By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
The Member of Parliament for Gomba West, Ms Robinah Gureme Rwakoojo has expressed confidence in the National Resistance Movement (NRM) top policy making organ, the Central Executive Committee (CEC) in deciding the ruling party candidates for Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
Recently elected for the second term in Parliament, Ms Rwakoojo, a retired civil servant is on the growing list of MPs who are seeking to replace Mr Jacob Oulanya as Deputy Speaker when the 11th Parliament convenes in May.
Mr Oulanyah together with Kira Municipality MP, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda and Bukoto Central MP elect Robert Ssebamala are challenging Speaker Rebecca Kadaga for the leadership of the legislature.
Ms Rwakoojo who officially made her declaration yesterday at Imperial Royale Hotel is battling fellow NRMs law makers; Jacob Oboth-Oboth (West Budama South), Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga), Thomas Tayebwa (Ruhinda North) and Anita Among (Bukedea District).
Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) so far has Chua West MP, Mr Okin P.P Ojara while the independents are; Mr Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central) and Mr Eric Musana (Buyaga West).
However, the NRM candidates for Speaker and Deputy Speaker will be determined by the CEC chaired by President Museveni and their names will be sent to the Parliamentary caucus to be supported when elections happen in the House.
With tensions being high on who the CEC will bless for the two positions, Ms Rwakoojo said that she is a loyal member of the NRM who will not seek for anyone to peddle influence in the decision making and will respect it.
“I am a loyal member of the NRM. What I know CEC will consider all people who have expressed interest and they will come to know is capable. Much as previously the Speakers have been dragged to the Chair, there is need to know who is contesting early enough and that’s why I have come out today” she said.
Ms Rwakoojo who sits on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, and, on the standing Committee on equal opportunities, declined to be dragged in the ongoing fight between the Speaker and Deputy Speaker which has seen the latter not given space to chair plenary sittings.
“If there is anything that has gone wrong, it is not the usual one. The Constitution and Rules of Procedure are sufficient enough to have a good relationship between the Speaker and Deputy Speaker” Ms Rwakoojo stated.
Ms Rwakoojo has anchored her campaign on enhancing debating skills of the MPs by ensuring there are midterm refresher trainings on top of the induction exercise at the start of the term; improving the welfare of the MPs and staff of Parliament; promoting the legislature’s good working relationship with executive and judiciary; and, focusing on training for parliamentary reporters for effective coverage of proceedings.
Kassanda South MP elect Mr David Kabanda described her as a calm person who when elected Deputy Speaker may not cause formation of cliques that have portrayed Parliament as a divided institution currently.
“I like people who are calm and I think she is the best candidate for that position. You have seen cliques already forming in this process where everyone coming up to contest for Deputy Speaker has fronted another person for Speaker” Mr Kabanda said.
Others present were; Ms Hellen Grace Asamo (PWD, eastern), Ms Rosemary Tumusiime (Entebbe Municipality) and Ms Veronica Eragu Isala (Kaberamaido County).
Who is Rwakoojo
She is completing her first term in Parliament as the MP for Gomba West. Ms Rwakoojo a member of the NRM is among the few candidates on the ruling party that defied odds to defeat the surging wave of the opposition party, NUP which swept the central region.
Ms Rwakoojo, an advocate of the High Court, is currently a member of the Appointments Committee of Parliament that vets Presidential appointees. The committee is chaired by Speaker Kadaga. She is also a member of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee which was instrumental in the processing of the famous Constitutional Amendment Bill No 2 of 2017 that led to the removal of Presidential term limits.
After graduating in 1989 with a Bachelor of Laws from Makerere University, she completed her Bar Course from the Law Development Centre (LDC) in 1990. On top of that she has a postgraduate diploma in Public Administration from the Uganda Management Institute (UMI).
Before venturing into politics in 2016, Ms Rwakoojo was working as Commissioner Line Ministries at the Directorate of Civil Litigation, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. She held this office for five years.
Between 2008 and 2013, she was the Acting Director Civil Litigation in the same Ministry. Still at the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs serving under different Attorney Generals, she served as; Acting Head, Directorate of Civil Litigation (2007-2008); Principal State Attorney (1999-2003), Senior State Attorney, Directorate of Legal Advisory Services (1996-1999); and, Senior State Attorney, Office of the Administrator General (1995-1996).
Other junior positions she served in under the same Ministry are; State Attorney, Administrator General’s Department (1992-1995); Pupil State Attorney (1990-1992); and, Principal State Attorney, Directorate of Civil Litigation (2003-2007).
Ms Rwakoojo is a fully paid up member of; The Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA); Uganda Law Society (LDC); and East African Law Society (EALS).