Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah has backed President Yoweri Museveni, also chairperson of the NRM Party for suspending campaigns for Speakership.
Oulanyah who was hosted on NBS’ Face Off program yesterday, said that the President’s intervention to halt the campaigns was timely because “the situation was getting ugly.”
“The Chairman of NRM suspended campaigns for those who were campaigning. Some of us are not campaigning. The decision of the President was right. The situation was getting ugly,” Oulanyah said.
Oulanyah said that he has resisted the temptation to do public campaigns because he has confidence in the party processes which is poised to handle the matter internally without any tension.
“The Speaker's office is not an office that should be campaigned for. It should be through agreements made behind the scenes,” Oulanyah said.
Last month, Museveni suspended campaigns for speaker and deputy speaker on grounds that the campaigns had turned chaotic and threatened the harmony and cohesion that NRM Party is well known for. This was after Museveni meeting all candidates contesting for speaker and deputy speaker at State House, Entebbe.
Oulanyah is contesting against Rebecca Kadaga who is seeking a third term as Speaker. Kadaga recently downplayed the role of NRM CEC, the highest decision making organ of the party saying it cannot dictate affairs of Parliament. It is the same NRM CEC that endorsed her for Speaker in 2011 and subsequently asked Oulanyah to step down for her in 2016 for what was termed as her “last term” following a ‘gentleman’s’ agreement between the two.
During the interview, Oulanyah said that a good speaker of parliament must be objective and impartial and any issue brought to Parliament must receive a complete and fair debate.
“As a Speaker, you want to achieve legitimacy in debates. The decisions taken in parliament should be legitimate. When MPs walkout from a debate, it is a weakness on the side of the Speaker,” he said. The NRM CEC and caucus will soon sit to harmonize on the candidates for speaker and deputy speaker. Despite the tense atmosphere caused by Kadaga and Oulanyah, it is likely that the Party will endorse one candidate for speaker.