaper that President Museveni spent much of Sunday and yesterday calling different legislators both in his ruling NRM party and the opposition. Sources said the President was particularly building consensus among Acholi MPs to select a replacement of Oulanyah who hailed from the sub-region. One of the legislators he called was Anthony Akol, the Acholi Parliamentary Group chairperson.

“The President called MP Anthony Akol and wanted to meet him. Akol, however, refused to commit himself to meet the President because he did not explain the agenda for the meeting,” the source said.

“Onek is the most senior Member of Parliament from that region and so the President would want to know what support he has there. Also he would want to know whether it is Among or Onek who must take the position,” the source added.

Our sources at Parliament said both Ms Among and Mr Onek held several meetings with different legislators yesterday to drum up support for their bids.

Earlier on, Kilak South MP Gilbert Olanya made a passionate plea to the legislators to choose the next Speaker from northern Uganda.

“You know our son was the Speaker and if this NRM government has goodwill, let the speakership go back to Acholi Sub-region. We pray that someone should come up and offer himself to be the speaker of Parliament from Acholi,” Mr Olanya said.

Potential candidates

Anita Among
The current deputy Speaker has been presiding over most of the House business in the absence of Jacob Oulanyah. She joined Parliament in 2016 and has a Bachelor of Business Administration (Accounting), a Master of Business Administration (Accounting) and a Bachelor of Laws from Makerere University. She is 48 years old.

Hilary Onek, Palabek MP
He is the minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees and Palabek County MP. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master’s degree in Business Administration. He is 73 years of age.

Jacob Oboth Oboth, West Budama
The 50-year-old also serves as State minister for Defence.
He holds a Bachelor of Laws from Makerere University and a Master’s degree in Election and Cyber Law from the University of Minnesota. 

Theodore Ssekikubo, Lwemiyaga 
The legislator informed journalists yesterday he is contesting for the seat. He holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree, Bachelor of Laws and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. He is 52 years.

Denis Hamson Obua, Ajuri County
Aged 42, the State minister for Sports holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and Social Administration and a Master of Public Administration from Uganda Management Institute.

*Compiled by Franklin Draku, Esther Oluka & Benson Tumusime