Mr Denis Oguzu Lee has thrown his hat in the ring for the position of deputy speaker of the 11th Parliament, becoming the eighth legislator to express interest in the role.
Others in the race for deputy speaker include Mr Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central), Mr David Bahati (Ndorwa West), Mr Thomas Tayebwa (Ruhinda North), Ms Anita Among (Bukedea Woman), Mr Jacob Oboth (West Budama Central), and Ms Robina Rwakoojo (Gomba West).
However, the Maracha County Member of Parliament on Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) ticket, is going against the position of the party, which is fronting another candidate for the same position.
Mr Oguzu last Wednesday also went against his party’s stance and attended President Museveni’s swearing-in ceremony.
Mr Oguzu told this publication that the elections of speaker and deputy speaker are guided by the laws and do not necessarily require the backing of political parties.
He also said his decision is strategic to his party considering that the party is national in character and must be seen to offer a platform for all the leaders across the country.
“So my standing gives them a chance to show to the rest that they are national in character and do not favour particular regions. We might not have been in that Parliament long enough, but we have been around too long to know what has become of that office,” Mr Oguzu said in an interview last week.
We were unable to get a comment from FDC as party president Patrick Oboi Amuriat did not answer our repeated calls.
Mr Oguzu said after careful evaluation of the performance of the past deputy speakers, including that of the 10th Parliament, he found out that the office needs reorganisation to address the needs of the population.
“This office needs urgent reforms. It is one of those offices, which failed to execute its mandate to a degree of impartiality acceptable to Ugandans. It is an office Ugandans will never forget for their state of indebtedness, which now stands at Shs1.5m per person. It is an office, which put into question on several occasions Uganda’s democratic standing,” Mr Oguzu said.
He said the office of the deputy speaker has ignored equity and welfare concerns of MPs, and turned Parliament into a rubber stamp by not allowing debate and in-depth scrutiny of issues.
“For instance, the NDP [National Development Plan] III, a tool for our collective posterity, literally got passed without debate despite many areas being left out. That office has turned Parliament into a clearing house for many last-minute yet uncalled-for-borrowing demands and supplementary budgets. That is the office I seek to reform so that trust of the people can be restored in the institution of Parliament,” he said.
Mr Oguzu said while the ruling party believes that it will ride on its numbers to take the position, he is sure that patriotic MPs will vote for the one who cherishes the ideals of true democracy, which he aspires to lead.
“I know, as many of you do, that this will be no easy ride. The enemies of progress will ask for our law degrees and where we come from. They will question our numbers and affiliations. Several colleagues will question our ability to deliver,” Mr Oguzu said.
He said this is what MPs of the 11th Parliament must avoid if the country is to move forward.