NUP meets today to pick Leader of Opposition

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KAARO KARUNGI | KAMPALA – The leadership of the National Unity Platform (NUP) party is meeting today to finalise the process of selecting the Leader of Opposition in Parliament (Lop) for the 11th Parliament.

Mr Lewis Rubongoya, the party secretary general, admitted that they are running out of time, and that is why today’s meeting is crucial.

“We are still doing meetings, by tomorrow (today) we will have a position,”  Mr Rubongoya told press yesterday.

Mr Mathias Mpuuga, NUP’s deputy president in charge of central region , confirmed the meeting.

Mr Mathias Mpuuga, NUP’s deputy president in charge of central region , confirmed the meeting.

“The party will have a meeting tomorrow (today) to discuss the options and we shall let the country know. By Monday, we shall have that matter settled,” Mr Mpuuga said.

With majority seats in the 11th Parliament, NUP is taking over leadership of the Opposition in the House from the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) that has held the baton for three five-year terms.

Article 81 0f the Constitution as amended creates the position to oversee the affairs of the Opposition in Parliament.

Asked whether party president Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, will have the final say on the appointee, Mr Rubongoya said there are various steps to be followed, away from the president’s thoughts and wishes.

“He is the one who chairs the party organs and when not available, he delegates but he does not have to have an input directly. Even if he had a nomination, they would subject to these organs,” Mr Rubongoya said

He added:  “The party has different structures and organs so we have been consulting those different organs, so we should have answer soon, we hope tomorrow. We have an executive board, one of the bodies in charge of selecting leaders, we have a parliamentary caucus, we have the national executive committee and most of the decisions we take, we consult with these organs.”

Factors such as regional balance and the gender question are also being considered.

Mr Rubongoya, however, dismissed claims that the position has been ring-fenced for a few members, who are seen to be more experienced in how the House works.

Sources privy to the matter indicate that the contest for the position is tight among Mr Mpuuga (Nyendo-Mukungwe), Mr Medard Sseggona (Busiro South) and Mr John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya County).

“All our MPs are potential candidates because the law says the LoP shall be selected from among MPs, so they are the ones we are looking at,” Mr Rubongoya said.

Mr Mpuuga distanced himself from claims that he is being considered for the position, adding that he was not aware of any persons being considered more viable.

According to the Administration of Parliament amendment Act 2006, the Leader of the Opposition principal role is to keep the government in check.

The LoP also appoints the Shadow Cabinet, is a member of the business committee, and participates in the determining and scheduling of Parliament business and sits on the Parliamentary Commission.

The LoP also gives the official response to the President’s State of the Nation Address.

The NUP party is also in consultation to form a shadow cabinet and fill the other positions, including the Chief Whip and the leadership of the four accountability committees, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Committee on Commissions Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE), Local Government Accounts Committee (LGAC), and Committee on Government Assurances.

“The Shadow Cabinet will be selected after this other side (Executive) announce their cabinet and we are consulting with our comrades because we are looking at these positions as mission oriented to aid the struggle,” Mr Rubongoya said.

Copy: Monitor

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