Kamuli district MP Rebecca Kadaga being the sole candidate, retained her seat as Speaker of the 10th Parliament without a fight; which Jacob Oulanyah underwent against challenger Muhammad Nsereko (MP, Kampala Central).
Kadaga, the NRM candidate, who was challenged for the position of Speaker by Nandala Mafabi in May 2011, was this time elected unopposed at the first sitting of the 10th Parliament presided over by Deputy Chief Justice Stephen Kavuma.
Newly sworn-in legislators convened today, Thursday 19th May 2016 to elect the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the 10th Parliament.
The first sitting was presided over by Justice Stephen Kavuma in his capacity as Acting Chief Justice and was attended by President H.E Yoweri Museveni, who presided over the swearing-in of the two officers.
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.”
According to the Constitution, “The Chief Justice or a judge designated by the Chief Justice shall preside at an election of a Speaker, and the Speaker shall preside at an election of the Deputy Speaker.”
In her acceptance speech Speaker Kadaga thanked the President, who supported her candidature in both the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) and the NRM Parliamentary Caucus.
“I thank you for the confidence you have placed in me, and for electing me into the position unopposed. I promise to be a Speaker for all members,” she told the excited House.
Kadaga said she would continue with trying to bridge the gap between Parliament and the people through conducting public outreach programmes where the Parliamentary Commission meets and engages with local leaders in different parts of the country.
“I pay tribute to members of the 9th Parliament for their good work and laying a strong foundation for the 10th Parliament. I appeal to you to be diligent in your duties as the public expects a lot from us,” said Kadaga.
She appealed for the President’s support as Parliament sources for funding to construct a new Parliament Chamber.
Kadaga said she had written to party leaders to provide names of party whips to facilitate in the composition of Parliament committees, so as to start consideration of Parliament business as soon as possible.
“I reaffirm commitment to serve and I’ll be available for consultation,” she said adding that, “ look forward to your cooperation, support and commitment.”
The race for the Deputy Speaker’s position was won by incumbent Oulanyah following a secret ballot in which he polled 300 votes to Nsereko’s 115.
“I am delighted to speak here; this race has greatly humbled me,” said Oulanyah adding that “I go back to Gulu, to Omoro, to my people, knowing that this race has taught me humility. This goes to everyone, humility should be the cornerstone of our operations.”
He promised to support and carry out assignments given by the Speaker.
Hon. Nsereko pledged to work with both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker and said that the contest for the position of Deputy Speaker showed that democracy had triumphed in Parliament.
President Museveni congratulated Parliament and members of the NRM for what he described as “passing the test” by electing Oulanyah as Deputy Speaker.
“I came here to see whether you would pass or fail the test,” he said adding that “Going against a legitimate party decision would be a disaster for democracy in Uganda.”