Over the years, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has fought her way to the top thus bringing big name politicians to their knees in the process. Some of these include former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, Sam Kahamba Kuteesa, Late Kirunda Ali Kivejinja, Gen. Elly Tumwine among others.
Christened the mother of war by Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze, any move to challenge Kadaga in the past has always been viewed as an exceedingly daring one.
Kadaga has also clashed with her party Chairman and Head of State on a number of occasions, the most recent one being in April last year over her COVID19 cash extravaganza to the members of Parliament.
One particular person that doesn’t seem intimidated by the Kamuli District Woman MP’s viciousness is the outgoing Kiboga Woman MP Ruth Nankabirwa. As Government Chief Whip, Nankabirwa has been very vocal in rallying MPs on the ruling side against Kadaga’s leadership in the House.
During last year’s NRM’s Central Executive Committee [CEC] campaigns, Nankabirwa openly rallied support for Kadaga’s nemesis Persis Namuganza in the race for the party’s Second National Vice Chairperson for Women.
CEC is the second topmost decision making organ of the NRM.
“I have gone through a lot in Parliament; we want people who are committed to fighting for the party, not those that betray us, working with the opposition to undermine our party. You have been following on TV how Rebecca Kadaga conducts herself in Parliament. Let us support Persis Namuganza [state minister for Lands] to help President Museveni in working for the party,” Nankabirwa said in audio that circulated on WhatsApp.
With Kadaga retaining both her place at CEC and the Kamuli Woman MP seat, and Nankabirwa losing in Kiboga, it seemed like the war between the two most powerful women in Parliament would be over. However Nankabirwa seems far from done.
During the Wednesday session, Kasambya outgoing MP Gaga Mbwatekamwa told Kadaga that Nankabirwa had been telling Members that CEC had decided against a Kadaga Speakership in the next Parliament.
“Madam Speaker, there is information that CEC does NOT want you to be the Speaker in the 11th Parliament. I put it to you, Is it true Madam Speaker that CEC does not want you to be the Speaker?” asked Mbatekamwa.
He was joined by Bugabula County South MP Henry Maurice Kibaalya who reiteeated that the Government Chief Whip had indeed been busy mobilising members to vote against Kadaga whom she has publicly decampamigned in the past.
“On different forums, the Chief whip has been cited saying that CEC has decided (preferred Speaker in the 11th Parliament). Is it allowed for the Chief whip to continue saying that “CEC” has decided, yet the Speaker is elected here in Parliament?” He asked.
In a typical Kadaga style, the Speaker brushed off the claims by telling off her chief hater to mind her own business since she is not mandated to speak for CEC.
“Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa does not speak for CEC; the decisions of CEC do not bid this House in any way; so stop (Ruth Nankabirwa) bringing issues of CEC,”Kadaga said.
But even then, Nankabirwa will most likely be hard to silence. Having lost out on joining the next Parliament, and as it looks highly unlikely she will be on the cabinet, the long serving lawmaker has nothing left to lose. The victory for her nemesis in the CEC elections against Namuganza was so humiliating for the NRM party chief and the Speakership race remained the only opportunity for her to settle the score.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament as Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah made an anticipated return into the speaker’s chair after a year of forced leave from Kadaga, Nankabirwa categorically stated that although she will not be in the next House, she will do all she can to see that the man who has her loyalty takes the Speakership from Kadaga.
As such, after Kadaga winning both in Kamuli and at CEC, nothing will be as painful for her as going down alone as the woman she hates with a passion continues to flourish at the top of the August House.
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