Anita Among becomes new parliament speaker

Anita Among became the new Speaker of Parliament after the death of Jacob Oulanyah, and she was elected on Friday to the office vacated by Jacob Oulanyah.

Jacob lost his life last Saturday during his treatment at a hospital in Seattle, Washington.

Among, the Bukedea District Woman MP polled 401 votes ahead of Bugiri Municipality legislator Asuman Basalirwa, who garnered 66 votes.

Ms Among was backed by the ruling NRM, which has a majority in Parliament, while Mr Basalirwa is a member of the opposition. NRM has 330 legislators out of the 519 elected MPs.

According to Ms Among speech after declaring the winner by Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo, “By the god grace, we shall do our bit in order to create a better country for all in honour of the legacy of our fallen leader and brother Jacob Oulanyah.”

After becoming the president, the new Speaker faces some uphill task of taming with new schemes in order to change the Constitution from a presidential to a parliamentary system and unifying an already divided Parliament, especially after the demise of Oulanyah, which has pitted the north, where he hailed from, against southerners.

Insiders in the ruling party sounded defensive when asked about the challenges facing the new parliamentary leadership and preserving Oulanyah’s legislative legacy.

According to Captain Francis Babu, an NRM leader and former Kampala Central MP, the new leadership will succeed only if the new speaker respects all the parliament rules. I also believe that the late Oulanyah’s view on parliamentary behaviour 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.”

However, Mr Babu warned the new leadership to be careful around populist demands.

He further stated that Changing the succession system for parliamentary leadership should not be guided by people’s sentiments. We need to launch extensive studies on the best options for filling leadership gaps in the Speaker’s office depending on existing practices in other jurisdictions.”

The government was very quick to elect a new motion the process to elect a new speaker, as Parliament cannot transact any business when the office of the Speaker is empty, as defined by the Constitution.

Ms Amon is just 48, and she was a deputy speaker beg=fore Friday and presided over Parliament for most of the time when her boss battled cancer; she is the second woman to rise to the position of Speaker after Rebecca Kadaga was occupied the office from 2011 to 2021.

The death of Oulanyah’s opened the race for all of his position, with the government in a rush to have a new speaker sworn in by Friday in order to enable Parliament to resume and pay its respects to the fallen leader, who occupied the office for only nine months.