Kampala, Uganda | URN | The degeneration in the contest for the seat of Speaker of the next parliament has caused concern in the National Resistance Movement (NRM) ruling party, prompting action by the Secretary General.
The National Resistance Movement (NRM) has now directed the contenders, incumbent Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, and her deputy Jacob Oulanyah, to reduce on ‘the fire’ between the two main camps that is currently threatening to divide the party.
A statement issued Friday by Emmanuel Dombo, the NRM Director of Information, Publicity and Public Relations said that since the general elections were conducted, the jostling for the positions of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker has reached unprecedented levels hitherto unheard of.
Dombo says he has been directed by the NRM Secretary General Justine Kasule Lumbumba to remind the honorable members about the subsisting legal framework and the general expectations under the NRM code of conduct, and the need for NRM members to remain united in preparation for the challenges ahead.
“It is this cohesion that will enable the NRM to deliver on its promises as we secure the future of the people of Uganda,” he said.
Dombo says that whereas the two positions are elective by the Members of Parliament, it is important that members of NRM remain united for a purpose and they should therefore refer to each other with respect and decorum.
“The senior members of Parliament know that the rules of Parliament require of each member to relate with respect. The NRM code of conduct even goes much further to set standards and specify prohibited conduct. When these two are read together, they do not leave any room for guesswork in as far as relating with decorum,” he says.
He says that it has been the procedure in the past, that the Central Executive Committee of the NRM provides guidance to the NRM MPs, and once the modalities for providing such guidance are concluded, the concerned members will be notified.
He says that this is a long old tested method of work that is applied worldwide, with the appropriate modifications.
Who is who in the race?
The competition between the two camps of Speaker Kadaga and Deputy Speaker Oulanyah, who are the front runners for the Speakership and yet come from the same NRM party has turned chaotic of late. Kadaga has accused Oulanyah of incompetence and cowardice while the Deputy Speaker has been responding with suave, sophisticated remarks that portray the outgoing speaker as a blatant liar.
The race for the Speaker and Deputy have been marred by allegations of voter bribery, intimidation and propaganda, with several members of Parliament in the different camps taking the lead.
The Speaker of Parliament refuted claims that she had paid MPs 60 million shillings, an allegation she accuses her rivals of creating. She is also bitter with senior state officials who are abusing the national facilities, in particular the switchboard to campaign against her by calling MPs, purporting to be conveying the president’s position. She has told the MPs to insist on the president calling them himself when they get such calls.
Kadaga who is seeking a third term as Speaker has accused Oulanyah of absconding from chairing the house, fearing to chair sensitive matters on the floor of the house including the removal of the presidential age limits. Oulanyah refuted these allegations calling them lies fabricated by the Speaker Kadaga.
The two have been bickering since 2016 when Oulanyah sought to unseat Kadaga when she sought a second term. Kadaga told the 150 MPs she met when launching her campaigns at Speke Resort Munyonyo that she only questioned why they wanted her to step down after a term yet her predecors served for two terms. Oulanyah stepped down from the race hoping to contest in 2021.
Now as the two sides wait for the decisive elections in May, the NRM secretariat has issued a statement reminding the members to remain calm, and remain united and refer to each other with respect.