Someone asked me over the weekend, who does Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda serve? The question was queer in my ears that I begged pardon.
Mr Nganda, an outgoing Opposition chief whip, has already announced that he will be running for Speaker of the 11th Parliament.
The Member of Parliament for Kira Municipality in Wakiso has all credentials to be Speaker. He has thrived as a legislator, performed well as chief whip and has earned respect from fellow legislators from across the divide. Ssemujju is a sober, honest and good debater. Ideally, he would make a good Leader of Opposition. He could also make a good Speaker.
Unfortunately, the politics doesn’t favour him.
The ruling party, National Resistance Movement, have big numbers in the House and are not known for “delegating power” to other parties. Mr Nganda belongs to the Forum for Democratic Change, the long-time nemesis of NRM before the arrival of National Unity Platform (NUP). Nothing would unite NRM like a possibility that Nganda would beat them to become their Speaker.
Certainly, Ssemujju will not win the Speakership race. This one is between incumbent Rebecca Kadaga and her deputy Jacob Oulanyah.
So, why is he standing?
One would quickly conclude Nganda is spoiling it for Kadaga! But wait. Politics is not just about winning. Many times, one could use the campaign platform to table ideas that could be used to make the country run better. On that Ssemujju has an opportunity to make proposals and voice out issues he has observed in his experience as impediments in steering Parliament into the right direction.
The other point is that losing his Opposition chief whip position and out of the pecking order for Leader of Opposition, which would have been naturally his next step had FDC dominated Parliament, Mr Nganda is making a step to exit the stage in a big way.
With NUP calling the shots in the opposition, it is unlikely Ssemujju will accept a shadow minister position. This is Ssemujju Nganda’s trick to launch him to his next game plan.
Ssemujju Nganda preparing for Presidency?
Ssemujju is an ambitious politician, and he could be branding himself for a bigger political platform. In his FDC, while everyone is looking at Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago to take on the reigns of FDC, many will be surprised when Ssemujju takes up the presidency or the 2026 presidential flag bearer for FDC. Running for Speakership is one way to position himself for this big announcement.
Lastly, whereas everyone thinks, Ssemujju wants to kill it for Kadaga because naturally he would pick votes in the Central dominated by NUP and the red army members would naturally be Kadaga votes since their principal Robert Kyagulanyi has already shown affinity to the incumbent speaker during campaigns! NRM is likely to give the gig to Oulanyah, and if the two find themselves in Parliament to settle it there, then, Ssemujju will spoil it for Kadaga. However, if the Kamuli Woman MP is kicked out by NRM CEC in favour of Oulanyah and she accepts to bow out, there are many of her supporters, especially in Busoga, who are likely to vote Ssemujju as protest votes. This will give Ssemujju a good run although the votes may not be enough to upset Oulanyah with this NRM flock.
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