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SPEAKERSHIP RACE: A LITMUS TEST OF UGANDA’S SUPREMACY AGAINST GENDER AND POLITICS OF BLACKMAIL

By Obal Daniel

In the recent weeks, I have slowly gotten myself drawn into the contest for SPEAKERSHIP of the parliament of the Republic of Uganda, especially the show off between Rt. Hon Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga and her Deputy Rt. Hon. Jacob L’okeris Oulanya.

The mainstream and social media have all been awashed with ugly scenes of contests between the supporters of the two principles, with every passing day, new dictums of vulgarization get invented to spread ridicule and paint the other nasty and unworthy of the Office of the Speaker of Parliament. For anyone who is following the trend, it’s no doubt that the team Loyal to Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanya holds the cup uncontested when it comes to vulgarization of the campaign. Kadaga’s team has either been defeated in blackmail and vulgarization or are playing clean and smart.

I have tried to look into a jost of reasons that the proponent of Oulanya’s Candidature seems to push forward to justify his Candidature with many attesting to his great personality, while dozens specifically centralized on how bad the Rt. Hon. Kadaga is.
A few missives I have come across from the Kadaga loyalists talks about the achievement she has made at the helm of Uganda’s legislative body.

Also important to note, has been the 10 year talk that while not constitutionally enshrined, or statutory enacted, a few people think is the norm and must be carry forward. I also hear the Speaker Kadaga was a beneficiary in 2016. I have also heard about how longevity in power is bad for parliamentary democracy among other things.

But, what continue to strike me up, is the composition and formation of these campaigns. Parliament and Ugandans seems to be submerged into debates on SPEAKERSHIP based on sex. By now, it’s open secret that the male Ugandans are pushing harder for a Jacob Oulanya SPEAKERSHIP, while the female Ugandans are fighting to continue the Kadaga SPEAKERSHIP. This begs the question:- when will we defeat the gender stereotypes that for once we thought had long gone. But also most especially to the NRM Cadres, I thought they all, by now could have learnt that politics of blackmail doesn’t work. When Bobi Wine blackmailed President Museveni internationally that didn’t stop the General from winning the elections massively.

I think it’s important that we appreciate the critical role that Speaker Kadaga has discharged as Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda at national, regional and Sub Regional level. That’s why it could serve the country right if the contest for the SPEAKERSHIP was given a little sense of maturity, driven by principles not sentiments, conducted by elites and not payable social media warriors. This campaign if not carefully tendered will open fresh debate on gender issues in Uganda. Already the mainstream media, cartoonists, radio presenters, WhatsApp group admins seems to be divided along sexual lines. This is a litmus test to the top most organ of the National Resistance Movement, as to whether it will uphold the Gender dictum or open space for meaningful competition inregards to the position of the SPEAKERSHIP of parliament. Many thinkers have attempted to cow down Madam Kadaga into respecting the 10 year talk that is allegedly dictated by CEC- the Top NRM decision making organ. In so doing, they are forcing the party top organ to reveal it’s lingerie to the public, which isn’t good for NRM, and let alone the nation. If it’s true that a term limit exist on SPEAKERSHIP, then I think it would be repugnant with the constitution of the Republic of Uganda. We all know, that had it not been for the great thinkers in 2005, Ugandans would have been denied the gift of effective Presidency under Gen. Kaguta Museveni, however thanks to them, we continue to enjoy the experienced Leadership that the great General has got to offer, which is why, I hold the opinion that in our modern Democracy, no one must accept to have the other denied an opportunity basing on irrational limitations. The CEC undoubtedly has a great task to explain this to it’s inferior members who seems drunk into that unworthy solacer of failure. While Jacob Oulanya may represent a new breed of youthful leaders, who have since seen the light and dropped opposition mindset, Rebecca Kadaga is the face of women emancipation in this country, in this region and even world over, she too, represent the face of those NRM members, old as they maybe, but who have remained consistent with the party. Both interests are important, but surely one is superior, accomodative and necessary for the continuity of the NRM. The vote of SPEAKERSHIP isn’t a fight between Kadaga and Oulanya as being seen, but a great test to the NRM CEC and Caucus, especially on its commitment to hold forth the legacy of those who have been there when no one else was. Many of those who started NRM have since left, the likes of Besigye, Muntu, Tumukunde among others. When I was contesting in Ajuri Constituency against Minister Obua for the MP slot, one of my key thoughts was that his longevity in parliament would give me an upper hand, I even thought it was a selling cake, but well, he’s in Parliament and I am not.

If we must judge both Oulanya and Kadaga rightly, we should judge them on their contribution to legislation in this country. We must judge them on the basis of who offers appropriate checks and balances on other Government arms. Maybe I am wrong, but if practice is what it is, I think the instruction of parliament of Uganda has done well as far as taming the powers of the ministers are concerned. I, Actually think the President is very happy with his parliament.

I only hope that when the election for SPEAKERSHIP goes down in May 2021, the Members of parliament may reflect on the two candidates judging them rightly basing on their direct contribution in parliament, and world over. And yes, one would ask if I am unaware of Semujju’s Contest for SPEAKERSHIP, well, I have simply refused to believe that he’s serious, I hope he isn’t!

*Daniel Obal*
Former Ajuri County MP Aspirant

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