Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga is fighting for her political life after the powerful Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Eastern Uganda Vice Chairperson Salaamu Musumba declared that she will be contesting for the Kamuli Woman Parliamentary seat in the 2021 elections.
The Speaker has been occupying the Kamuli Woman MP seat since 1989, and has always been wary and scared of contesting for a direct MP seat, leaving pro-women equality groups sceptical about her credentials of promoting gender equality even as she sticks to a position meant to uplift women.
But now, Speaker Kadaga faces the toughest political battle of her life as she will have to stave off a titanic challenge from the opposition iron lady Musumba, who is a veteran of Busoga politics having served as MP for the culturally and politically sensitive Bugabula South constituency in the 7th Parliament.
Speaker Kadaga has not faced such a determined challenge before, as she has previously been challenged by little-known up and coming women politicians.
In 2006, she was challenged by FDC’s Prossy Naikobe, a junior female politician.
In 2011, she contested against Rehema Natongola, Prossy Naikobe, Miriam Namwase and Mary Mutesi; all not powerful entities in the Busoga sub-region.
In the 2016 elections, she contested against Deborah Mwesigwa and Miriam Muntu, two newcomers in the political space.
The entry of Musumba into the fray, therefore, brings a new bull in the Kamuli Woman MP political kraal.
Such is the potency of Musumba’s candidature that Ms Kadaga’s camp is already into pandemonium, with one of her close allies, Dr David Kazungu, summoning a crisis meeting over the weekend.
To illustrate her political stature, when she contested for the Kamuli District LC5 Chairperson seat in 2012,Ms Musumba polled 49, 356 votes, translating into a 67.6 per cent share of the entire vote while the NRM candidate Thomas Kategere returned 21, 239 votes (29.1 per cent).
The NRM’s Kategere was strongly backed by Ms Kadaga, who was keen not to be politically humiliated in her own backyard.
Following Kategere’s defeat by Musumba, Ms Kadaga was, during an NRM Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting quizzed by President Museveni about whether the party has structures in Kamuli or they are just hot air.
“You have been in Parliament since 1989, you were Deputy Speaker from 2001-2011 and you are now the Speaker, how could the opposition humiliate you in your own backyard? “an angry Museveni asked the Speaker during a CEC meeting to evaluate the party’s performance in the primaries that followed the 2011 elections.
Musumba’s announcement that she will contest for the Kamuli Woman MP seat will; further stoke more fires in Kadaga’s political life as it follows a fall-out between her, the Executive and the Judiciary over her role in the botched attempt by Parliament to smuggle Shs10 billion into a supplementary budget request to tackle the #Covid-19 pandemic.
Ms Kadaga was also left with egg on her face after the High Court ruled that she had illegally led MPs in passing a Shs 10b supplementary for Parliament ostensibly for Parliament to fight the #Covid-19 pandemic and ordered that MPs return the money.
Following the court ruling, the Speaker was the butt of the joke on social media as she was mocked and ridiculed for leading MPs to pilfer taxpayer’s money while Ugandans were grappling with the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown.
Ms Kadaga has lately fallen-out with key people who have been key in her political journey. Just a month away, she parted ways with Mr David Kamaali, her principal Personal Assistant for a long time. She is reportedly not on good talking terms with Dr. Apollo Kazungu who has been her political figure back in Kamuli.