I was in 2016, told to step aside and come when Rt. Hon Rebecca finishes her 10 years. Now I have come.
Omoro County legislator, Jacob Oulanyah has accused Kamuli district woman member of parliament, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga of supporting and soliciting votes for Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko for the position of Deputy Speaker of Parliament in 2016.
Oulanyah and Kadaga, both members of CEC, the top most organ of the ruling political party, National Resistance Movement (NRM), have been deputy speaker and speaker of parliament respectively for the last 20 years. The duo is now seeking to become speaker of the 11th parliament.
On Friday, Jacob Oulanyah formally expressed interest for the position before the party’s Electoral Commission, after which he recounted to reporters how his journey to deputy speaker of the 10th parliament unfolded . He accused Kadaga of going against the party’s decision to have him as deputy speaker in 2016.
Oulanyah garnered a total of 300 votes to beat independent MP Nsereko, who only managed 115 votes.
According to Oulanyah, Kadaga solicited votes for Nsereko but the party MPs defied her since they had to respect a decision by CEC and Caucus.
“In 2016, I and Hon Kadaga who had expressed interest in the speakership position were invited and interviewed by CEC. When CEC sat after our interviews, they invited us again and the Chairman of the party communicated that ‘we maintain the status quo to allow the Rt Hon Rebecca Kadaga finish her 10 years just like her predecessor because that is what she requested. So you, Jacob Oulanyah, you are still young, your time will come. Let Rt. Hon Rebecca finish her 10 years and you come’ and now I have come,” Jacob Oulanyah told reporters on Friday.
“I asked CEC members that I expressed interest not to be anything else but speaker, what is going to happen to all those who had wanted office of Deputy Speaker, they said we leave that to the party process – that they will handle them”
“When we went to caucus that same day in the afternoon, that was the communication made to MPs. The President said as a party, we handle matters through discussion. I was not extremely comfortable but I was bound by that decision and I respected it. However, you all know what happened next. Immediately after that, Kadaga – the person I stood down for, went around and started mobilizing for somebody else to be deputy speaker but good enough I won because the MPs had respected the CEC and Caucus decision,” Oulanyah added.
Supporters Chanting Oulanyah’s Name Outside
On arrival at the party and EC headquarters at Kyadondo Road in Kampala, Oulanyah was treated to a heroic welcome by dozens of his supporters who had gathered outside – many dressed in party colours, chanting his name and holding placards calling upon members of parliament to vote for him as speaker.
“Oulanyah oyee, Oulanyah oyee,…,” they shouted repeatedly as Oulanyah made his way to Kyadondo.
Commenting on the them, Oulanyah said he did not have any idea about their presence.
“I did not even know that these people were here. When I got up this morning, I stated looking for where to get my booster dose against COVID19 until I found out that I could do it at the Ministry of Health. So I went there and after getting the vaccine, I came here. I am surprised to see these people here,” Oulanyah said.
To Accept CEC decision
Oulanyah told journalists that he will respect the decision by CEC and Caucus even if it is not in his favour.
“CEC which I am a member of, will take the decision, they have taken decisions before and we have respected them, they will take a decision, we should all respect whatever decisions they come out with,” noted Oulanyah.
He said he is convinced that CEC will base its decision on what the country has witnessed in parliament over the years not what he termed as social media propaganda. He said that he is coming to parliament as speaker to “offer potential as opposed to history.”
“CEC will take a decision basing on history, yes, but what is the potential that comes on the table? The history we know, the potential we understand. Potential gives hope and it is that hope that I am sure will guide the CEC to give a chance to this 11th parliament to do better than before. I absolutely have no doubt that that is what will happen tomorrow,” explained Oulanyah.
Oulanyah who on May 19 handed over the office of the deputy speaker of Parliament and explained that he did it because his term of office had expired, said that he aspires to change the image of the Parliament.
“We want to see the story of the 11 the parliament be retold and rewritten, we want to sing praises of the parliament of Uganda. The situation has not been good, the country has resented its members, we want that to change,” Oulanyah reiterated, adding that he seeks to restore confidence, respect and trust of the people in parliament.
He asserted that parliament ought to focus on service delivery to the people and help them in the social economic transformation of their lives.
The process of submitting Expression of Interest letters to the party’s Electoral Commission for positions of speaker and deputy will be concluded Friday evening after which EC will forward names of all nominated MPs to Central Executive Committee that will sit on Saturday for vetting.
MPs David Bahati, Jacob Oboth Oboth, Thomas Tayebwa, Theodore Ssekikubo, Anita Annet Among, Robinah Rwakoojo and Robinah Nabbanja have also expressed interest for deputy speaker of parliament.
Names of those who will be successful, will then be forwarded to the parliamentary caucus that will make the final decision through a secret ballot at Kololo on Sunday. Voting is expected to start at 10 am and end at 2 pm.