The National Resistance Movement-NRM Electoral Commission has said independent Members of Parliament although leaning towards the party, will not be taking part in choosing the flag bearer for Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
Speaking on Tuesday at the Commission’s headquarters along Kyadondo Road in Kampala, Dr Tanga Odoi, the chairperson said only 337 NRM MPs in the 11th parliament will take part in deciding who will be the speaker and the deputy for the next five years.
501 candidates participated in the NRM primaries but chose to contest as independents in the January general election claiming that the party elections were neither free nor fair. Of these, only 43 were successful in their bid to join parliament.
In the recently concluded NRM retreat at Kyankwanzi, all these independents leaning to the NRM party attended. However, Odoi said until they legalize their working relationship with the party by signing a Memorandum of Understanding, they will not be partaking in the party’s parliamentary caucus meetings.
NRM MPs are expected to meet on Sunday, May 23 at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds to vote for the party’s flag bearer for the office of Speaker and the Deputy. According to the program released by Odoi, MPs who are interested in the two positions are to write to him as the chairman expressing interest in the position.
The exercise of expression of interest runs from Wednesday to Friday this week. Then their names will be forwarded to the party’s Central Executive Committee that will sit on Saturday for vetting. Those who will be successful, their name will then be forwarded to the parliamentary caucus that will make the final decision through a secret ballot at Kololo. Voting is expected to start at 10 am and end at 2 pm. Odoi said this has been the normal practice of the party since 2016.
Odoi called upon party members to stay clear from commenting about the election process. He said it is only him and the Secretary-General of the party who have the mandate to talk about Electoral matters.
For the position of the speaker, stiff competition is between Rebecca Kadaga and Jacob Oulanyah who have been occupying the office of speaker and deputy speaker in the 9th and 10th parliament respectively.
Juliet Kinyamatama had expressed interest in contesting for the third-highest office in the land.
For the position of deputy speaker, there are several MPs interested in the position. These include David Bahati, Robinah Rwakojo, Anita Among, Jacob Oboth Oboth Thomas Tayebwa among others.