Uganda: Museveni summons Kadaga, Oulanyah over Speaker race

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Left to right: Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, President Museveni and Speaker Rebecca Kadaga. PHOTOS | ALEX ESAGALA & DAVID LUBOWA

By Misairi Thembo Kahungu

President Museveni summoned both NRM contenders in the race for Speaker, Daily Monitor has learnt.

Sources say the President, in his capacity as the national chairperson of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), met Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and her Deputy Jacob Oulanyah in separate meetings at State House Entebbe on Friday.

“As a leader, he is concerned with the model of campaigns. He is also concerned about the reported use of money by some office seekers,” a senior party official told Daily Monitor on condition of anonymity.
Both Ms Kadaga and Mr Oulanyah’s camps were cagey about the proceedings of the Friday meeting.

From the Opposition, Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and Bukoto Central MP-elect Robert Ssebamala of Democratic Party (DP) hope to take the seat.

Mr Museveni is also set to meet with the NRM legislators contesting for the office of Deputy Speaker today.
The NRM members seeking the Deputy Speaker job are Mr Jacob Oboth-Oboth (West Budama South), Mr Thomas Tayebwa (Ruhinda North), Mr Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga), Ms Robinah Rwakoojo (Gomba West) and Ms Anita Among (Bukedea District Woman MP).

The race has also attracted FDC’s Okin P.P Ojara (Chua West), Mr Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central) and Mr Eric Musana (Buyaga East), both independents.
Mr Emmanuel Dombo, the director for communication at NRM Secretariat, yesterday said he was not aware of the President’s meeting.

He, however, said: “The chairman has a prerogative of doing things the way he sees it fit. He chooses to meet the people he wants to meet. When it becomes official to communicate to the party, then he uses the formal structures,” Mr Dombo said.

This comes at a time when State House and the NRM Central Executive Committee (CEC) have been sucked into the campaigns for the Speaker job.

About two weeks ago, tempers flared in Parliament when Ms Kadaga accused government chief whip Ruth Nankabirwa of spreading a rumour that the CEC will rely on a 2016 party resolution to back Mr Oulanyah’s candidacy.

According to the rumour, in 2016, CEC made an unwritten resolution that Mr Oulanyah should withdraw his bid for Speaker to allow Ms Kadaga take another term but she would also cede the seat to him in 2021.

Ms Nankabirwa, however,  said the pro-Kadaga MPs only dragged her name into the debate because of a reminder she posted on a WhatsApp group regarding the said resolution.

While launching her campaigns at Speke Resort Munyonyo last Wednesday, Ms Kadaga said Ms Nankabirwa was using the State House switch board system to call newly elected MPs to deceive them that the President had directed that they vote Mr Oulanyah for Speaker.

Ms Kadaga on Saturday also castigated Minister for Kampala Betty Amongi (Oyam South, UPC) for engaging in matters of NRM to which she does not belong to.
She accused Amongi of going around saying the ruling party’s CEC will back Mr Oulanyah’s bid because of the said 2016 agreement.

“I am surprised that Amongi, a UPC member, her husband [Jimmy] Akena (Lira Municipality MP) are the ones talking about CEC [resolutions]. Amongi is not a member of CEC and cannot even access its records,” Ms Kadaga charged.

Ms Kadaga also castigated the NRM Secretariat for dividing party members by taking only MPs, who have not been in the current Parliament for a retreat at the National Leadership Institute in Kyankwanzi beginning April 7.

“Kyankwanzi is for introducing you to government policy, programmes and I hope nothing more will happen there. Any vote taken in Kyankwanzi is not binding. What happens in Parliament is what binds because it is where the Speaker is elected,” Ms Kadaga said.

However, Mr Dombo yesterday said Ms Kadaga was responsible for the NRM decision to leave behind incumbent MPs, who were re-elected in January because she had insisted they had a lot of pending work in Parliament.

“We wanted to take all but unfortunately, there are statutory requirements for Parliament to conduct and the objection was raised by the Speaker, who raised a red flag that it may affect budgetary deadlines by either denying the requisite quorum or manpower in the committees,” he said.
While in Kyankwanzi, the new MPs from NRM will interact with CEC members for about two weeks.

Kadaga campaign
On Saturday, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga was endorsed by caucuses of MPs from Karamoja and Bukedi sub-regions during two separate meetings at Hotel Africana in Kampala.
Nakapiripirit District Woman MP Esther Anyakun said 20 of the 26 MPs from Karamoja attended the meeting to endorse Ms Kadaga.
As for Bukedi Sub-region, all 14 MPs who attended the meeting endorsed the Speaker present.

Source Daily Monitor.

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