The meeting called by President Museveni to mend differences between Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and her deputy Jacob Oulanyah was stormy and at times, rowdy as participants traded accusations, knowledgeable sources have told The Nile Post.
The meeting that started at around 5pm was attended by Kadaga, Oulanyah, Ruth Nankabirwa(government chief whip)Dr.Ruhakana Rugunda(Prime Minister) and NRM Secretary General, Justine Kasule Lumumba.
The meeting was also attended by some of the candidates for the deputy speaker position on the NRM ticket.
In the meeting that stretched for more than five hours at State House, Museveni, according to sources, rubbished claims by Kadaga that she had paved the way for him to stand again by ensuring the smooth passage of the age-limit removal bill.
Kadaga had made the claims last year while campaigning to become the second national vice chairman for the NRM.
The president according to sources said it is not true that the Kamuli Woman MP working as speaker of Parliament helped push the bill.
“If you say you helped me push age limit bill, you are wrong. Nankabirwa had convinced me she was a good mobiliser in parliament and I was ready to go for referendum,”Museveni told the meeting.
The accusations made by Kadaga that Oulanyah feared to handle the age limit debate also came up during the meeting.
Last week, Kadaga accused Oulanyah of being a timid person who was scared of handling the controversial debate and opted to fly out of the country for safety.
In the meeting, according to sources, Oulanyah dismissed the claims.
“He (Oulanyah) presented the Hansard to show that he is the one who started the age limit debate,” the source told this investigative website.
Nankabirwa attacks Kadaga
During the meeting, the government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa accused Kadaga of undermining the Prime Minister, Dr.Ruhakana Rugunda during the parliamentary commission meetings.
When asked whether the allegations were correct, Rugunda said he respects Kadaga as the fourth most important person in the hierarchy in the country.
“Forget about those things of hierarchy, I send you ( to the parliamentary commission) to represent government and not hierarchies,”Museveni responded to Rugunda, throwing the premier into silence.
Kadaga defends self
Sources said when her turn to respond to the allegations came, Kadaga accused Gen Salim Saleh, the coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) of funding people to stand against her.
The Nile Post has learnt that Kadaga said this in reference to her heated race with the Forum for Democratic Change’s Salaamu Musumba in Kamuli.
Kadaga won the race but Musumba has since petitioned court to overturn the election.
Kadaga also accused government spokesperson and Uganda Media Centre executive director, Ofwono Opondo of not liking her on top of abusing her whenever he gets chance.
Kadaga said she has been ridiculed by a number of senior NRM party officials.
In response, Museveni called Gen Salim Saleh asking him to respond to the allegations by Kadaga.
However, the coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation denied having funded anyone to stand against Kadaga.
“I know my brother has never lied to me. You(Kadaga) need to stop listening and acting on rumours from people,” Museveni said.
The president later called Opondo, the government spokesperson, asking him to defend himself on the allegations raised by Kadaga.
In response, Opondo reportedly admitted to not liking Kadaga but said this stems from the way she handles party issues. Opondo said Kadaga undermines the party.
In the call which lasted more than 30 minutes, Opondo told Museveni that he doesn’t like the way Kadaga disregards to the Central Executive Committee, a top organ of the ruling NRM party.
“If it is CEC that gave her this term (as speaker), then why does she say it has no power? “ Opondo reportedly asked during the phone call with the president.
Following the heated meeting, President Museveni directed that all campaigns by the NRM candidates are suspended for the position of speaker and deputy speaker.
“The president said the CEC will determine the next course of action and no one will change it,” a source told this website.
However, the NRM Secretary General, Justine Kasule Lumumba suggested that both Kadaga and Oulanyah be disqualified from the speakership race but Museveni overruled her and said the CEC will decide the fate of the race.
When contacted for a comment on the matter, Opondo confirmed he was called by the president but didn’t divulge more information.
Sam Obbo, the Principle Press Secretary to Kadaga said he was not aware of the details of the meeting,adding that she neither can divulge the same.
“You expect her to divulge what she discussed with the president? No! She cant tell me, not even her PPS,”Obbo told the Nile Post on phone.