By UG Reports
KAMPALA: According to reliable sources, the members of parliament are to elect a new speaker of the 11th Parliament on Friday this week following the death of incumbent Jacob Oulanyah.
Article 82(4) provides that subject to Clause (4) of Article 81 of this Constitution, “no business shall be transacted in Parliament other than an election to the office of Speaker at any time that office is vacant”.
Clause 4 of Article 81 relates to incoming lawmakers taking oaths of office, and of Member of Parliament, in order to be eligible to vote, and be voted, as Speaker.
The Speakers position fell vacant Sunday after President Yoweri Museveni confirmed that Jacob Oulanyah had died.
Jacob Oulanyah was a two-term deputy speaker before he was elected Speaker of Parliament last year where he oust Rebecca Kadaga.
He passed away on Sunday March 20th 2022 in Seattle, the capital of Washington state in the United States where he had gone to for treatment.
The Position of a Speaker in Uganda politics is the executive head of the Legislature and the Speaker is the third top ranked in the national order of precedence.
Jacob Oulanyah was also the Member of Parliament representing Omoro Country in the House and he was a member of National Resistance Movement party the is chaired by the President Museveni.
The supreme and subsidiary laws do not have an express provision about the office of Speaker being vacated by reason of death and constitutional lawyers, Mr Peter Walubiri, said the framers of the Constitution did not likely envisage a situation of a serving Speaker passing on.
“It must have been an oversight [because] there is a provision [about] what happens next in case a President dies while in office,” he said.
Article 109 of the Constitution provides that in the event an incumbent president dies, resigns or is removed, the Vice President shall assume office of the President until fresh elections are held.
Mr Walubiri argued that parliamentary business should wait until Oulanyah is accorded a decent send-off.
“The House is not fully-constituted without a Speaker,” he said.
Ms Cecilia Ogwal, a long-serving legislator and Dokolo District Woman MP, said there was an oversight in their 1993-95 Constituent Assembly debates and that the issue of a Speaker dying in office was not well-addressed.
Instead, the CA delegates toyed with the idea of having more than one deputy, according to Ms Ogwal.
“This [Oulanyah death and resulting vacancy] has now provided us with the opportunity to do so [address the loophole in the Constitution],” she said, adding that deputy Speaker Anita Among has been overwhelmed.
Ms Among abruptly adjourned Parliament indefinitely last Tuesday and together with others, including Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo, took a flight to check on Mr Oulanyah, who had been hospitalised in Washington, US, since early last month.
The Speaker, and the deputy, if they die in office, are under the Parliamentary Pensions (Amendment) (No.2) Act, 2011 (Part D), entitled to be accorded a state funeral, meaning all expenses shall be shouldered by the State.