Speaker Rebecca Kadaga

By Batanudde Kiwanuka

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has been in the eye of the storm since she dubiously presided over Parliament as MPs smuggled Shs 10b into a government supplementary request for funds to help in fighting the #Covid-19 pandemic.
Government had tabled a supplementary request to bolster the fight against #Covid-19, but the Speaker chaired a Parliament Commission meeting that devised strategies of smuggling Shs10b in the supplementary request.

Kadaga’s unsavoury ways were openly opposed by some MPs, like Hon. Cecilia Ogwal, Hon Karuhanga, Hon Nathan Mafabi and others MPs. Hon Ogwal actually called it a mafia way of handling the supplementary.

Speaker Kadaga had literally ran away with their loot but were stopped in her tracks by a court ruling that ordered the return of the money to the government, rightly ruling that the money had been irregularly allocated.That triggered the Speaker’s ire.

Since that time, Speaker Kadaga has been acting like a bull in a China shop; attacking all and sundry-the Executive, Judiciary and the Deputy Speaker.
But Kadaga’s short-temperedness and deficiency in parliamentary jurisprudence hit a nadir when she allowed a motion to be tabled to discuss the President, in blatant violation of the Rules of Procedure.
In tabling a motion condemning President Museveni, Parliament was basically proceeding under Rule 106 which stipulates the process of removing the President from office under the constitution.
The motion in question did not meet any grounds stipulated under Rule 106.
Most importantly, that motion should have been initiated by a notice in writing to the Speaker, signed by not less than one third of all the MPs, indicating their intention of moving a motion for a resolution for the removal of the President, as spelt out under Rule 106(2).

But the Speaker Kadaga, in her typical self, chose to ignore the rules and turned the August House into a village kangaroo court.
To make matters worse, Speaker Kadaga further allowed an MP to smuggle in a motion debating the Deputy Speaker.
For an experienced legislator like her, Speaker Kadaga ought to know the process of debating the Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
Rule 107(1)a says a resolution[or debate for this matter] for the removal of the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker from office shall be triggered by a seven days’ notice, signed by not less than one third of all MPs and given to the Clerk.

And Kadaga has a chequered past of abusing the rules she is meant to be a custodian of the rules.
In an unanimous ruling, the panel of five justices blamed the Speaker of Parliament for acting illegally by abdicating her constitutional responsibility of ascertaining whether there was quorum in the House before the Bill was passed.
In fact, the Constitutional Court in that ruling, wondered how a qualified Speaker would wantonly preside over an illegality, even as three MPs had brought the matter of lack of quorum to her attention.
Suffice to mention that Speaker Rebecca Kadaga was at the centre of the disputed passing of the Constitution Amendment Bill that led to the removal of age-limits. A final case is pending determination in the East African Court of Justice.

It was therefore, rather ironical that Helen Kawesa, Parliament’s Assistant Director of Communication and Public Affairs (CPA), claimed that Kadaga’s actions on the President and the Deputy Speaker were meant to save the office’s integrity. Helen Kawesa should therefore, desist from being dragged into battles that aren’t meant for her.

The writer is a senior Muganda living in Mukono