The National Unity Platform (NUP) has formed a five-member committee to research on who the party should back for the speakership race in Parliament, Daily Monitor can reveal.
The committee, according to sources who attended the closed-door session during the retreat in Jinja on Saturday, has been given two weeks to revert to the members with a detailed report in their next retreat.
“This was a contentious issue and members were divided on whom to back. Some of them want [Rebecca] Kadaga (Speaker of Parliament), others openly fronted Opposition candidate Ssemujju Nganda (of Forum for Democratic Change) and now this committee will help settle this stalemate,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
According to the source, the team will be led by party secretary general David Lewis Rubongoya, deputised by Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze and party spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi as well as another MP who was not named.
Mr Ssenyonyi confirmed the formation of the committee but declined to name the members, citing the sensitivity of the work they are going to do.
“None of the members you have named is among them. We have decided not to make the committee public because of the work they are going to do. We want to protect them as much as possible because they could be compromised in the due process,” he said.
The speakership race has so far attracted four candidates, including Ms Kadaga and her deputy Jacob Oulanyah who are both from the ruling NRM party. Others, all from the Opposition, are Mr Ssemujju and Bukoto Central MP-elect Robert Ssebamala of the Democratic Party (DP).
If NUP doesn’t front their own candidate, then the 57 MPs elected on the party ticket will likely throw their weight behind the individual endorsed by the party leadership in the 11th Parliament.
In less than a month, the new Parliament will be sworn in as NUP will take over from FDC as leaders of the Opposition who will be charged with naming the shadow Cabinet as well as accountability committees in the House.
But on Friday, NUP MPs spent a better part of the day discussing whether the item of Leader of Opposition be included on the agenda.
The matter differed for further discussion in the next retreat. Mr Ssenyonyi said: “The matter of LoP will be discussed by the party.”