The Speaker of the Ninth Parliament Rebecca Alitwaala Kadaga and her deputy Jacob Oulanyah L’Okori are set to face off for the topmost seat of the August House, with winning strategies already in overdrive by the two presumed leading candidates.
Addressing a recent press conference, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Caucus Deputy Chairperson Peter Ogwang confirmed the two were in the race for speakership, and said they were free to campaign and mobilise for support.
Meanwhile, other sources told EagleOnline that Ms Kadaga is keen on retaining her position as Speaker but that her challenger Oulanyah has kicked off his campaign for the position by courting support from the recently elected members of Parliament. It is also said that the Deputy Speaker has printed campaign T-shirts.
If true, Oulanyah’s quest to vie for the Speakership leaves a void on the spot of Deputy Speaker and according to reports, former East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) Deputy Speaker Lydia Wanyoto, who is in the race to join the house as Workers MP, is set to contest for the post.
Also, reports from the National Resistance Movement (NRM) indicate that party Secretary General Justine Kasule Lumumba is actively mobilizing new Members of Parliament to vote for Oulanyah and Wanyoto in a bid to edge Kadaga out of the seat, a move that if successful, will leave the NRM Secretary General as the political bigwig in the Busoga sub region.
Reports indicate that President Yoweri Museveni has consistently assured Kadaga that the issue of speakership is a done deal for her, but it seems Kadaga is not yet sure. Especially with the activities she sees going on around and against her.
Kadaga has been Speaker for five years and she has proved that she can efficiently handle the office while Oulanyah, on the other side, has faced criticism for some of the rulings made when he chaired some sessions. Reagan Okumu, the Member of Parliament for Aswa County on the FDC ticket said that due to the numerical strength of the ruling party in Parliament, it’s incumbent on them to choose a better Speaker of the two contestants.
“In democracy, it’s always the side with overwhelming majority that wins. NRM has the majority in Parliament, and we hope they all choose a better Speaker for us,” Mr Okumu said on phone.
Also, there is a question mark over his recent election as MP for Omoro constituency, with his challenger he used his status to compel the Gulu District Returning Officer, Benson Obete to announce him winner without results.
Another issue hanging like a halo over Oulanyah’s head is a controversial letter dated October 12, 2015, purportedly written and signed by Oulanyah to the President, offering the latter land in Omoro.
“This is to report to you (President) that the survey and mapping of the 13,750 hectares of land at Awali Wanglobo village, Omoro County in Gulu District has been completed with all markstones in place. I personally carried out consultations and identifications of households who are within the boundary and they need compensation to vacate the surveyed land.
There are 486 households who need Shs5m each. This exercise can be done immediately after general elections in April 2016 to avoid politicking the land issues by the Opposition during campaigns,” the letter reads in part.
Meanwhile, the recently-elected NRM legislators head for a caucus at National Leadership Institute, (NALI) Kyankwanzi, from Saturday, March 12 to 20, 2016 and top of the agenda is to deliberate on who becomes the next Speaker and Deputy Speaker.