Anita Among has been voted as the new Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament, taking over from Jacob Oulanyah, who died last Saturday in the United States.
On March 19, News Central reported that President Yoweri Museveni confirmed the demise of Uganda’s Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, who has been in hospital for over a month in Seattle, USA.
Anita, a Bukedea District Woman MP received 401 votes, putting her ahead of Bugiri Municipality legislator Asuman Basalirwa, who received only 66 votes.
She was nominated by the ruling party NRM, which enjoys a majority in Parliament, while Basalirwa is an opposition member. NRM has 330 lawmakers of the 519 elected MPs.
“By the grace of God, we shall do our bit to create a better country for all in honour of the legacy of our fallen leader and brother Jacob Oulanyah,” said Among, after she was declared the winner by Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo, who presided over the election.
The new Speaker confronts a difficult task in taming fresh proposals to modify the Constitution from a presidential to a parliamentary system, as well as unifying an already split Parliament, particularly in the aftermath of Oulanyah’s death, which pitched northerners against southerners.
Insiders in the ruling party grew defensive when asked about the issues facing the new parliamentary leadership and preserving Oulanyah’s legislative legacy.
“The new leadership will succeed only if it respects parliamentary rules. I also believe the late Oulanyah’s stance on parliamentary behaviour that revolved around proper time management among legislators, carrying out serious policy research and being organised on the job might help improve the quality of parliamentary deliberations,” said Captain Francis Babu, an NRM leader and former Kampala Central MP.
However, Babu cautioned the new leadership to be careful about populist demands.
Among, 48, has been the deputy Speaker since May 24, 2021, and presided over Parliament for the majority of that period while her boss battled cancer. She is the second woman to hold the position of Speaker, following Rebecca Kadaga, who served from 2011 to 2021.
Following Oulanyah’s death, the government is racing to get a new Speaker sworn in by Friday to ensure Parliament resumes and pays its deceased leader, who had only been in power for nine months, his dues.
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