With NRM’s commanding majority of 337 MPs and another 61 independents but NRM-leaning out of the 529 MPs who will constitute the 11th parliament, it is safe to conclude that the person that the CEC will select as its candidate will become the next speaker of parliament.
President Yoweri Museveni Tibuhaburwa has summoned the Central Executive Committee-CEC of his National Resistance Movement party for a special sitting at Kyankwanzi where MPs-Elect are currently undergoing political induction.
It is understood that one of the items that CEC, the most powerful organ of the party is going to deal with, is the selection of the candidate that the party will present to contest for the post of speaker of parliament.
Stiff competition to lead the second arm of government is between the current speaker and deputy; Rebecca Kadaga and Jacob Oulanyah respectively. Also in the race is the woman MP for Rakai Juliet Kinyamatama.
According to the NRM constitution, CEC is vested with powers to vet candidates to compete for the highest offices both within the party and at the national level. With NRM’s commanding majority of 337 MPs and another 61 independents but NRM-leaning out of the 529 MPs who will constitute the 11th parliament, it is safe to conclude that the person that the party will select as its candidate will become the next speaker of parliament.
It is understood that after CEC’s meeting tomorrow, the name of the person or persons they will have agreed upon will then be forwarded to the caucus to either confirm or in case of more than one candidate, choose who will be the next speaker.
Today, we highlight the members of CEC who are vested with enormous power to determine the destiny of parliament in the next five years.
1. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni -Chairman.
He is the chairman of the NRM since 1985 after the death of Professor Yusuf Lule who was the inaugural chairman. Since 1985, Museveni has never been subjected to competition in election as chairman of the NRM. He has also been the party’s presidential candidate in the last six elections.
According to sources familiar with Museveni’s thinking, he’s lately not very happy with the current speaker of parliament for allegedly not being a very loyal cadre of the party.
Museveni is also understood to be angry with Kadaga for making it harder to pass some legislations in the house that are deemed to be in NRM’s interest.
Although CEC is made up of more than 24 members, Museveni holds considerable sway over all of them. Its highly unlikely that a position he supports can fail to sail through CEC. However six years ago when he wanted to give former Secretary General Amama Mbabazi a soft landing, CEC members 'rebelled' and dumped Mbabazi completely.
2. Haji Moses Kigongo -National Vice Chairman.
He has been Museveni’s deputy in the party and before that, the 'all embracing' movement that captured state power in January 1986. Kigongo has never had anyone challenge him to the finish for the position of National Vice Chairman. In the 2020 elections two aspirants who had attempted to unseat him were either knocked out on a technicality who were persuaded to drop out of the race. Those who know Kigongo told us that he’s a Kadaga supporter. 3. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga -National Vice Chairman Women.
The current speaker of parliament is also the third most powerful person in the National Resistance Movement. In the 2020 party elections, she resoundingly defeated her single challenger, state minister of lands Persis Namuganza to retain the position.
Of course, if CEC is charged with voting who will be the next speaker, Kadaga will be voting for herself. But in the past, she has been on record for saying CEC has no power to determine who will be speaker of parliament. She maintains that come rain come shine, she will be a candidate for speaker regardless of how CEC determines. 4. Justine Kasule Lumumba-Secretary General.
In the 2015 amendments that gave the powers to the chairman to appoint the party technocrats (rather than have elected), Lumumba who was the woman MP for Bugiri district was appointed as the Secretary General to replace the then embattled Amama Mbabazi.
Lumumba, it is understood, doesn’t see eye to eye with Kadaga although they are both from the same region. An MP from Busoga who talked to us on the condition of anonymity to speak freely said the bad blood between the two women is over who is superior and therefore king maker in the region.
“It’s just a battle of ego really; there is nothing serious that separates them,” the MP said. He added that actually Lumumba covertly campaigned for Namuganza to try to defeat Kadaga in the NRM elections.
5. Richard Todwong -Deputy Secretary General.
Just like Lumumba, Todwong who was the MP for Nwoya County in Amuru district was appointed to the position in 2015. Because he’s from Acholi just like Oulanyah, it would be safe to assume his candidate if left to choose freely.
6. Rose Namayanja- Treasurer.
Namayanja who was the Woman MP for Nakaseke district was appointed in 2015 to be the NRM treasurer to replace Amelia Kyambadde. Namayanja has not indicated who she favors between Kadaga and Oulanyah. However, while she was still in parliament, she had a good working relationship with Kadaga.
7. Jackeline Kyatuhaire –Deputy Treasurer.
She was a former MP for Kanungu district. She was appointed last year to replace Dr Kenneth Omona who had been appointed as the presidential principal private secretary. Kyatuhairwe's views on who should be speaker of parliament are not publicly known.
8. Ruth Nankabirwa- Government Chief. Whip She is the government chief whip and before that, she had occupied a number of ministerial position.
