Current Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga (R) and her deputy Jacob Oulanyah.

The race for Speaker of the 10th Parliament has split the 99-member strong Buganda parliamentary caucus, with the majority criticizing deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah for being ‘power hungry’.

Oulanyah, the Omoro County MP, had last week named a 24-strong task force to be headed by Godfrey Kiwanda, the Mityana County MP and chairman of the Buganda Caucus, the largest regional grouping of MPs in the House, to decampaign and question the national credentials of Ms Kadaga.

However, EagleOnline understands that a much bigger splinter group led by firebrand Kampala Central MP-elect Mohammed Nsereko and his Kira Municipality counterpart Ssemujju Nganda is instead campaigning for Ms Kadaga as more Opposition leaning MPs also vow to back the Kamuli Woman MP to retain her job.

Available information indicates that Nsereko, Semujju Nganda and a bigger chunk legislators from the region believe the 10th parliament is likely to debate a number of crucial issues including the amendment of the Constitution to remove the presidential age limit of 75 years. Thus, they argue, Kadaga’s stewardship would hopefully help block the motion while Oulanyah is considered a government tool in the House.

Also, other legislators dubbed ‘NRM rebel MPs’ are said to consider this as payback time for Ms Kadaga. They are actively mobilising for her in their respective regions. It will be recalled that the Speaker stood firmly by Muhammad Nsereko and his western friends Ssekikubo, Niwagaba and Barnabas Tinkasiimire, stoutly refusing to implement the wishes of her party to throw them out of the House after they were controversially expelled.

 Lumumba, Odoi enter the mix 

Ms Kadaga’s long time rival, NRM Secretary General Justine Kasule Lumumba, over the weekend recommended that the party’s second top organ, the Central Executive Committee, be given a mandate to vet the potential candidates for speaker before they are subjected to a general vote in parliament.

Sources said Lumumba is a known Oulanyah supporter and is believed to be bankrolling the Kiwanda group in Buganda Caucus with millions of shillings to oust Ms Kadaga.

Her opposition to Kadaga’s reelection is also heralded by the ruling party’s electoral commission chairman Dr Tanga Odoi. The controversial academician under whose leadership NRM encountered its most chaotic and disorganized national primaries last year has reportedly summoned all candidates who are interested in the position of speaker and deputy speaker of parliament to discuss the election road map.

Recently, the CEC met and amended some rules to have the NRM Caucus choose a candidate for the position of speaker and deputy speaker before the swearing in of the new MPs.

To the contrary, parliamentary rules of procedure provide that members of Parliament who want to become Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are nominated by the MPs based on their ability to handle parliament business before they are subjected to voting by all members.

Meanwhile, the effective prosecution of suspects in sexual offenses could become increasingly difficult under the new Sexual Offences Bill, 2016 that was recently tabled before parliament, Kampala Lawyer Yunus Kasirivu says.

The bill, which was tabled before parliament by National Youth MP Monica Amoding, introduces offenses and penalties for marital rape, incest, detention with sexual intent, administering a substance with intent of committing a sexual act, improper sexual activity with persons in custody and prostitution.

Stringent penalties are also proposed in the cases of attempt to commit rape, soliciting and for persons in authority who use influence to have sexual intercourse with their subordinates. The new law suggests sentences ranging from a one year jail term to death by hanging, depending to the magnitude of the offense.