By HOMELAND MEDIA NEWSROOM
On Friday, Bukedea Woman MP, Annet Anita Among was voted speaker of the 11th parliament to replace Jacob Oulanyah who died only nine months after being voted into the position.
In the same election, Ruhinda North County MP, Thomasi Tayebwa was voted as deputy speaker of parliament to replace Among who relinquished the position for an upper one.
For these two, this was a mercurial rise to these top positions since none of them has spent 10 years in the ruling party through which they were elected to the position.
On Friday when she was elected as a speaker on the NRM ticket, it was only two years after Among officially joined the ruling NRM party, having fallen out with Forum for Democratic Change.
In 2006, Among left Centenary Bank where she had risen to the rank of branch manager to join politics, having earlier taught accounting at Kampala International University.
In politics, Among subscribed to the Forum for Democratic Change and in 2007 when Bukedea District was created, she lost to NRM’s Rose Akol but suffered yet another at the hands of the same person in 2011.
However, in 2016, Among finally broke through when she stood as an independent candidate and won the Bukedea Woman parliamentary seat.
A few years into that term, Among had shown signs that her heart was elsewhere, and not the Forum for Democratic Change.
Anita Catches Museveni’s eye
In 2017, a year after breaking the ceiling to join parliament, Anita Among confessed publicly that she was working with the NRM national chairman, President Yoweri Museveni.
“It is true the president is my good friend and I meet him any time I want. If it is about getting money from him, yes, I get it and even if I want it now, I can easily call and tell him that ‘Mzee, I am broke’, and he will give it to me,” Among confessed in an interview with the Observer.
By the time she said this in 2017, she was serving as the vice-chairperson of the committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE), a position to which she had been seconded by the opposition Forum Democratic Change.
The confession sent shockwaves to many, especially those in opposition, but this was not all.
Many with information from the intricate corridors of power say that by the time Among came up to confess in an interview that she was working with Museveni, she had earlier caught the president’s eye.
In fact, many describe her as one of Museveni’s fixers, a power broker and a go-to person for people including investors who want to see the president.
To this, Among had earlier helped Museveni meet Members of Parliament from Kasese who had been angered by the raid on Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere’s palace and his subsequent arrest.
It was Among who persuaded the legislators led by the then leader of Opposition, Winnie Kiiza to meet Museveni at his farm in Kisozi to iron out some of the differences they had then.
In 2019, President Museveni visited Among’s home area in Bukedea where he launched a number of projects.
Spending the entire day in Bukedea was a sign of the trust that Museveni had in Among.
During that visit, Museveni described Among as a good legislator.
“She came as an independent but turned out to be a good independent. She has developed the area. I have been to schools she built with her personal money but I have also supported her. She is a bit like me when I went to the bush because I didn’t know where the guns would come from but I started,” Museveni said of Among.
Anita Join NRM formally
From here, Among never looked back and in 2020, she formally joined the ruling NRM party and later won in the primaries.
She would later win the Bukedea Woman MP seat unopposed to come to parliament but this was not all, as the new queen of the NRM was endorsed by the ruling party to run for the position of deputy speaker of the 11th Parliament, a position she has served in for the last nine months until Friday when she was elected Speaker of the 11th parliament.
Born 48 years ago Anita Among is an accountant, lawyer and politician, born in Bukedea District.
She attended local schools for her primary and secondary education before attaining a Bachelor of Business Administration (Accounting), and a Master of Business Administration (Accounting) from Makerere University.
Among also has a Postgraduate Diploma in Banking from Uganda Martyrs University and a Bachelor of Laws from Kampala International University.
Prior to her election to parliament, she also served as a lecturer in accounting at Kampala International University.
Tayebwa’s Mercurial journey
Just like it has been for Among, Thomas Tayebwa can also be described as a quick climber within the ruling NRM party.
Unlike Among, Tayebwa was among the founding members of the opposition FDC and to this, his party number was 12.
However, Tayebwa was among the FDC members who left the opposition party together with Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu.
He would later join the ruling NRM party.
Speaking about his life story on Capital FM’s Desert Island Discs programme in 2016, Tayebwa said he realized FDC was not attracting new support, prompting him to leave.
We had a very big fan base but it wasn’t growing. My argument was simple; unless we cut into the base of NRM, then we wouldn’t be able to…I was like, look, I am not here to be a career opposition leader, I am here to enter a party and go to power,” Tayebwa said.
“I left politics and ventured into business, but I have a lot of friends who are in NRM…so, they were like look, why don’t you come? I remained apolitical for some time up to when an opportunity to serve came.”
Having joined the NRM, in 2021, Tayebwa was among the MPs nominated for the position of deputy speaker of the 11th parliament and was to battle against Anita Among.
During the NRM parliamentary caucus elections, Tayebwa garnered 149 votes against Among’s 168 and consequently lost out on the flag.
Dissatisfied with the outcome of the election, the Ruhinda County North MP was determined to give Among a run for her money by standing as an independent in the election for the position of the speaker.
For fear of dividing the ruling party votes, President Museveni personally asked Tayebwa to back off.
He was later rewarded with the government chief whip position that he has served for the last nine months until he was endorsed as the party flagbearer for the deputy speaker position.
He went ahead and won the position.
Born to Bangirana Daudi and Betty Komuhangi of Bitereko Village in Mitooma district in 1980, Tayebwa attended Kigarama Primary School, Kigarama Senior Secondary School and Ruyonza School for UACE in 2000.
In 2005, he received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences from Makerere University and a Bachelor of Law from the same university in 2012.
Just in 10 months, Among and Tayebwa who are defectors from opposition FDC have climbed to the topmost offices in the Ugandan parliament on the ruling NRM ticket.