Even after dissolving parliament and taking oath for the sixth term as Kamuli Woman MP, Rebecca Kadaga still enjoys the benefits of a speaker of parliament.
Although she is driven in a car with a private number plate, the rest of the cars in her convoy all have parliamentary registration number plates. Kadaga also still maintains her security detail made of about 20 police officers belonging to the Very-Very Important Persons (VVIP) protection Unit.
Some of the members of the parliamentary media team were also part of her entourage as she appeared before the NRM Electoral Commission along Kyadondo Road in Kampala on Wednesday afternoon to submit letters expressing interest in contesting for speaker of the 11th parliament.
But when asked whether she was still a speaker based on her entourage, she answered in the negative. Earlier, the outgoing deputy speaker of parliament Jacob Oulannya vacated the office and handed over his vehicle a land cruiser V8 registration number UG-0402H to the principal private secretary Robinson Kaweesa.
Meanwhile, Kadaga also clarified on her earlier statements she made in parliament that the NRM Central Executive Committee would be undemocratic to choose the speaker of the 11th parliament.
Kadaga had stated that CEC can’t choose a speaker and the deputy of a parliament that was not in existence, a statement she made in response to the government chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa Nankabirwa that CEC had agreed in 2016 that Kadaga continues as the speaker for another five years and then relinquish the position to her deputy Jacob Oulanyah.
But Kadaga said only opposition was trying to have resolutions of CEC whose term had already expired bound a future parliament. She said if that is the standard operating procedure of NRM, then the same should be subjected to the presidency as well.
On why this time there has been an open contest for the position, Kadaga said even in the last term, there were some sort of party primaries to choose the best candidate for the position of speaker. She also challenged those who say she is not sufficiently loyal to the NRM to produce any motions that she failed to pass in parliament. She said she has never failed to pass any single motion in parliament.
The exercise of expressing interest in contesting for the office of the speaker and deputy speaker kicked off on Wednesday with two MPs showing interest in the office of the deputy speaker. They include Anita Among, the Woman MP for Bukedea district and Thomas Tayebwa, the MP for Ruhinda North.
Tayebwa told URN that he’s the most qualified person who should be elected as deputy speaker and if he wins the race, he will ensure that there is harmony between his office and that of the speaker and also strengthen parliament’s oversight role in order to ensure that the government fulfills its commitments.
For his part, John Alimpa Kigyagi, the NRM Electoral Commission vice-chairman, called upon NRM members and candidates to remain peaceful and allow the party Electoral body to do its work.
The exercise of expressing interest is expected to end on Friday and the aspirants will be subjected to CEC for vetting. Those who will be successful then will be subjected to a vote by the NRM parliamentary caucus that is going to sit on Sunday, May 23 at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds.
Parliament is expected to convene for the first sitting on Monday, May 24 at the same venue to elect the speaker and deputy speaker. Other than the NRM candidates, there are also two other opposition MPs who have indicated that they will be vying for the office of speaker.
These include Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda (FDC), the MP for Kira municipality and Richard Ssebamala (DP), the MP for Bukoto Central.