The 1995 Constitution in article 82(4) states that no business shall happen in Parliament other than the election of a Speaker at any time the Office falls vacant. Now that it’s official that late Speaker Jacob Oulanyah died in Seattle. The stipulations in the Constitution is clear and sets the parameter of the next actions.
In other parts of the article 82(5) the Chief Justice, which happens to be Justice Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo, either himself has to preside of the election of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker. He can also designate a judge to do it for him in his stead.
What we do know by the other stipulations in the Constitution. The Speaker cannot be a Vice-President or Minister for that matter. Unless, Rebecca Kadaga now resigns from her position. She cannot be re-elected as Speaker. If she would be willing to risk that and again renegade for her own personal interests. Which she did with fielding her candidacy in defiance to the will of her party in 2021. Alas, things can become tense and interesting.
Because, we know things will run with a State Funeral and a transport of the body from the United States and back to Uganda. Where a Committee appointed by the President will preside over the proceedings and functions of the late Oulanyah.
Since he was sick, the Deputy Speaker Anita Among have run the business of the Parliament. While she was expecting a ceremony of forgiveness from Hon. Francis Zaake this up-coming week. That will clearly be abandoned and new things are bound to appear.
The Constitution is setting precedence and there is protocol to follow. The ones who calls this cold-hearted and out of order. Well, if they want an illegal plenary and stop parliamentary business. Then you skip these formalities and opens up a quagmire of problems, which can haunt the transacted business of the August House. The House should be order and it should follow the stipulated laws, as it’s the body, which enacts and proposes new legislation. Therefore, they should be the ones that honours it first and accordingly so.
Some might say… isn’t that mighty Noble and outside of purpose. However, if the 1995 Constitution hadn’t said this in the articles and the laws was reflecting this. I wouldn’t have questioned the legality either. Nevertheless, here we are and the justifications to ask for it is justified. The article 82 is clear in it’s wording and there is little wiggle-room.
The ones speaking of long mourning period and not hold an election for a new speaker. They are void of the fact of the function and the constitutional bound role of the speaker. This is why the importance of doing it and ensure the formalities for business transacting in the August House. That should for matter for anyone who wants things to be done legally and after constitutional order.
Deputy Speaker Among might feel justified to continue, as she has done so in the absence of Oulanyah. Since he fell ill, became bed-ridden and went to hospital, even before he was referred to get treatment in the United States. She has been the one in his stead. However, the law isn’t giving her the rights to automatically get in his stead. The laws are set to have new elections. Meaning new candidates and possible re-election. This can be a hurdle or she have to trade on the goodwill of envelopes of late.
Time will really tell. Nevertheless, we have to see how the 11th Parliament will operate, but if they will act accordingly to the Constitution. They have now one agenda and one objective, which the Chief Justice or the ones he appoints have to preside over. The new election of the new speaker and deputy speaker. Since the seat of the Speaker is now vacant. Peace.