Last Thursday night, was worth paying attention to, for anyone interested in Uganda’s politics.
Thursday evenings are Uganda’s biggest television political talk show nights. The two hottest shows on NBS and NTV, Frontline and On The Spot, compete for eyeballs of the nation’s hungry for information viewers. The Frontline has a battle-tested regular panel in Ofwono Opondo and Norbert Mao, and usually land big title visitors. On the Spot, however, keeps its hot seat open for the biggest debate of the week.
After the general elections, the Supreme Court drama, and now with Yoweri Museveni only waiting to swear in, come May, the biggest debate in politics has zeroed down to the next Speaker of Parliament.
The positions of Speaker and Deputy speaker have never attracted so much attention than this before. The record number of contestants for both positions is simply unprecedented.
All in all, the only one seeming to fight for dear life is incumbent Speaker Rebecca Kadaga. If she loses the fight, can she be a backbencher? No. would she sit comfortably in the humble vice presidency office, which has no powers to wield!
Meanwhile, all the guns have come blazing in her direction, to unseat her from the third powerful position in the land. She has equally also assembled her arsenals, fighting tooth and nail to retain her seat. However, even if she wins, this race will not leave Kadaga the same.
The biggest challenge has come from her deputy, Jacob Oulanyah, who is not keeping any secrets for his disregard for Kadaga’s style of work. He accuses her of a number of things including dishonesty, lack of teamwork, dictatorship, among others. He also claims that their party promised him the Speakership on the silver plate this time around. The other challengers are Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda and Richard Sebamala, the newcomer who has caught Parliament unawares! Sebamala first defeated the vice president, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi in Bukoto Central, Masaka district, to come to parliament. Now he wants to upset Kampala too. he claims, this new parliament needs new faces and new ideas. he says he finds all other contestants for the speakership, a continuation of the failures and disappointments to Ugandans since all of them have been in the house for more than 10 years.
After Kadaga’s 10 years as Speaker, and previous 10 years as deputy speaker, one wonders what else she wants to do for Parliament, or, it is because she has no other position to fall back to, which can massage her ego.
One may also wonder why Mr. Oulanyah is fighting his boss in a warrior-like style yet claims to await white smoke from his NRM party organs.
That is why some analysts have crucified both Kadaga and Oulanyah saying they have nothing new to offer parliament since they both betrayed the country in handing Museveni the lifeline to rule Uganda for life by opening the constitution to the No Age limit article. Never mind that their parliament has allowed the government to borrow beyond limits to the detriment of the country’s economic health! What about the lack of a supervisory role when the government misuses the funds they budget for them.
All this played out on Thursday. Oulanyah who was on NBS didn’t have kind words for Kadaga. He piled accusation after accusation against the Kamuli woman MP, exposing her as reckless in her management of affairs of parliament that she has turned an institution into personal property. At one time, he said Kadaga has usurped the powers of the parliament administrators that even small things like travels she uses them to buy allegiance.
Mr. Oulanyah, who says is waiting for his party to give guidance on the way forward, first dismissed reports that he was in any way in conflict with his boss. However, immediately, he tore Kadaga into pieces.
“I don’t have any problem with the Speaker [Kadaga]. We only have a challenge on how we handle things. In May we had a motion of displeasure on the President and they had included my name. You don’t casually debate the conduct of the Speaker. “
He added, that “We just have a problem with how we do work.”
On NTV, it was Mr. Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, Kira Municipality legislator who is challenging both Kadaga and Oulanyah as none were fit to run Parliament. However, he saved his biggest blows for Kadaga.
“I am going to institutionalize Parliament,” said Nganda, adding, “Periodically I think Kadaga has installed herself as parliament. The institution of parliament broke down long ago and was replaced by a personality called Hon Kadaga.”
Nganda added: I’m not contesting against Kadaga, I’m contesting for an office and I don’t care who the NRM brings. It has nothing to do with their performance, it has everything to do with their performance”.
Ssemujju also gave the impression that Kadaga was a cantankerous woman and one who disrespects even her deputy.
“If you can treat the Deputy Speaker, the second in command, fourth in the country in the way Kadaga has treated @JacobOulanyah, you think the ordinary MPs will not fear?”
With NTV and NBS both throwing punches, Thursday prime time television seemed tailored to cut Kadaga into pieces.
It should be noted that, Kadaga had no chance to respond on these shows. And she was mercilessly butchered. Now we know that Kadaga runs Parliament unprofessionally, abuses and usurps powers of Parliament organs. Who should be trusted to run this institution at this point in time?
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