Uganda’s 28 longest serving MPs in eleventh Parliament

Tuesday January 19 2021
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Parliament during plenary session before Covid-19 outbreak. PHOTO/ FILE

By Misairi Thembo Kahungu

At least 28 of the 499 MPs elected on January 14 have served for 15 or more years in Parliament, making them the longest serving legislators since President Museveni captured power in 1986.
  
Elected last Thursday were 353 directly elected MPs and 146 district Woman MPs. Each of the 10 new cities elected a Woman MP to add on the 136 elected by the districts including Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).
Daily Monitor analysed the list of MPs who won the Thursday polls and picked out those who have been in Parliament since 2006 or earlier. 

The list also includes those who lost elections in between the first term and the current term but were  re-elected last week.
Among those who have had their stay in Parliament disrupted by defeats midway since but have been re-elected to Parliament are: Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi (Rujumbura County), Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire (Ruhinda County), former Education Minister Jessica Alupo (Woman MP, Katakwi), Dr James Nsaba Buturo and Ms Cecilia Ogwal. 

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has won consecutive elections as Kamuli District Woman MP since she joined the National Resistance Council (NRC- transitional parliament) in 1989. Another NRC survivor is Gen Muhwezi though he only returned to Parliament after defeating Mr Fred Turyamuhweza of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) to reclaim the seat for Rujumbura County in Rukungiri District he lost in the previous elections. 

Gen Muhwezi was part of the 38 historical members of the National Resistance Army (NRA) which first composed the NRC in 1986 before the countrywide elections in 1989 which created the 5th Parliament with 270 members. 
Four of these long serving MPs joined Parliament in 1996 while 13 others have been in the House since 2001. 
Some of the ministers who survived the Thursday onslaught by the Opposition like Matia Kasaija (Finance), Frank Tumwebaze (Gender), and David Bahati (State for Planning) are among the eight MPs who have served since 2006. 
That category includes controversial National Resistance Movement (NRM) members Barnabas Tinkasimiire (Buyaga West) and Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga).
 
Seven of the longest serving MPs entering the 11th Parliament are on the Opposition side. However, Mr Abdu Katuntu (Bugweri) and Mr Elijjah Okupa (Kasilo) last year walked out of  FDC party to run as independents and they won on Thursday.  
Mr Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East) has for the second time been elected as an opposition leaning independent since he quit NRM where he was termed as one of the “rebel MPs”. 
Buyaga West MP, Mr Tinkasimiire who has been in Parliament since 2006 said the magic of being re-elected is being in touch with the electorate to understand their problems and find solutions. 

“Always getting back to the masses and specifically speaking what they want, not what the establishment wants to hear. You need to be an MP of the people but not of the President or his Ministers. That is what MPs need to do in order to be elected again and again. Not these who come to sleep in Parliament,” said Mr Tinkansimire.
Lands Minister Betty Amongi was elected for the third time as MP for Oyam South on Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) party ticket. Before, she had served two terms as Oyam District Woman MP. She  told Daily Monitor yesterday that she left the affirmative action position after mentoring her current successor, district woman MP Santa Alum. 

“I think the first issue is understanding the problems that affect your constituency and then you keep consulting the people on their needs and address them either through linking government programmes or lobbying donors that can support you to bring services to the people. But there is also that part of personal initiative,” Ms Amongi said.
Asked about her plans to retire, Ms Amongi remained cagey but said she has empowered many people by helping them to join leadership starting from the lower local government level.  She said there are many young leaders who can make a like-for-like successor. 

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Meanwhile, the number of longest serving MPs may increase in case some of the incumbents bounce back in last evening’s special interest groups elections.

LIST OF LONGEST SERVING MPS

Name                                                               Area Represented                  Joined house    
Rebecca Kadaga                                            Woman MP, Kamuli                        1989
    Cecilia Ogwal                                           Woman MP, Dokolo                          1996
Abdu Katuntu                                             Bugweri                                                2001 
Nandala Mafabi                                           Budadiri West                                    2001
    Felix Okot Ogong                                  Dokolo South                                     1996                          
    Betty Amongi                                    Oyam South                                        2001
Hillary Onek                                       Lamwo                                                  2001
Jimmy Akena                                    Lira City East                                     2006 
Peter Abrahams Lokii                    Kotido Municipality                          2006
David      Wakikona                              Bukyigai                                                 2001
Wamakuyu Mudimi                             Elgon County                                      2006               
    Jenipher  Namuyangu                  Woman MP, Kibuku                             2001
 Elijjah  Okupa                                   Kasilo  County                                        2001
Jessica  Alupo                                  Katakwi                                                      2001
Abubakar  Jeje Odongo                      Orungo County                                     1996
Bintu Jalia Lukumu                        Bujenje County                                   2001         
Barnabas  Tinknsimire                 Buyaga West                                      2006
    Matia Kasaija                                   Buyanja  County                                  2006
    James Nsababuturo                     Bufumbira East                                  2001
Chris   Baryomunsi                            Kinkizi East                                           2006
Jim Muhwezi                                    Rujumbura County                           1986
David Bahati                                   Ndorwa West                                      2006
    Wilfred  Niwagaba                     Ndorwa East                                    2006
Frank Tumwebaze                           Kibaale East                                       2006
    Kahinda  Otafiire                            Ruhinda                                               1996
Bright   Rwamirama                       Isingiro North                                     2001
    Anifa Bangirana Kawooya             Mawogola South                              2001
    Theodore  Ssekikubo                    Lwemiyaga County                         2001
 




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