The Opposition in parliament was in total disarray yesterday as the ruling National Resistance Movement mobilized both their members and those of the opposition to snatch once again, both positions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
There was a showdown on the speaker position with NRM’s choice Jacob Oulanyah trouncing a hardliner in Rebecca Kadaga, who in the last embers of the race threw a spanner in the works by announcing she was deviating from the NRM Plan.
Kadaga speaking to pressmen at Hotel Africana in Kampala hours to the final showdown, indicated that despite being an NRM CEC member, she was going in full weight, to battle the party’s choice.
The former speaker, who according to mutual agreements was left by the NRM CEC was given a 10-year cheque to run the speaker’s officer uninterrupted, was at the venue early enough and she began making calls- that would be the pose she struck even at the end of the game.
Kadaga was nominated by Luuka South MP (NRM), Stephen Kisa Bakubalwayo, and seconded by Geoffrey Macho, Busia Municipality (Independent).
While her biggest rival Oulanyah was nominated by Isingiro North County Member of Parliament Bright Rwamirama.
With the chaos happening in the NRM, the opposition had a very good chance to make their mark by throwing all their weight behind the only candidate- Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda.
And indeed, FDC’s Ssemujju was nominated by National Unity Platform’s Allan Ssewanyana, which gave a glimpse of a union that could upset the NRM even more.
Alas, Ssemujju scooped a mere 15 votes, far below the number of opposition members of parliament in the house.
While we may excuse them for failing to agree on the speaker election, there was an even better moment on the position of the Deputy, with FDC’s Yusuf Nsibambi and the neither here nor there Muhammad Nsereko.
Nsereko trailed in the race with 24 votes while Nsibambi was not far from him upwards, with 35 votes and Anita Among run away with the instruments of power at 415 votes!
Again, this means that the opposition did not mobilize their votes, with many of their members casting for the NRM candidate.
While, she brought a little laughter to the House, Nambooze’s gimmicks by choosing to raise up and play jocular by nominating Moses Ali were a loud sign that opposition needs to get themselves together.
Indeed, the play-acting by Nambooze without taking away its innocence (if any) was aimed at derailing the process, let alone confirm that the Opposition had no other plan.
It was also a sign that the opposition will not have an organized presentation in parliament, especially where the senior members like Nambooze and the likes can stand up and flow unscripted, unlike their NRM counterparts who came with a proper script of how they want to pass the ball, let alone score.
FDC play Nambooze’s game too
It was an issue an affair of FDC and NUP when Kioga MP Okot P Bitek rose up to nominate Kawempe North Member of Parliament Muhammad Ssegirinya of the NUP.
Bitek who seemed to have learned the trick from Nambooze again was acting in a way to derail the flow of events, another sign that the opposition was not in any way coordinated in movement and had resigned to the fact that NRM has this sorted.
To make matters worse, Bitek’s nomination of Ssegirinya was bluntly turned down by Muwanga Kivumbi (NUP Butambala County).
Museveni reveals the difference
Speaking later, President Museveni revealed the difference in the mobilization when he said he had been calling all members of parliament including the opposition to vote for the NRM candidate.
He said he had succeeded in talks with UPC and members of the DP, with “some NUP members willing to talk”.
While Museveni’s revelation was not really unexpected of him, it was a clear show that the NRM invested in mobilization amongst themselves and just like China, chose to market outside their jurisdiction.
Their mobilization, in this case, landed straight into the yard of a poorly organized and selfish opposition, leading to a miserable first day in the office for even Francis Zaake, who had vowed to make Museveni cry