The newly appointed Leader of the Opposition (LOP) in Parliament, Hon. Betty Aol Ocan (FDC, Gulu district) has called for unity from all Opposition parties in Parliament.Aol said unity will enable the Opposition to form a formidable, credible and respectable force in pushing for alternative development policies.
She made the call on Wednesday, 8 August, 2018 following the communication by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah on the changes in the leadership of the Opposition in Parliament made by the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). The changes were made on Friday last week.
“Our key role is ensuring accountability within government, presenting and discussing alternative positions. To achieve that, we will need a united front,” said Aol.
She noted that whilst differences of opinion and ideas are healthy and should be encouraged, the Opposition cannot afford to be divided because they are numerically weak.
“Against that backdrop and cognizant of the reception that the recent leadership change has met, there is need for dialogue. We need to chat a way forward for the greater good of the Opposition and the people,” said Aol.
She also commended her predecessor, Hon. Winfred Kiiza (FDC, Kasese district) for what she called, ‘gallantly leading us’.
“She demonstrated an act of galla more especially at a very trying moment of democracy when we experienced a fight on the floor of Parliament,” said Aol.
Winfred Kiiza welcomed the appointment of Aol and pledged to work with her. She however refuted media reports that she is not leaving office.
“Actually what I said was that I am waiting for the Parliamentary process so that I can hand over to my colleague. It was so shameful for the Daily Monitor to use that as cover page to tarnish my image,” said Kiiza
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The First Deputy Prime Minister, Gen. (Rtd) Moses Ali applauded Kiiza for her exemplary leadership.
“She is the only Leader of the Opposition, having heard of the issues of Apaa land evictions, who managed to go deep inside the Zoka forest. She will be remembered in our history for going that far,” said Ali.
He also pledged government support towards the newly appointed LOP, saying that they are happy with the leadership changes.
The Government Chief Whip, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa (NRM, Kiboga district) recognised Kiiza for her contribution while serving as LOP.
“Who did not see her in the trenches of Jinja, of Rukungiri, working for the Opposition to win throughout the country. She has always defended the Opposition in Parliament,” said Nankabirwa.
She congratulated the incoming LOP and assured her of government’s commitment towards supporting the Opposition in Parliament.
“If there is anything that is standing on your way, do not hesitate to come to me so that I can push for you. You have to work comfortably,” said Nankabirwa.
She added that Aol’s appointment has been welcomed by female MPs under the umbrella body, Uganda Women Parliamentary Association. She said that such positions benefit the women of Uganda and all MPs.
“You have replaced a powerful lady like yourself. I have no doubt that with consultations, you will perform like Hon. Kiiza, or even better,” said Nankabirwa.
Aol becomes the fifth LOP in Parliament following the resumption of multi party system of government in 2006.