The National Resistance Movement (NRM)’s Central Executive Committee-CEC on Sunday endorsed Jacob Oulanyah as the ruling party candidate for Speakership of the 11th Parliament.
The development comes as a shock to Rebecca Kadaga who has been Speaker for 10 years.
On Saturday, while at State House Entebbe, CEC failed to choose between Kadaga and Oulanyah until today when members conclusively decided to dump the former Speaker in favour of her former deputy.
The decision of CEC , which President Museveni chairs in his capacity as NRM national chairman is important because it is likely to influence the choice of the ruling party’s caucus that sits today.
The caucus is not obliged to endorse CEC’s recommendation, although it has done so in previous Speaker and deputy Speaker races in past Parliaments.
The CEC meeting has proved that it has maintained their reported 2016 agreement to support Oulanyah for Speaker of the 11th Parliament after Kadaga served two terms to match that of her predecessor Edward Ssekandi,who was in 2011 elevated to vice president.
However, while picking expression of interest forms for the position at the NRM headquarters on Kyadondo Road in Kampala on May 19, the Kamuli Woman MP told off CEC that they have no capability to choose Speaker for Parliament.
She said it would be undemocratic for the CEC to sit five years early and say that in five years’ time so and so will be our Speaker of Speaker.
“Why don’t we do that for the president? Every five years he comes and says there is an election. What do we do?
“So you can’t come and say for us (CEC) we decided on the speakership five years ago. Are you deciding for us like the way cattle are herded?” Kadaga charged.
The election of Speaker/Deputy Speaker is slated for 24 May, 2021.
Who is Kadaga?
Kadaga was born in Kamuli District, Eastern Uganda, on 24 May 1956. She attended Namasagali College for her high school education. She studied law at Makerere University, graduating with the degree of Bachelor of Laws (LLB), in 1978. She went on to obtain a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Center in Kampala in 1979.
In 2000, she obtained a Diploma in Women’s Law from the University of Zimbabwe. In 2003, Kadaga obtained the degree of Master of Arts (MA), specializing in Women’s Law, also from the University of Zimbabwe. In 2019, Nkumba University, a private university in Uganda, awarded Kadaga an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
Between 1984 and 1988, she was in private law practice. From 1989 to 1996, she served as the member of parliament for Kamuli District in the District Woman’s Constituency. She served as the Chairperson of the University Council for Mbarara University, between 1993 and 1996. During 1996, the legislator served as Secretary General of the East African Women Parliamentarians Association.
From 1996 to 1998, Kadaga was the Ugandan Minister of State for Regional Cooperation (Africa and the Middle East). She then served as Minister of State for Communication and Aviation from 1998 to 1999 and as Minister for Parliamentary Affairs from 1999 to 2000. She was elected as Deputy Speaker of Parliament in 2001, a position that she held until 19 May 2011, when she was elected Speaker of Parliament.
Following the February 2016 general election, Kadaga was unanimously re-elected as Speaker of Parliament on 19 May 2016.
Kadaga vowed to pass the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill through parliament by December 2012. The bill – sometimes referred to as the “Kill the Gays bill” – at one time sought to make acts of homosexuality punishable by death or life imprisonment but later removed the death penalty option from the bill. She says it will become law since most Ugandans “are demanding it”.
In December 2012, Kadaga was in Rome to give a speech at the Seventh Session of the Consultative Assembly of Parliamentarians for the International Criminal Court and the Rule of Law.
Reports circulated that Kadaga received a blessing from Pope Benedict XVI at a Vatican mass. Soon after the news broke, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi issued a statement that said: “relations with the delegation were not out of the ordinary and no blessing was given.” The group of Ugandan MPs greeted the Pope “just like any other individuals attending an audience with the Pope would” and this was “by no means a specific sign of approval of Kadaga’s actions or proposals.”
In March 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kadaga tweeted that a “spray, which instantly kills the Corona virus, has been discovered & is to be co-produced in Uganda”. She gave an impression that what was later on to be understood as a simple sanitizer was actually treatment for COVID-19 and received so much backlash from Ugandans on social media and professional bodies in the medical field like the Uganda Medical Association, and the Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda. She hit back by calling the people of the Association brainless.
In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kadaga and her fellow members of parliament allocated to themselves over 10 billion Uganda shillings of what was meant to be relief funds for efforts to fight against the pandemic and its associated socio-economic disruptions.
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