Article 82(4) of the Constitution provides that, “no business shall be transacted in Parliament other than an election to the Office of Speaker at any time that office is vacant.” In line with the Article, Speaker elections were held at Parliament on the 19th of May, 2016. Unlike the usual sessions in the Chambers, this one was held in the conference hall, the reason being all the 427 Members of Parliament (MPs) could not be accommodated there. The Chambers were built to house close to 88 MPs way back in the 1960s, however, the numbers have gradually increased over the years.
The new members started convening in the hall as early as 8:00 A.M given that the session was not starting until 10:00AM. Highly unusual for MPs, however, agreed it was the first sitting, it was understandable. The Acting Chief Justice Stephen Kavuma arrived to conduct the election of the Speaker as provided for in Article 82(5).
His Excellency, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni also attended the sitting, he was to administer the oaths to both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker-elect in accordance with Volume 2 of the Oath Act. As it appears, many lawmakers especially the opposition were not well conversant with the law. In the case that they were, the whole idea of the President showing up at that very election when he had previously not, bothered them. Hon. Nandala raised it as a procedural issue but it was respectfully declined.
In line with rule 5(8) of the rules of Procedure, Hon. Magyezi Raphael nominated, Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga for the Speakership of the 10th Parliament. Overwhelmingly, her supporters seconded the nomination. Hon Anthony Akol nominated Hon Oulanyah Jacob for the post but with no seconders, Hon. Kadaga emerged the sole candidate she declared her affirmation of the nomination. In line with rule 5(10), she was declared the winner and conducted to the chair. As Speaker, she took the oath and was handed the instruments of power, the Mace, Constitution, rules of procedure among others which she accepted. She is serving her second term as the Speaker of Parliament. She came out clear on the law that provides for the Presidents presence at the ceremony, she said although it’s not in the rules of Procedure of Parliament, it’s in Volume 2 of the Oath Act of 1963.
Consequently, as provided for by Article 82(5) of the Constitution, the Speaker now had to preside over the election of the Deputy Speaker. There were two nominations made, NRM’s Hon. Jacob Oulanyah and Independent Hon Muhammad Nsereko by Hon. Bright Rwamirama and Hon Peter Mugema respectively. Other than either members’ nominators, Hon Betty Amongi and Hon Winnie Kiiza gave statements supporting Hon Oulanyah and Hon Nsereko respectively. Th house went on to vote for their Deputy Speaker of Choice by secret ballot. The process took over 3 hours and when it was over and the votes were tallied, Hon Oulanyah won with 300 votes in total as opposed to Hon Nsereko who garnered 115 votes. There was one invalid vote, therefore, 416 MPs voted out of the 427 that constitute the house. He took the oath and accepted the instruments of power, the Mace, Constitution, rules of procedure among others. He is also serving his second term as the Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
Hon Nsereko conceded defeat, in his speech, he contended that in a way he had won because democracy prevailed during the voting process. He further hinted that the independence of Parliament was pegged on the remuneration of the MPs and unless paid well, it is difficult to execute their mandate.
Hon Oulanyah told of the lesson he had learned from the Speaker race, he said if anything he had learned the virtue of humility. He also pledged has full support to the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and the institution of Parliament.