It was all pomp and luxury at the Speke Resort Munyonyo on Wednesday, March, 24, 2021 as the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, 65, launched the first ever public bid to become the longest serving Speaker – an unmatched 15 years in the 100 years history of the Ugandan Parliament. (Speaker Kadaga has been the District Woman Member of Parliament for Kamuli District since 1989 when she was only 33 years old on the affirmative action ticket and this term will make her the longest serving MP during the 11th Parliament under the NRM Government).
With this, the public speaker’s campaign launch attended by atleast 66 members out of the 527, came as a bewilderment to the public considering that the 11th Parliament is still months away and Speakership has usually been by party consensus as opposed to fully fledged national campaigns.
The 10th Parliament is winding up with very many lingering questions about its performance which was filled with travels by the Speaker and her confidants for the first years until the Covid-19 Lockdowns, a story that was broken down by this paper recently. These travels came amidst rumored constrained relations with her deputy, whom it was said that she had preferred not to share work.
This launch has left tongues twitching among the NRM supporters as this launch looks to be a disregard of the NRM Central Politburo that usually has a say on the way forward. As a result, it has created disharmony among the supporters as they are now asking how an individual who was always supported by the party would abandon it on the last minute infavor of the opposition especially the NUP, in order to pursue her political cause at whatever cost.
This is in addition to the fact that the Speaker has pointed out on how she has suffered with NRM as she stood with the opposition in the house against the Party’s will; a veiled indicator that she is more than willing to work with the opposition.
A POSSIBLE KADAGA PRESIDENCY?
The Capital Times Investigative Reporters team having exposed the huge and unexplained travel expenses enjoyed by the speaker and her team, we can now exclusively report that word in the parliamentary corridors is that there is more to the unexplained expenses within the Speakers office for which we are still analyzing all the reports within our possession.
Key in this are the complaints from numerous MPs from the Busoga Parliamentary Forum complaining of unfair deductions off their monthly pay with the money going towards the Speaker of which we are currently in possession with numerous pay slips that we are still verifying.
However, a Member of Parliament who sought to talk to us anonymously because of the information he had to share indicates that the lavish public launch of the speakership is not largely for SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT but rather a step towards the PRESIDENCY hence a gauge of the public attitude.
He went on to further note that “by April 2020, during the Covid-19 lockdown, Rt. Hon. Kadaga was already weighing on contesting for Presidency as an independent and for this matter, she met with a few MPs individually to solicit their support and willingness to coordinate for her various regions.” It is stated that some MPs who chose not to work with her ended up becoming serious victims of her monetary power because she has been preparing for a true showdown with the powers that be when the right time comes.
It is thus no surprise that for this campaign, she has chosen to make a public showdown rather than waiting for the party Chairman to host the CEC and NRM Parliamentary caucus according to the MP. He notes that it is the reason that we are having the opposition boldly supporting her candidacy because she has assured them that she will be one of them during the 11th Parliament hence the “independence in parliament” as opposed to towing the party line.
In the same breath, it is said that Rt. Hon. Kadaga who gained fame with a strong stance against the foreign countries over the Uganda Anti – Homosexuality Bill in 2012 is now on crossroads due to pressure from the developed countries.
It is allegedly said that after meeting a few of the foreign delegations that actually ended up convincing her to become lenient leading to the removal of the death penalty when it was passed in 2014 in order to maintain their favor for her future aspirations (not forgetting her appetite for travel abroad).
Whereas the President is interested in maintaining the country’s moral Christian stand on Homosexuality, our source states that cozy relations with foreign dignitaries alongside those with NUP are fixed on undermining this stand in favor of the LGBTQ.
THE NRM SECRETARIAT AND HISTORICALS SPEAK OUT
With the tensions getting high, it is clear that the NRM party would like to remain in tandem with the national demography, which is clearly represented by the younger generation in parliament.
On average, it is estimated that the average age in the 11th Parliament will be 48.5 years and this could mean that the younger Rt. Hon. Jacob L. Oulanyah at 55 years holds an edge over Kadaga in terms of social relations with the current breed of legislators.
This also embeds the unwritten rule of continued movement within the house that would allow young legislators to feel comfortable that there is an opportunity to grow experience as Dr. Matembe and former CEC Member, Francis Babu (Kampala VC Chairman 2015 – 2020) noted. When he said that this periodic change in the August House “is creating harmony within the party … [as it]let us have somebody for these five years, [when]you can be the deputy. It was in a nice atmosphere. It was done very nicely, and we got a speaker. There [is]no war about that.” He added that CEC in 2016 had told Oulanyah, “you are younger, you still have more time; you can come in the next Parliament.” Additional info on; https://pearltimes.co.ug/ex-nrm-cec-member-opens-up-on-2016-agreement-requiring-kadaga-to-step-down-for-jacob-oulanyah-in-2021-speaker-race/
ITS UNFAIR TO APPEAL TO THE GENDER TICKET AFTER THREE DECADES IN LEADERSHIP WITHOUT GROOMING ANY FELLOW FEMALE SUCCESSORS
In a closely related function by the FOWODE, a women’s right NGO that was born from the 1994 – 95 Constituent Assembly to promote the socio-political and economic participation of women in governance, the renowned former Woman MP representing Mbarara District and Minister of Ethic & Integrity Dr. Miria Koburunga Matembe (PhD) chastised the speaker for the unfounded appeal to female emotions.
Without holding back, Hon. Dr. Matembe questioned the logic of overstaying in a position, and applying the Gender card to suit personal needs yet it would have been right for the speaker to give way for the younger generation of leaders such that more women are groomed to take over other top positions in government on top of the Speakership.
It should be remembered that the 67 year old Dr. Miria Matembe, the founder of the Women’s advocacy NGO – Action for Development, was in Parliament until 2006 representing Mbarara District and since then, Mbarara has had 3 fresh faces with the last one Hon. Rosette Mutambi Kajungu offering herself for only one term.
This pattern is radically different from Hon. Kadaga’s Kamuli District where she has declared the Woman position, a no-go zone for any intending women Representatives in the area. The same can be said about the past crop of women leaders such as Hon. Winnie Byanyima who served only two terms as Mbarara Municipality MP, Hon. Princess Kabakumba Masiko also served as Masindi Woman MP for only one term before moving to Bujenje County as a Directly Elected MP.
It should therefore be noted that while on the sidelines of the FOWODE Conference, Hon. Dr. Matembe was well founded to state that “the Women members of the 7th Parliament found it prudent to have Rt. Hon. Kadaga appointed as Deputy Speaker in 2001 so that she can be trained to take up leadership as Speaker in 2011. The overstay in the position of Speaker today is thus a selfish act that will fail the process of grooming other female successors not only for the position of speaker but other top leadership positions as well”. This inadvertently means that instead of fighting for longevity, the country stands to gain if she gave way as a form of “nurturing another young generation of female legislators who now come and be deputy speaker so that we [citizens]are assured of another female speaker later along on the road [plus other positions].”
For the first time, the entire country is in over drive over the speakership. The onus lies on the representatives in the 11th parliament to stand with the masses who are demanding to see the ten year (two-term) system of grooming new leaders in tandem with the dynamism of the August House.
As it stands, the public is silently watching how willing Kadaga and her team are to bow to the party leadership despite the contentious relations she has kept with the opposition. Capital Times like Arnold Schwarzenegger once said “[We] will be back” with our Parliamentary Series considering that we still have more information to verify.