KAMPALA – Having taken part in the 2021 General elections and luckily trounced her rival to retain her Parliamentary seat, it was all written in black and white, Kadaga was not planning to become a back bencher and be directed on what to do by the speaker of the 11th Parliament.
It does not matter to her that she had been enticed to take up. No wonder Kadaga has come out openly to say she is only interested in the speaker job and no other.
Is Kadaga not over rating her importance to NRM and to Uganda? Does she think without her as speaker, business will come to a standstill in the Legislative Assembly? Has she forgotten that she is serving an NRM Government that has its own plans and King makers? Kadaga may have forgotten that pride goes before a fall and one day, she may regret her pronouncement.
It is no longer a secret; Kadaga has fallen out with the establishment but is only clutching at a straw for her survival. She has confessed that the President’s brother Salim Saleh fought her during the 2021 general elections.
The Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa is on record for having accused Kadaga of undermining Ndugu Rugunda during the parliamentary commission meetings.
The Government spokes man Ofwono Opondo is on record for having said that Kadaga is literally standing on the doorway with a grenade in her hand demanding that NRM opens the door for her to enter. Could this mean the door is actually closed and Kadaga is outside? These statements must be understood literally.
Having been a deputy Speaker twice and full speaker twice, I thought this was the right time for Rebecca Kadaga to consider giving a chance to others to lead the August house while she tries her luck elsewhere. Kadaga has been in that Parliament since 1989 but it looks like she has not had enough of it.
I want to be honest with you readers that if all factors were constant and if I had a vote to throw around, I would have considered Kadaga and my reasons are selfish if I may confess, everybody knows that I hail from the east and she is the only eastern pillar left. For those of you who think she is too old, Kadaga has not been shy to remind us that she is younger than Museveni by far.
I mean if Moses Ali is still serving in Government, why not her.
So as the race intensifies, the question on every one’s lips is who will be the speaker for the 11th Parliament.
Will Kadaga retain the position while Oulanyah continues deputizing her, will they work together? My answer in no, one of them or both of them will step aside either voluntarily or forcefully. The practice in this country has always been that to be a speaker, you must have practiced the task as a deputy atleast for one term. This is the very reason why I think Jacob Oulanyah has a better chance to become speaker for the 11th Parliament not because he is the best but because he is the only option left.
My problem though is that Oulanyah has not been so objective in the way he has handled Parliament, often favoring his ruling party and sidelining the opposition openly. Am also aware that Oulanyah has not been a darling of many yellow MPs many of whom have bounced back.
His only fallback position could be the induction and brainwashing that will take place in Kyankwanzi. Who knows, Museveni may choose to micro manage the election of the Speaker by being present in Parliament on election day just like he did during the 10th Parliament.
While meeting the elected members of parliament from Busoga region to seek their support, Kadaga is quoted to have said that she is only eying the speakership and not the Vice President simply because the position does not wield authority and power. Imagine such an excuse, Kadaga should have found a better reason for rejecting the position. Her reasoning seems confined to the desire to be boss and not to serve Uganda.
Indeed leadership is no longer a calling but the desire to make orders as a boss. If Kadaga had said the office of VP does not have a budget that would be the most persuasive reason for rejecting the Vice Presidency.
What is important for now is that Oulanyah wants Kadaga’s position and Kadaga wants to retain it against all odds. The Kyankwanzi retreat expected after Easter will determine who takes the seat.
Usually, when a new MP is taken to the Kyankwanzi, they usually come back well equipped with ideologies of the ruling party. Even NRM leaning independents will be invited and fed on empty promises.
It is an initiation procedure that trims the doubting Thomases of this banana republic to do what the head of state wants. By the time the debate on the position of Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Parliament starts, many will have accepted to take Museveni as their one and only king maker and his word will seal the fate of the bickering.
Sadly, even Jacob Oulanyah has over stayed his welcome having been Deputy Speaker for 10 years and may want to use this chance to boost his CV by climbing the leadership ladders. So far, the two contestants have started exposing each other’s weak points. While launching her campaigns at Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kadaga is said to have blasted Oulanyah for dodging crucial and controversial debates that required hard core decisions in the House. Kadaga singled out the decision leading to the removal of age limits for presidential candidates.
I don’t know why Kadaga considered the handling of the age limit debate as her biggest accomplishment, aware that some of the MPs who were beaten by security are back in the 11th Parliament still nursing wounds.
No wonder she mentioned the other day that she is the one keeping Museveni in power having ably handled the term limit debate. Be that as it may, I don’t think anyone has promised Kadaga the Vice Presidency position.
Museveni must be aware that the Far East, West, North and West Nile have never held the position of Vice President since he came into power and given his decimal performance in Kadaga’s backyard in the just concluded elections, he must be thinking of saving the sinking ship by appeasing those who voted him.
It is not obvious that because of her pressure, the vice Presidency will be given to her and Kadaga knows this for a fact.
From Dr. Samson Kiseka (1991-1994), Specioza Kazibwe (1994-2003), Gilbert Bukenya (2003-211) and Edward Sekandi (2011-2021), Kadaga is aware that the balance of convenience does not favour her. She may be right to focus her attention on coming for a third term as speaker and if she succeeds, she will have entered Uganda’s black book of leaders who failed to estimate their time of departure.
It is not because there are no other contenders in the race for the position of speaker but we are talking about the front runners within the NRM circles.
The previous elections saw the President sit in the house to ensure his will took the day. Museveni is aware that there is an FDC Muganda that well known for being steadfast, honest, intelligent, experienced, eloquent, resilient and focused, his name is Semujju Nganda whose chances are slim not because he is weak but because the NRM has numbers and will determine who takes the speakership in the 11th Parliament. Besides, the opposition is not organized enough to front one candidate.
Above all, it is rumoured there was a 2016 Central Executive Committee resolution that is still binding where Jacob Oulanyah was persuaded to leave Kadaga to complete her 10 years just like Sekandi did when Kadaga was deputy.
The 11th Parliament has about 527 Members of Parliament, many of whom are NRM. Whereas their vote counts based on numerical strength, the final decision on who becomes speaker shall be made by the NRM party Chairman with the input of the Central Executive Committee where Kadaga is a member.
With an election petition hanging around her neck with a probable aim of discrediting her as having won the election fraudulently, With this level of animosity and the hatred these two have for each other, Museveni is left with no option but to throw out one of these two contenders or even both. I personally see Jacob Oulanyah being fronted for Speakership and Jacob Oboth Oboth being fronted for the position of Deputy Speaker. There is also a possibility that the position of Deputy could be set aside for a woman.
Over to you my dear sister Kadaga, hate me or love me, you are not part of project 2021-2026 and you will not be the speaker of the 11th Parliament.
I see Kadaga taking the back seat if she does not resign her parliamentary seat, the position of vice President is predominantly reserved for the Catholics and that of the Prime Minister is ring fenced. She may end up being an ordinary MP or she will have to accept an offer from Museveni outside the three arms of Government or even out of the country short of which, God forbid die out of pressure.
The writer, Rogers Wadada is a Human Rights Activist and Politician