By Daily Monitor
Tempers flared at State House on Monday as Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and her deputy Jacob Oulanyah clashed before the President during a five-hour closed-door meeting.
Trouble started after Ms Kadaga accused Mr Oulanyah of absenteeism and insubordination.
She told the President that Mr Oulanyah absconded from his duties and was always travelling like Christopher Columbus, an Italian explorer and navigator.
This infuriated Mr Oulanyah, who according to sources privy to the details of the State House meeting, immediately shot back accusing Ms Kadaga of telling lies about him and believing in rumours all the time.
Mr Oulanyah also accused Ms Kadaga of mistreating him and receiving money from undisclosed sources to fight him.
The deputy Speaker accused his boss of launching her campaigns in disregard of party rules and structures. He also indicated that for him, he was waiting for CEC decision to launch his campaign for Speaker.
Before the President arrived, State House aides kept the two in separate VIP rooms.
There are about 10 aspirants in the deputy speaker race but the president only invited Jacob Oboth Oboth, Thomas Tayebwa, Robina Rwakoojo and Anita Among for the meeting.
Other NRM candidates in the race were not in the meeting .
The President, who was concerned about the “outrageous” attacks in the Speaker race, told the aspirants that “a Speaker is an umpire” who should be neutral in the eyes of people.
He said campaigns create camps yet a Speaker must be fair to all.
The President stopped campaigns and said he does not want to see or hear that there are fights in Parliament.
He also encouraged the Speaker and Deputy to dialogue and resolve their differences.
In the meeting, the President blamed the Prime Minister for looking on when there are fights in Parliament to which Gen Moses Ali apologised.
Dr Ruhakana Rugunda attended the meeting but did not speak on the matter.
Museveni, Kadaga clash
In trying to encourage dialogue as part of conflict resolution, the President cited two cases where he clashed with Ms Kadaga.
He said he had a problem with Ms Kadaga after the death of Butaleja Woman MP Cerinah Nebanda in 2012 but involved elders and the issues were sorted out.
The second incident that the President mentioned involved the passing of a displeasure motion condemning his attacks on Parliament.
The President castigated MPs for hijacking Shs10b from the Covid-19 response supplementary budget.
The MPs were later forced to refund the money to the Consolidated Fund after Mr Museveni described their actions as “morally reprehensible”.
After a few days, the same MPs, who passed a displeasure motion, returned to the House and passed another motion, this time, applauding the President for exemplary leadership in the fight against the pandemic.
The President told the meeting that the issue was handled on the day Parliament resolved that he is a wonderful man.
Museveni on Age limit saga
On the issue of Age Limit, the President stated that no one should claim credit because as a freedom fighter, he had already taken a decision to subject Article 102(b) of the 1995 Constitution to a referendum.
He disclosed that he left Parliament to handle the issue because some actors within the ruling party insisted that the amendment goes through Parliament.
The controversial amendment sought to allow Ugandans below 35 years and 75-year to run for presidency.
Faced with a rival in Busoga Kingdom, Ms Persis Namuganza and others, Ms Kadaga in August 2020 fronted her role in pushing through the unpopular age limit law as she defended her party candidature before CEC.
Ms Kadaga was seeking re-election as the First Female Vice chairperson of NRM.
She again fronted the same issue in the race for Speaker, accusing her deputy of fearing the age limit debate.
During the launch of her third term bid at Speke Hotel Munyonyo last week, Speaker Kadaga narrated how she was abroad, and Mr Oulanyah called her saying she should come back and chair the debate on amending Age Limit Bill.
Mr Oulanyah disputed her narrative and instead claimed credit for saving the bill from collapse.
NRM fighting Kadaga
Ms Kadaga told President Museveni that she was being fought by some members of the NRM’s CEC and party cadres in his name.
She named Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa, Godfrey Kiwanda Suubi (Tourism minister) Margaret Muhanga (NRM, Burahya), Ofwono Opondo (Uganda Media Centre boss) and a one David Kabanda.
The Speaker told the President that Ms Nankabirwa met Forum for Democratic Change (FDC)’s Salaamu Musumba and Ms Brenda Nabirye of National Unity Platform (NUP) in Jinja with a view of helping them file petitions challenging her victory as Kamuli Woman MP.
This accusation, according to other sources close to State House, angered Ms Nankabirwa and in a foul mood, denied all the accusations and confronted Ms Kadaga for peddling lies.
She accused Ms Kadaga of ridiculing her after she lost the re-election bid as Kiboga Woman MP in the January polls and reminding her all the time that she is not a member of 11th Parliament.
The chief whip also accused Ms Kadaga of disrespecting the party and looking down on ministers.
Ms Kadaga also said she had information that the NRM Secretariat headed by Justine Kasule Lumumba was calling new NRM MPs to submit CVs and at the same time promising to give them ministerial positions, leadership of sectoral committees and other money-making opportunities if they support Mr Oulanyah for Speaker.
Kadaga Vs Gen Saleh
The President interjected and told members that earlier, Ms Kadaga had complained to him that his brother Gen Salim Saleh and Mr Opondo were fighting her, and that some people she did not disclose were using State House switchboard to campaign for Oulanyah.
The President promised to investigate some of Kadaga’s claims and strongly warned those campaigning for Speaker and Deputy Speaker to stop dragging his name in the race.
“I do not support any one in the race. The people using my name must stop,” a source close to State House quoted the President as telling the meeting.
“You should tell off those using my name in the Speaker race and report them to me. All the people in the race are my good cadres.”
The President promised to write to all NRM members on how they should remain united.
Mr Museveni reiterated that as a party chairman, he does not have any candidate in the race for Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
He explained that at an appropriate time, party structures would convene and chose flag bearers.
In the meeting, the President explained that Kadaga wanted him to call Gen Saleh to order.
The President, however, dismissed the accusations as tittle-tattle, called Gen Saleh in the meeting and put him on loud speaker.
Gen Saleh, according to sources, denied all the accusations. The President also called Mr Opondo but the UMC boss, without mincing words, accused Ms Kadaga of dissing NRM party with impunity.
Democratic Party’s Richard Ssebamala, who is also the Bukoto Central MP-elect is also vying for the Speaker seat.
Mr Ssebamala said he decided to contest for Speaker because he wants to return the country back to the citizens.
The other aspirant is Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemajju.
He said the country belongs to us all and we are supposed to live in equity, respecting each other and being accountable.
The election of the Speaker for the next Parliament is expected on May 20.