Members of Parliament from Northern Uganda have resolved that the position of Speaker in the 11th Parliament be reserved for the region following the death of Jacob Oulanyah.
The loose coalition brings together 102 Members of Parliament from Acholi, Lango, and West Nile sub-regions of the country.
Their resolution follows the nomination of 13 MPs by the ruling National Resistance Movement ( NRM) party on Tuesday.
According to the resolution, Northern Uganda overwhelmingly voted for the NRM government in the January 2021 general polls where President Yoweri Museveni and NRM party won in the region for the first time in three decades.
Denis Hamson Obua, the Ajuri County MP in Alebtong District who expressed interest to contest for the speakership race on the NRM party ticket says that the position of the Speaker was allocated based on the performance of the party in last year’s general elections.
Obua said that CEC must allow a candidate from the North to finish the term started by Oulanyah.
Lillian Aber, the Kitgum District Woman Representative says that currently politics in Uganda is based on regional balance as recently demonstrated in the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) by-elections.
In the elections, the NRM Central Executive Committee ring-fenced the position that fell vacant following the death of Mathias Kasamba who succumbed to Covid-19 in April 2021, and James Kakooza, the former Kabula County MP was elected unopposed to replace the deceased.
Gilbert Olanya, the Kilak South County MP in Amuru thinks that MPs from Northern Uganda are expecting CEC to maintain the same precedence in the race to replace Oulanyah.
The Late Speaker died from a Hospital in Seattle, USA on March 20th where he was admitted for specialized treatment. He was the first sitting speaker ever to pass on since colonial administration in Uganda, serving for only 9 months.
The other MPs from the Northern region who have expressed interest to contest include; John Amos Okot (Agago North County), Lee Jackson Alima Guti (Arua City Central Division), Felix Okot Ogong (Dokolo North), and Dr. Ruth Jane Aceng (Lira City Woman Representative).
“The three Parliamentary groups from Northern Uganda have unanimously endorsed all persons who have expressed interest from the Acholi, Lango, and West Nile sub-regions.
The Northern Region has therefore expressed interest for the speakership position through them. We expect CEC to select one name amongst them who will be forwarded for election. If more than one name is selected from our list we demand a meeting to come up with one name as the NRM flag bearer”, the regional bloc’s resolution read.
“If CEC fails to select any candidate from among them, the 102 members shall not turn up for the elections of the speaker on Friday, March 25th, 2022. We shall instead congregate at the Rt Hon Speaker Jacob Oulanyah’s residence to continue to console with the family and mourn with our brothers and sisters from the three sub-regions”, said the resolution.
The concerned MPs from the three regions have also demanded an urgent meeting with the National Organising Committee (NOC) on Wednesday to address concerns relating to burial activities, programs, and budgets.
The MPs also demanded clear participation of cultural, religious institutions, and local governments from the three sub-regions because Oulanyah doubled as the National Vice Chairperson for NRM in Northern Uganda.