Available Options for Rebecca Kadaga Ahead of Speakership Elections

It is no longer news that National Resistance Movement –NRM’s Central Executive Committee- CEC, has endorsed Jacob Oulanyah as flagbearer ahead of tomorrow’s elections for Speaker of the 11th parliament.

Oulanyah has been deputy to Rebecca Kadaga for 10 years even though the pair’s work relationship has been fragile. CEC declared Oulanyah unopposed despite Kadaga who wants the third term as Speaker for August House attending the State House meeting.

Kadaga has since declared her bid as an independent candidate ahead of tomorrow’s elections at Kololo Independence Grounds. She will battle her former deputy Oulanyah and Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, the Kira Municipality MP and perhaps two others.

Although it is CEC that has made a decision to front Oulanyah, it is speculated that it was entirely a decision by NRM’s Chairman who is also Uganda’s president, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

With CEC endorsing Oulanyah, the Kamuli district Woman MP’s attempts to retain her Speakership position without Museveni’s backing will be like sailing on land. For the 35 years Museveni has ruled Ugandans, there is no any wish he has failed to achieve through parliament or using security agencies.

As it stands, Kadaga has five options before tomorrow’s elections which could completely expound or bury her political stature. One of the options she has already declared it which is contesting as an independent. No doubt that Kadaga enjoys enormous popularity in both NRM and Opposition legislators. This gives her hope that if she gets close to 50 percent of NRM’s MP votes in addition to independents and Opposition legislators, she could shock Oulanyah and embarrass her own party.

However, Museveni who will be present as MPs cast votes for Speaker is known for not losing battles that favour his interests. This brings the question of ‘where will Kadaga remain’ in case she loses to Oulanyah.

Museveni has publicly said he can do without parliament. He was recently quoted by the media at Kyankwanzi telling new NRM MPs to know where power comes from.

“Between 1971 and 1979 (Idi Amin dictatorship – Ed), there was no parliament…Don’t think that you are in heaven; do what took you there. You should know where the power of that parliament comes from… in fact, I can do away with that parliament,” Museveni was quoted by Observer in 2018.

Before voting for Speaker starts tomorrow in the afternoon, Kadaga can opt to concede and start bargaining for executive positions such as Vice President, Prime Minister or any other ministerial appointment.

Another option is her remaining in the race and resign as MP in case she loses to Oulanyah. It would be embarrassing for her to remain a backbencher and having to beg Oulanyah in order to make any submission in the plenary.

If she resigns, it will give her chance to get opportunities in international organisations because of the name she has built beyond Ugandan borders. Alternatively, Kadaga can stay in parliament even after losing and she concentrates on her law firm and businesses as she enjoys parliamentary salary just like many MPs have been doing.

Kadaga can also seize the opportunity and become one of the Opposition bigwigs just like Eriya Kategeya and Amama Mbabazi tried. But this routes involves arrest, beating, detention, business frustration, teargas, dragging on tarmac as well as death. Amama Mbabazi can testify to this and he would be a good lecturer to Kadaga if she is to take this route.

In short, the options available for Kadaga before or after Speakership elections include standing as an Independent, Resigning MP position, concentrating on businesses, seeking international opportunities, negotiating for an executive position or becoming Museveni’s newest critic.