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SPEAKERSHIP RACE: Panic in Oulanyah’s camp as Kadaga, Museveni, hold classified meeting

The race for speakership of the coming 11th parliament has yet again taken a new twist after President Museveni and Incumbent Rebecca Kadaga engaging in a classified meeting throwing panic into the latter’s rival, Jacob Oulanyah’s camp.

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The highly secretive meeting between Museveni, the Chairman of the National Resistance Movement Central Executive Committee, and Kadaga the chairperson of the women’s wing in the Eastern region early this week has deservingly sent tongues wagging.

Museveni is said to have invited Kadaga on Tuesday to his country farm in Kisozi, Gomba where the two had a highly engaging two-hour meeting whose content remains a top-secret up to now.

Even though neither the President nor Kadaga has come out to share the content of the highly suspicious deliberations in Kisozi, it’s highly suspected that the issue of the Speakership was key on the agenda.

Kadaga is in a do-or-die battle to retain her position as the next parliament’s speaker, with her deputy Jacob Oulanyah relentlessly vowing to drag on to the very last minute. The matter had graduated into a bitter war with accusations and counter-accusations between the two principals.

This necessitated the NRM Party Chairman’s intervention who suspended the campaigns until further notice. In the meeting at State Entebbe about a fortnight ago, Museveni is reported to have castigated his two cadres for showing seeds of division within the party that were, according to him throwing it in disrepute.

The Tuesday meeting in Kisozi thus comes as a relief to the Kadaga backers whose candidate has been portrayed as lacking Museveni’s blessings in the race, and a big blow to Mr. Oulanyah whose mobilization for the Speakership is strongly developed on an assertion that he alone will be favored at the Central Executive Committee due to the perceived communication imbalance between his nemesis and Museveni.

From Kisozi, Kadaga, in a joyous mood has clandestinely gone on with her mobilization, a fact that suggests her candidature was okayed. In the past, the Speaker has occasionally clashed with Museveni but they have always found a way of resolving their differences.

While on a campaign trail in Kamuli in November last year, Museveni downplayed reports he sharply conflicted with Kadaga, insisting these were rumours being fueled by enemies of unity.

He clearly stated that the two had sat and resolved all their outstanding differences and that he saw no reason why he would fail to agree with Kadaga yet he had on previous occasions mended fences with former allies, particularly naming former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and late Eriya Kategaya.

It ought to be remembered that the decision on who gets the party’s endorsement for the Speakership will be made by the Central Executive Committee which is expected to convene later this month.

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