M7 To Scrap Off Elected Speaker
Now referred to by NRM MPs as ‘Master of Politics’, President Museveni has coined a hot proposal that might see an end to the current system where the speaker of parliament and her deputy are elected from among members of parliament.
According to insiders, in the new government constitutional amendments, the president is among others things bringing a proposal to create a position of 2nd vice president in addition scrapping off an elected speaker of parliament.
In the new arrangement, the speaker shall be an ex-officio member of parliament, meaning that the current speaker and deputy are in a tricky situation in case they want to seek reelection both in their constituencies and also in parliament.
Sources told us that in a recent meeting the president held with members of the Inter-party Dialogue [IPOD] at state house, he vehemently suggested that the speaker should be an ex-officio.
This position has always been mooted by the opposition right from the 8th parliament when they cried that the speaker should not belong to any political party in order to exercise impartiality in conducting house business.
“The party gave us this proposal of ex-officio speaker. We couldn’t come up with the final recommendations before hearing from the party chairman. When we reached there, the first thing he said was having a speaker who is an ex-officio. It is now part of the amendments,” sources on that team confided in us.
The source added, “on this one [ex-officio speaker], I wanted it yesterday. Let it stay as it is” sources quoted Museveni adding that he even suggested that whoever wants to stand as speaker, he or she must not participate in election and should also be a person of high experience in matters of legal practice.
Sources added that this plan is likely to disorganize the sitting speakers on how to retain their constituencies and at the same time their house posts.
“In case the two want to retain both seats, it is a tricky situation for them. Standing for MP will disqualify them and yet there is no guarantee, the next parliament will agree to vote them as speakers. New faces might emerge and the president will have no option but to allow democracy to decide,” sources explained.
In fact, this is exactly what happened in May 2011 when [Museveni backed Edward Ssekandi for speaker’s job but Rebecca Kadaga emerged unexpectedly forcing Museveni to tell Ssekandi to stand down for Kadaga and later appointed him vice president.
We have learnt that because of this situation, the amendment seems to be a big blow to the current members of parliament who want to contest for speaker and deputy speaker in the next parliament.
And yet, having former speakers sit as back-bench legislators in parliament is also a tricky situation.
As such, sources stated that this is actually the reason to why he is now mooting a proposal to create another post of 2nd vice president.
This post, together with that of attorney general might help him address this challenge.
Insiders told us that this move is might also cater for some of his former allies-turned foes like Amama Mbabazi.
Actually the new constitutional proposals are allegedly part of the reasons the fired Prime Minister Mbabazi may not announce his next move soon.
Sources stated that there are actually behind-the-scenes talks going on between Mbabazi and Museveni camps led by Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda and Gen. Salim Saleh.