Nankabirwa who was defeated in the previous election as Kiboga Woman MP is an unapologetic supporter of Oulanyah. She has been on record in parliament reminding Kadaga of the pact that CEC had in 2016 to have her as the speaker for one more term before Oulanyah takes over.
9. Godfrey Kiwanda- Deputy Chairman for Buganda Region.
He’s the current and outgoing MP for Mityana North, and also minister of state for Tourism. During the last speakership race, Kiwanda openly campaigned for Oulanyah. An MP who is friends with Kiwanda told URN that his preference for speaker has not changed since then.
10. Singh Katongole- Deputy Chairman for Kampala.
He was briefly an MP for Lubaga South before he was replaced by Moses Kasibante after a court process. Its’ not yet known who Katognole prefers of the two candidates.
11. Chris Baryomunsi- Deputy Chairman for Western.
Baryomunsi is the MP for Kinkizi East in Kanungu district. He’s also the state minister of Housing. Baryomunsi replaced Maj Gen Matayo Kyaligonza, the irreverent two-star general of the UPDF and legendary hero of the NRA bush war. Baryomunsi’s support is not clearly known but he has had on and off cooperation with Kadaga.
12. Mike Mukula -Deputy Chairman for Eastern Mukula was the former MP for Soroti Municipality until 2006. He’s been the deputy chairman for eastern region since 2005 after the current NRM registered as political party
13. Jacob Oulanya -Deputy Chairman for Northern.
He is the MP for Omoro county and also the deputy speaker of parliament. Oulanyah defeated Sam Engola to become the deputy chairman for Northern Uganda.
Of course he supports his own candidature for speaker of parliament having served as a deputy for 10 years, and insists that they made a gentleman's agreement with Kadaga that 2016-21 would be her last term and she she cedes the chair for him. "What are agreements for?" he keeps asking, casting aspersions on Kadaga's honesty.
14. Simon Peter Aleper- Deputy Chairman for Karamoja.
He is the MP for Moroto municipality and has been a member of CEC for two terms. Aleper has not showed his preference for speaker of parliament at least publicly.
15. Nasur Gadhafi -Chairman Youth League.
He’s a former candidate for Katikamu North constituency in Luwero district. Nasur was also the person who nominated President Museveni for both the party chairmanship position and presidential candidate. Its not yet clear who Nasur favors among the two candidates.
16. Lydia Wanyoto- Chairperson Women League.
She is a former MP for the East African Legislative Assembly. She contested for the Mbale City Woman MP but lost to the Connie Galiwango, who is a close confidante of Speaker Kadaga. Wanyoto has also spoken out her preference to have Kadaga retired from speakership of parliament.
17. Jim Muhwezi- Veterans League.
He has held different ministerial positions on top of being an MP for Rujumbara County in Rukungiri district. In the 2021 elections he bounced back as MP after defeating the FDC candidate Fred Turamuhweza. Those close to Muhwezi say he supports Kadaga for speaker of parliament.
18. Dr Tanga Odoi- NRM Electoral Commission Chairman.
He’s a former lecturer at Makerere University where he also once the chairman of Makerere University Staff Association. One source who asked not to be named said he is a Kadaga supporter.
19. Dr Ruhakana Rugunda -Special Nominee
He’s the current Prime Minister, the position he occupied after the sacking of Amama Mbabazi in 2014. Rugunda who I said to be likable by many people both in parliament and cabinet is not known to be supporting either of the candidates against the other.
20. Historicals’ League is unrepresented since Kivejinja died last year in December after battling coronavirus disease. His position is yet to be filled by another person.
21. Kato Gabriel- Chairman People with Disabilities League Kato has been a PWD advocate for a long time. It’s not known who he favors for speaker of parliament.
22. Gidudu Mafabi -Chairperson Elderly League.
He was recently elected as the MP for the elderly after the creation of the position in 2020. Its not yet clear who he favors for speaker.
23. Rukari Robert -Chairperson Entrepreneurs League.
He’s a businessman with interest in many parts of the country. He replaced Hassan Basajjabalaba as the chairman entrepreneurs league. Its not yet clear who he favors for speaker.
24. James Tweheyo- Chairperson Workers League.
He is a former secretary of the Uganda Teachers’ Union. Tweheyo is yet to indicate his preference at least publicly for who speaker of parliament.
25. Huda Oleru- Special nominee.She is the MP for Aringa County in Yumbe district. Its’ not yet clear who she backs for speaker although some MPs from northern Uganda have indicated they will be supporting Oulnyah.
26. Kahinda Otafiire-special nominee.
He’s the current minister for East African Affairs and recently bounced back as the MP for Ruhinda county in Mitooma district.
Otafiire has previously clashed publicly with Kadaga over the selling of Njeru Government Farm in Jinja district. Those who know the two-star general of the UPDF say they are yet to make up with Kadaga.