Election of the Speaker of the Eleventh Parliament is currently under way at Kololo Independence Grounds.
The process presided over by Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo follows the swearing in of 529 elected Members of Parliament into the Eleventh Parliament last week.
The contest is mainly between Omoro County MP Jacob Oulanyah who has been serving as Deputy Speaker in the Tenth Parliament and Kamuli Woman MP Rebecca Kadaga who has also been serving as Speaker in the previous parliament. Both candidates are from the ruling National Resistance Movement -NRM party but Kadaga chose to contest as an independent candidate after her party offered the flag to Oulanyah.
The other contestant is Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda from the Forum of Democratic Change -FDC party.
Article 82 of the Constitution provides that the Speaker and Deputy Speaker shall be elected by Members of Parliament from their number and a person shall not be qualified to be elected Speaker or Deputy Speaker if he or she is a Vice President or a Minister.
“No business shall be transacted in parliament other than an election to the office of Speaker at any time that the office of the Speaker is vacant. The Chief Justice or a Judge designated by the Chief Justice shall preside at an election of a Speaker, and the Speaker shall preside at an election of the Deputy Speaker,” the Constitution stipulates.
This same procedure is laid down under Rule 5 of the Parliament Rules of Procedure.
At 11:20 am, the Chief Justice Dollo called for nomination of candidates for the position of Speaker and Isingiro North MP Bright Rwamirama took to the floor and nominated Omoro County MP Jacob Oulanyah to contest for Speakership.The nomination was seconded by Oyam South MP Betty Amongi.
Rwamirama promised that Oulanyah would ensure Independence of Parliament and befitting welfare of legislators.
“I second the nomination of Jacob Oulanyah on two grounds. He believes in Uganda and is a nationalist. He also believes in Constitutionalism,” said Amongi.
Oulanyah is the flag bearer of the ruling National Resistance Movement – NRM party in the race.
After Oulanyah’s nomination, Makindye West MP Allan Ssewanyana moved a motion nominating Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda to run for the same office. This nomination was seconded by Soroti East Division MP Moses Attan Okia.
Ssewanyana said that Ssemujju would ensure a safe parliament for all MPs and an independent parliament free of external forces.
MP Okia said that Ssemujju is a neutral person and that he would promote desperation of powers.
Rebecca Kadaga was nominated by Luuka South MP Stephen Kisa and seconded by Busia Municipality MP Geoffrey Macho.
“Parliament needs a person who will fight for the cause of the people, she is highly experienced and has served as a legislator for an uninterrupted period of 27 years,” said MP Kisa.
MP Macho said that Kadaga has built an international image that other countries admire.
“She is a hard worker and has consistently served her party,” he added.
Following the nominations, the three candidates gave their consent and the Chief Justice Dollo assured legislators that the election was to be conducted beyond reproach.
He called for one agent for each of the candidate to witness the ballot box opening and further observe the voting process.
Before voting, Dollo ensured a roll call of legislators present.
The election is by secret ballot as per the parliament rules of procedure of parliament.