Opinion: The battle for the office of speaker for the 11th parliament has reached brutal levels while the NRM Party turns into a battleground and it is apparently not clear where this will leave the party.
Two top contestants for the seat are evidently NRM as all opinion polls and media attention have focused mainly on Rebecca Kadaga and Jacob Oulanya, the duo who have been at the helm of the 10th parliament as speaker and Deputy speaker respectively for the last decade, both fronted by the NRM Party.
For most of the time since debate on the race began, Rebecca Kadaga has been enjoying media dominance and leading edge opinion polls by the most reliable dailes, state owned The New Vision newspaper and the Daily monitor of the Nation media group which both put her at a big margin support base against her deputy and now opponent Jacob Oulanya for the seat.
Many legislators who just took oath this week, both frm the ruling party and the opposition informally showed confidence and unweavering support for Kadaga, as evidenced by the number of different groups that paid her courtesy after their swearing in. Others organised in their subregional zones and gender setting also have been expressing massive support, backed by the friendly public opinion.
Most people have been and are still stuck with Kadaga in their minds for her firm stance on her mission to always remain in charge of affairs in the house against all odds,both in simple and tough situations.
Her ability to insulate the NRM Party interests in parliament without creating a rift with liberal opposition legislators and her decisiveness in addressing sensitive matters is an intriguing attribute that has left her on top of the battle although her opponents have embarked on a blackmail, false propaganda and intimidation agenda.
While Kadaga has chosen to take the path of realistic and civilised methods in her move to solicit for support of her candidature, her opponents have chosen false propaganda and blackmail to advance their selfish cause.
They are for example misusing the credibility of the state by falsely attaching their candidature to the person and image of our revolutionary President, yet he has not publicly or through any state function shown sides with any of the contestants.
President Museveni is an experienced and exceptionally intelligent indivisible leader who envisages and embraces national unity through his revolutionary and ideologically deep rooted methods of work that he can not be part of such mischievous attempts that are characterised by utterly no genuine loyalty to the NRM Party and the desired quality of legislation this country aspires for but mere opportunistic and populist maneuvers.
Because of this, they have continued to allege non existent approval of their agenda by the party. Unfortunately, all indicators by way of practice right from the recent CEC meeting to the nomination process at the party electoral Commission and the awaited caucus convention on the 23 May point to the fact that the NRM Party is in the right direction of mature and healthy internal competition aimed at a harmonious decision.
However, with all this going on, it is not clear why the Jacob Oulanya camp has taken the competition to brutal battle level, resorting to even intimidating free media, threaten some caucus member especially the new entrants and even funding studio laboratory opinion polls backed by renown corrupt crafty political opportunists to mislead the the public.
These tendencies are so threatening to the future of the NRM Party, especially at a time most of the internal challenges observed and the wounds suffered by many party supporters in the recently concluded elections are still dripping wet. It is only a person with no historical emotional and Ideological attachment to the NRM; some of his opportunistic supporters with selfish motives who can opt to sacrifice the safety of their mother party for a battle to win a seat.
If the NRM Party does not take advantage of the May 23 caucus meeting to summarily sort this through a right choice of Speakership flag bearer selected democratically and on merit without any underhand methods employed, this battle will leave deep incursions on the body and soul of the NRM Party which will be costly to the political future of all caucus members but also negatively impact on the brand of the legislature in the 11th parliament.
In order to have such a situation to be averted, it would be good for party researchers and key persons to guide the debate, the process and decision towards voting continuity at Speakership level like it was for the National party Chairman and his two National deputies to insulate the party legacy.
Still Rt Hon Rebecca Kadaga remains the most outstanding and suitable candidate for the position of speaker 11th Parliament.