Kadaga Leaves Behind Legacy of Human Rights, Independent Parliament-MPs

Kadaga’s journey at the helm of the legislature came to an end on Monday when she was defeated by her former deputy Jacob Oulanyah. Oulanyah who was fronted by the NRM CEC polled 310 votes while Kadaga who chose to contest as an independent candidate polled 197 votes.
Rebecca Kadaga, the Kamuli Woman MP seeks to become the chair the Eleventh Parliament. Photo by Olive Nakatudde

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Members of Parliament have said that the legacy of the former Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga will be remembered for her advocacy for human rights and presiding over an independent parliament.

Kadaga’s journey at the helm of the legislature came to an end on Monday when she was defeated by her former deputy Jacob Oulanyah.  Oulanyah who was fronted by the NRM Central Executive Committee polled 310 votes while Kadaga who chose to contest as an independent candidate polled 197 votes.

After 20 years as Speaker and Deputy Speaker, Kadaga was the face of Parliament, and her role as Speaker made her powerful in Eastern Uganda.

Because of her firm grip in Parliament, Kadaga also influenced who got a job at Parliament and who could not.  The most recent case is that of the Director of Communications and Public Affairs (CPA) Chris Ariko Obore who was sent on forced leave in 2019, Obore returned a day after Kadaga’s defeat.

A section of MPs says that Kadaga’s most lasting legacy will be remembered because of her stand on democracy and human rights. They say she was a Speaker who stood out for Ugandans and transformed Parliament’s independence.

Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal who has been in Parliament for more than a decade credits Kadaga for balancing debate in Parliament between the opposition and Government regardless of how sensitive the debate was.

She says that Kadaga also had a strong stand against the Government especially when it came to women and children issues.

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Ogwal also said that Kadaga leaves a legacy of an independent Parliament. She says that on several occasions Kadaga stood against the Executive and the Judiciary even when it came to areas of direct interference like court orders that didn’t make sense and when the legislature was attacked by the Executive. 

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According to Ogwal, she will remember Kadaga’s leadership as bold, courageous and balanced.

 She says Kadaga used her position and raised funds for girl child education, fought against female genital mutilation and also fought for women’s rights through passing laws safeguarding the integrity of women.

Cyrus Aogon, the Kumi Municipality MP says that Kadaga will go down as one of the best Speakers of Parliament. He gave an example of the NRM rebel MPs who had defied the party and the party threw them out but Kadaga saved their seats. 

Aogon said that although Kadaga is blamed for presiding over the passing of the Presidential Age Limit Bill passing and the fracas that followed, Kadaga ably steered the house and challenged the invasion of the house by security personnel. 

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He also says that Kadaga treated all MPs equally.

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Last year Kadaga while defending her candidature before the NRM party Central Executive Committee (CEC) said that it was her effort that pushed through the unpopular age limit law.

The Busia Municipality Member of Parliament Geoffrey Macho says that she will remember Kadaga for standing up for women. Macho says that Kadaga was passionate when it came to issues affecting women like maternal deaths, girl child education among others.

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The Amuru Woman MP Lucy Akello says that during Kadaga’s reign in Parliament she also acted as Uganda's key ambassador abroad through her passion and participation in international conferences like the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). Akello also says Kadaga advocated for the rights of people with albinism.

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Charles Angiro Gutumoi, the former MP Erute North says that Kadaga will be remembered for passing the homosexuality bill and speaking against it even in international forums.

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