The ruling National Resistance Movement party caucus in Parliament has endorsed government Chief Whip Thomas Tayebwa as their flagbearer for the upcoming Deputy Speakership race.

Tayebwa has been given the green light to vie the position during the party’s parliamentary caucus meeting held at the Kololo Independence Grounds on Thursday 24th March 2022.

He will now face off with Kioga County and National Unity Platform’s Okot P’Bitek Moses who the opposition had earlier endorsed for the deputy speaker race.

Earlier during the day, the opposition MPs in Parliament voted JEEMA president Asuman Basaalirwa to compete against NRM’s Anita Among for the speakership.

In the secret ballot, the Bugiri Municipality legislator polled 49 votes against Jonathan Odur’s 20 to emerge the winner

The Speakership position fell vacant following the passing on the late Speaker of Parliament Rt Hon Jacob Oulanyah. Oulanyah passed away on Sunday 20th March 2022 in 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, became 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.

Chapter six of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda as amended provides for the establishment, composition and functions of Parliament.

Article 82 of the Constitution establishes the office of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Parliament and that he/she shall be elected by members of Parliament from among their number. The impression created in the constitution is that a Speaker can only be elected at the commencement of Parliament presided over by the Chief Justice or somebody designated by him.

Article 82(4) of the Constitution provides that subject to article 81(4) 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. In an event that a speaker dies in a office, it means that a new speaker must be elected even before  is returned or before his casket in brought before Parliament. This has created a crust of the puzzle for the 11th Parliament and the NRM Government where a new speaker must be elected amidst mourning of the departed Oulanyah.

Basaalirwa will now battle with the ruling National Resistance Movement’s Anita Among in the speakership race that climaxes tomorrow Friday during a special sitting at the Kololo Independence grounds.