Top political figures in the country have reacted diversely to the on-going Speakership race of the 11th Parliament.
Some have called for calm, while others have been criticized for their silence.
Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo for example urged Outgoing Speaker Rebecca Kadaga who was defeated in the National Resistance Movement (NRM) internal elections to rest, than continuing with the race independently.
“The NRM leadership led by President Kaguta Museveni supported
Rebecca Kadaga for deputy and speaker of Parliament for twenty years altogether coming unopposed each time. Let her rest. Throwing tantrums won’t help her,” Opondo said.
According to Kadaga, her party, the NRM judged her unfairly for speaking out for marginalised groups and despite losing to Jacob Oulanyah for the NRM endorsement, Kadaga vowed to take the race to Parliament and compete as an independent.
The National Unity Platform (NUP) which is now the biggest opposition party in Parliament has been silent on the race.
Last month, NUP went into a retreat, to among other things, decide on a party decision on the Speakership race but since then, nothing has ever been announced.
Our efforts to get a comment from party Spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi were futile.
Outgoing opposition leadership, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has criticised NUP’s silence.
In a tweet, the FDC said that NUP as the new opposition leaders should have been vocal in the media, campaigning for the opposition candidates in the race.
“While we are no longer the Leader of Opposition, we have, over the last few weeks shown leadership. We’ve campaigned vigorously on media for Speakership in the Opposition’s favour even when there’s silence on political direction from the party entrusted with Opposition leadership” the FDC said.
With NUP silent on the matter, some of the top members of its party have come out to support NRM candidates while others have backed the FDC’s Ssemujju Nganda for the position of the Speaker.
In an interview with NBS TV, NUP’s Allan Ssewanyana said that he will support Ssemujju, because he has worked with him before.
“I am the one nominating Hon. Ssemujju Nganda, a person I have worked with under the “People’s Government” and office of the Leader of Opposition. I know what he can do to improve this Parliament, ” Ssewanyana said.
Ssewanyana said that his party’s leadership has not told them anything about who to vote for.
“Nothing has been announced from the NUP leadership it’s like all legislators will have to think for themselves, and as a member of the opposition, I have to fight to make sure the opposition takes over Parliament,” Ssewanyana added.
Ssewanyana said that he expects his candidate, Ssemujju Nganda, to win by 262 votes.
The Speakership race will be between the NRM’s Jacob Oulanyah, FDC’s Ssemujju Nganda and independent Rebecca Kadaga.