The National Unity Platform, NUP Party the largest opposition political party in parliament with 57 MPs, has ordered its members to vote for Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga as speaker of parliament.
The development comes moments before casting of the Speakership vote starts at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds. The election being attended by President Yoweri Museveni, is one of the most hotly contested races between Omoro county MP, Jacob Oulanya and former speaker Rebecca Kadaga as well as FDC candidate Ssemujju Nganda.
Sources who attended a meeting of NUP leaders that took place on Sunday, say the party resolved not to come out publicly and declare their preferred candidate for speaker but asked their members to vote for Kadaga.
Kadaga is contesting as an independent, after the NRM party chose her former deputy Jacob Oulanyah over her.
However, an NUP candidate, Hon. Allan Ssewanyana nominated Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda of the Forum for Democratic Change.
According to two MPs who attended the meeting that went late into the night on Sunday, the party couldn’t bring itself to supporting Ssemujju who they view as a threat to the party interests.
‘We can’t support Ssemujju for speaker; FDC has fought us for a long time and the last thing is to give their member a platform," the MP said. "However, it’s also politically risky to come out publicly and oppose him because the public will misunderstand us.’
Another MP said that the decision by Kadaga to contest as an independent also gave them a new lease of life. "There are members who wouldn’t bring themselves to supporting an NRM candidate, now that she’s independent she gives us cover," the MP said. "But even then there is an entrenched position by some of our supporters who believe the opposition should support Ssemujju."