Kampala, Uganda | URN | President Museveni has called for a halt in the campaigns for Speaker and Deputy Speaker in the National Resistance Movement -NRM party, saying the Central Executive Committee (CEC) will resolve the matter.
On Monday 29, March 2021, President Museveni summoned front-runners for the NRM speakership race to State House Entebbe, and Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah over the chaotic nature of the campaigns for the elections of the Speaker due in May.
The degeneration of the contest for the seat of speaker of the next parliament into lowly, unparliamentary style has caused concern in the ruling party.
The NRM Secretary General Kasule Lumumba last week directed the contenders in the two warring camps to reduce on the fire between them that is currently threatening to divide the party. The incessant attacks and counter-attacks have however persisted and the matter has now been escalated to the party national chairman and President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni.
In the rather chaotic competition between the two camps of Kadaga and Oulanyah, the Speaker has accused the Deputy Speaker of incompetence and cowardice while the Deputy Speaker has been responding with suave, sophisticated remarks that portray the outgoing speaker as a blatant liar.
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.
Now according to sources who attended the meeting yesterday, campaigns have been halted and all the aspirants have been told to remain silent, as CEC will be the final determinant of who is fronted as the flag bearer for the NRM in the Speaker and Deputy Speaker race.
“They stopped all the campaigning and CEC will resolve the matter,” one of the sources who attended the meeting told this publication.
Another source said that the campaigns were hurting NRM especially the revelations that were coming out of campaigns. Earlier, Kadaga reportedly went as far as reminding CEC members who are hobnobbing with Oulanyah that President Museveni would have had no chance of getting re-elected if she had not delivered the removal of the age limits from the constitution.
For his part, Oulanyah has expressed dismay that Kadaga can blatantly deny having agreed not to seek re-election after her second term. “What are agreements for then?” a visibly pained and disillusioned Oulanyah has often asked. There have been speculations that after her second term as speaker, Kadaga would be given a kick upstairs to the powerless position of Vice President, but she has sneered at the suggestion, saying she would never accept such an appointment.
Because of not-so-clean linen being washed in public, the President will now accordingly give guidance on the way forward.
URN spoke to team Oulanyah who said they have not been campaigning but they are being dragged into the chaotically premature campaigns.
Although Kadaga launched her campaign and boasted of 300 MPs supporting her, Oulanyah has remained silent.
“We have not yet launched our campaigns because of the same reasons, we are waiting on CEC’s decision,” a well placed source in the Oulanyah camp says. “This is what the Deputy Speaker chose, no matter how much they ask him, he says he is waiting for the party position.”
Meanwhile, team Kadaga say that the move to halt campaigns is unfair since CEC members are campaigning in favor of their rival, Deputy Speaker Oulanyah.
The Bugabula South MP Maurice Kibalya, a team leader of the Kadaga campaign efforts says that team Oulanyah has been campaigning and CEC has been quiet, but now that Kadaga has launched her campaigns, which is gaining ground, they are being stopped. He has now warned that if any CEC member speaks out in support of any candidate openly, they will resume their campaigns.
He says that stopping campaigns is tough but they will stay watching.
“We are stopping the campaigns because it is CEC, but if any of them are seen to be speaking in support of another person, we will be left with no option but to campaign,” Kibalya said.
Kadaga and Oulanyah have been bickering since 2016 when Oulanyah sought to unseat Kadaga when she sought a second term. Oulanyah stepped down from the race hoping to contest in 2021.
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 predecessors served for two terms.