The Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the ruling party NRM today picked Jacob Oulanyah as their choice of flag-bearer in a hotly contested election for Speaker of the 11th parliament.
The decision follows lengthy deliberations this morning at a meeting in State House Entebbe where a majority of CEC members endorsed Oulanyah to become the Speaker in favor of Rebecca Kadaga who has chaired the house for the last 10 years.
Kadaga and Oulanyah, both CEC members of the NRM Central Executive Committee, have been speaker and Deputy Speaker in the 10th parliament respectively.
According to sources that attended the meeting, Mr Oulanyah used the recent performance of the National Resistance Movement in Northern in Uganda in recent polls to justify his achievements, pointing out that NRM secured more than 80 per cent of the votes in the region compared to the dismal performance from Busoga sub-region and entire Eastern Uganda, where Ms Kadaga comes from.
It was intimated that Oulanyah also reminded members about his respect for the CEC decision in 2016 when he was asked to step down for Kadaga to allow her complete 10 years as Speaker. But Ms Kadaga reportedly accused Mr Oulanyah of dodging work, and frequent travels.
Members oppose to Kadaga’s candidature point to disrespect for party positions including the latest statements when she said “it is undemocratic” for CEC members to predetermine the party’s flag bearer in the race for the Speakership and Deputy speaker.
The CEC decision has however drawn mixed reaction from both NRM party members and the general public with a section perceiving the decision as unfair and one that could negatively affect party cohesion.
The decision will be followed by elections through secret ballot at the NRM Parliamentary caucus due at State House this afternoon.
It is not yet clear if Kadaga will go ahead to contest as an independent candidate tomorrow when parliament votes.
National Resistance Movement-NRM party confirmed earlier it had invited independent Members of Parliament to join the NRM caucus meeting. The meeting is expected to endorse the NRM choice for the position of the Speaker of Parliament.
NRM leaning Independent MP, Juliet Kinyamatama (Rakai Woman Representative), Forum for Democratic Change-FDC’s Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda and Bukoto Central MP Richard Ssebamala of DP have also expressed interest in the same position