Thirteen National Resistance Movement (NRM) legislators have expressed interest in replacing Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah as the Speaker of the 11th Parliament. The thirteen, including the sitting Deputy Speaker Anita Among, await to be vetted by the party’s top organ, the NRM’s Central Executive Committee (CEC).
The candidates had successfully picked nomination forms from the party’s Electoral Commission (EC) offices at the headquarters in Kampala by Tuesday evening.
Among the candidates include, Deputy Speaker Anita Among, Dokolo South County MP Felix Okot Ogong, Tororo Woman MP Sarah Opendi, Deputy Attorney General Jackson Kafuuzi, Arua Central MP Atima-lee Jackson and Lwemiyaga County Theodore Ssekikubo.
Others are, State Minister for Defence Jacob Oboth Oboth, Kagoma North MP Alex Brandon Kintu, Health minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, State minister for Sports Denis Hamson Obua, Woman MP Masindi District Florence Akiiki Dr Florence Akiiki Asiimwe, John Amos Okot and Bugahya County MP Wakabi Pius.
As of 7:15 pm, only three opposition MPs Asuman Basalirwa, Shammim Malende and Ssemujju Nganda had openly announced their interests in speakership while Charles Ttebandeke voiced interest in the deputy speakership position.
The Speaker’s office fell vacant following the death of Oulanyah who had been Speaker for less than a year. Oulanyah passed away on Sunday from Seattle, the United States of America where he had been receiving specialized treatment since last month.
Oulanyah who doubled as the Omoro County legislator and Vice-Chairperson of the ruling National Resistance Movement – NRM party for Northern Uganda becomes Uganda’s first ever serving speaker to die in office. He was flown out of the country on February 3, 2022, for specialized treatment following a referral by doctors at Mulago Hospital where he was admitted before his condition deteriorated.
Article 82(4) provides that subject to Clause (4) of Article 81 of this Constitution, “no business shall be transacted in Parliament other than an election to the office of Speaker at any time that office is vacant”.
Clause 4 of Article 81 relates to incoming lawmakers taking oaths of office, and Members of Parliament, in order to be eligible to vote, and be voted, as speakers.
President Museveni on Monday directed all flags in the country to fly at half-mast until Oulanyah is buried.
The election of the new Speaker will be happening this Friday 25th March 2022 at Kololo Independence grounds. Before that, the Government Chief Whip Thomas Tayebwa has equally called for a special caucus on 24th March 2022 of the ruling National Resistance Movement-NRM Party to discuss the election of the next speaker of Parliament.