Can Kadaga’s Neutrality in Parliament Dent her CEC Bid?

On several occasions, Kadaga has summoned ministers and given the government an ultimatum on when they should act or give a response. She has equally spoken out on government inconsistencies and declined to approve government proposals for borrowing.

Rebecca Kadaga’s stance on government inaction on key issues has taken centre stage as she seeks to retain her position as the second National Chairperson at the Central Executive Committee (CEC).

Although the speaker is supposed to remain impartial as the chair of the House, she finds herself in a tough spot trying to be objective, even when the matter affects the National Resistance Movement, the same political party she belongs to.

On several occasions, Kadaga has summoned ministers and given the government an ultimatum on when they should act or give a response. She has equally spoken out on government inconsistencies and declined to approve government proposals for borrowing.

Under her stewardship, Parliament passed a displeasure motion against President Yoweri Museveni- the chairperson of her party, the NRM. The motion, presented by Kiira Municipality MP Ibrahim Semujju Nganda, came days after the President criticized MPs for granting themselves a 10 billion Shillings payout for the management of COVID-19.

It is against this background that the government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa has shown her support for Lands Minister Persis Namuganza who is seeking to unseat Kadaga. But despite this, many have observed that Kadaga has indeed attempted to accommodate opposition and government sides in Parliament.

Sam Obbo, Kadaga’s Principal Press Secretary says that it unfair to her objectivity in the house, to depict Kadaga as an enemy of the government.  She says the objective manner in which the Speaker steers the house has earned her a lot of respect across the political divide in Uganda and worldwide.

Several legislators Wilfred Niwagaba, Ismael Orot and Robert Kasolo all agree that Kadaga has tried to be a Speaker of Parliament and not an agent of the ruling party. They add that Kadaga cannot be accused of fighting the party when she is promoting tenets of democracy which require her to defend the weak and oppressed.

According to the MPs, this, should be a point of strength and not a weak point against which she is castigated

Rogers Mulindwa, the NRM Spokesperson says that it is okay for people to have rivals in elections and that anyone is free to offer their support for another candidate. According to Mulindwa, the question about how Kadaga is performing in Parliament will be gauged by the NRM caucus.

Mulindwa says NRM is happy to have both candidates and many more in the race.

Makerere University Don Professor Ndebesa Mwambutsya, on the other hand, argues that Kadaga has been biased, citing a statement that if she was not in Parliament, Museveni would not be in the ballot paper. He thinks that Kadaga has sometimes appeared to neutral because she wants to get support from both sides of the government and of the MPs.

He is however optimistic that Kadaga’s occasional neutrality will not affect her in the elections, adding that any loss for her would be as a result of personal conflicts.

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