President Yoweri Museveni on Monday telephoned his brother General Salim Saleh and the government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo over accusations of undermining Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.
While in a meeting at State House Entebbe, Kadaga accused Gen. Saleh and Opondo of fighting her.
Kadaga told Museveni that Gen Saleh, the coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) was funding people to stand against her.
She said this in reference to her recent heated race with Forum for Democratic Change’s Salaamu Musumba in Kamuli.
Kadaga won the Woman MP race but Musumba has since petitioned court to overturn the election.
Kadaga also accused Opondo of not liking her on top of abusing her whenever he gets chance.
In response, Museveni telephoned his younger brother asking him to speak about Kadaga’s allegations.
Gen Saleh denied having funded anyone to stand against Kadaga.
“I know my brother has never lied to me. You(Kadaga) need to stop listening and acting on rumours from people,” Museveni said.
The president after called Opondo, asking him to defend himself on the allegations raised by Kadaga.
In response, Opondo reportedly admitted to not liking Kadaga but said this stems from the way she handles party issues. Opondo said Kadaga undermines the party.
The Uganda Media Centre boss further told Museveni that he doesn’t like the way Kadaga despises Central Executive Committee, a top organ of the ruling NRM party.
“If it is CEC that gave her this term (as speaker), then why does she say it has no power? “ Opondo wondered.
Museveni suspends Speakership campaigns:
In the meeting that stretched for more than five hours at State House,President Museveni 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.
The suspension followed the chaotic nature of the campaigns being conducted by Kadaga and her closest competitor Jacob Oulanyah. The elections are due in May.
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.
In the course of the competition, 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.
However, during the Monday meeting, the President halted the speakership and Deputy Speakership campaigns saying CEC will be the final determinant of who is fronted as the flag bearer for the NRM in the two races. .
“They stopped all the campaigning and CEC will resolve the matter” a source who attended the meeting told Uganda Radio Network (URN).
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?” 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.
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.
“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.
The meeting that started at around 5pm was attended by Kadaga, her deputy Oulanyah, Ruth Nankabirwa(government chief whip)Dr.Ruhakana Rugunda(Prime Minister) and NRM Secretary General, Justine Kasule Lumumba.
The meeting was also attended by some of the candidates for the deputy speaker position on the NRM ticket.
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