The degeneration of the contest for the seat of speaker of the next parliament into a centre of excanges has caused concern in the ruling party, prompting action by the Secretary General.
The National Resistance Movement -NRM Kasule Lumumba has now directed the contenders reduce on the fire between the two main camps that is currently threatening to divide the party.
The competition between the two camps of Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and her Deputy Jacob Oulanyah who are the frontrunners for the Speakership and yet come from the same NRM party has turned chaotic of late.
Kadaga has accused Oulanya of incompetence and cowardice while the Deputy Speaker has been responding with suave, sophisticated remarks that portray the outgoing speaker as a blatant liar.
Kadaga who is seeking a third term as Speaker has accused Oulanyah of absconding from chairing the house, fearing to chair sensitive matters on the floor of the house including the removal of the presidential age limits. Oulanyah refuted these allegations calling them lies fabricated by the Speaker Kadaga.
The two have been bickering since 2016 when Oulanyah sought to unseat Kadaga when she sought a second term. Kadaga told about 150 MPs she met when launching her campaigns at Speke Resort Munyonyo that she only questioned why they wanted her to step down after a term yet her predecessors served for two terms. Oulanyah stepped down from the race hoping to contest in 2021.
Now as the two sides wait for the decisive elections in May, the NRM secretariat has issued a statement reminding the members to remain calm, and remain united and refer to each other with respect.
A statement issued by Emmanuel Dombo, the NRM Director Information, Publicity and Public Relations said that since the general elections were conducted, the jostling for the positions of the Speaker and Deputy speaker has reached unprecedented levels unseen before.
Dombo says he has been directed by the NRM Secretary General to remind the honorable members about the subsisting legal framework and the general expectations under the NRM code of conduct, and the need for NRM members to remain united in preparation for the challenges ahead.
“It is this cohesion that will enable the NRM to deliver on its promises as we secure the future of the people of Uganda,” he says.
Dombo says that whereas the two positions are elective by the Members of Parliament, it is important that members of NRM remain united for a purpose and they should therefore refer to each other with respect and decorum.
“The senior members of Parliament know that the rules of Parliament require of each member to relate with respect. The NRM code of conduct even goes much further to set standards and specify prohibited conduct,” he says.
He says that it has been the procedure in the past that the Central Executive Committee of the NRM provides guidance to the NRM MPs, and once the modalities for providing such guidance are concluded, the concerned members will be notified.
He says that this is a long old tested method of work that is applied worldwide, with the appropriate modifications.
The race for the Speaker and Deputy have been marred by allegations of bribery, intimidation and propaganda, with several members of Parliament in the different camps taking the lead.
The Speaker of Parliament refuted claims that she had paid MPs Shs.60m, an allegation she accuses her rivals of creating. She is also bitter with senior state officials at state who are abusing the national facilities, in particular the switchboard, to campaign against her by calling MPs, purporting to be conveying the president’s position.
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