The debate by Uganda’s Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leaders regarding the position of Leader of the Opposition in Parliament has triggered some questions in my mind. Too lazy to read the Constitution and the laws that govern parliament, I seek guidance from my learned friends.

First let us go back to February 19, 2016, the day after the voting exercise. The unthinkable has happened and Badru Kiggundu has announced the following:

Besigye - smiling
Dr. Kizza Besigye, President of Uganda (hypothetical)

PRESIDENCY

Kizza Besigye 52%
Yoweri Museveni: 35%
Amama Mbabazi: 12 %
Others: 1%

President of Uganda 2016-2021: Kizza Besigye

Yoweri Museveni, the incumbent ruler, peacefully hands over power to President Kizza Besigye on May 12, 2016. The latter is now Head of the Executive Branch and appoints the cabinet ministers, among them Tamale Kirundi, in charge of Foreign Affairs.

Uganda Parliament
Uganda Parliament Buildings in 1963

PARLIAMENT:

  • NRM: 293 seats**
  • Independents: 66 seats
  • FDC: 36 seats
  • DP: 15 seats
  • UPC: 6 seats

Power: Legislation.

 

They elect their Speaker: Hajji Muhammad Nsereko and Deputy Speaker: Susan Amero

** Even if we gave 60 of the NRM seats to FDC (in a fraud-free election), the NRM would still have the majority in parliament.

Questions:

  1. Which party would form the Opposition in Parliament?
  2. Which party would  appoint the Leader of the Opposition?
  3. Does the person who holds the presidency determine the decisions of parliament?
  4. Would Parliament remain pegged onto the fate of the presidency? In other words, does appointing the Leader of Opposition mean recognition of the occupant in State House?

These are sincere questions by someone who has not taken any position on the debate, for I do not really know what it all means.  When I look at the example of the US Congress, there have been many times when the minority in one or both houses has been the party whose candidate won the presidency.

Answers to these questions may help me and, more importantly, the FDC leaders who are struggling with the decision.

 

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One Response to “FDC’s debate re: Leader of the Opposition in the Uganda Parliament”

  1. Nelson Mugisha

    In the scenario you provided, FDC would appoint Leader of Government business in Parliament. NRM would appoint or elect a leader to guide their legislation (or as know in USA system majority leader).

    The leader of government business appointed by FDC would have to work with a Majority NRM in Parliament.

    The post of Leader of opposition would not exist inside Parliament but outside. Where NRM would lead the opposition outside Parliament and FDC head of Government (Executive Branch).

    Such scenario might need a constitutional amendment or a new act of parliament to deal with new positions as the result of the scenario you have presented in your writing.

    Reply

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