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When Museveni was Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament; See Full List and Profiles of Speakers since Independence

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was also Speaker or Chairman of the National Resistance Council (NRC). Courtesy Photo

As parliament commemorates 100 years since its formation, we take a look at the Speakers who have steered the House since Uganda gained her independence.

Right after independence, the Speakership has been a highly coveted position which has attracted a number of high profile personalities.

Among them is President Yoweri Museveni.

Museveni was the fifth Speaker of Parliament. Having come to power in 1986, as the Chairman of the National Resistance Council, Museveni automatically became Speaker since it was the legislative body of government then.

Hajji Moses Kigongo, as NRC Vice Chairman between 1986 and 1996, was as well the Deputy Speaker of the fourth and fifth Parliaments (1986 -89 and 89- 96, respectively).

With the election of the new Parliament under the 1995 constitution, a new Speaker – the late James Wapakhabulo – took over from Museveni.

Wapakhabulo became the first Speaker elected by members of the House.

He reigned until 1998 when he was replaced with the then Koboko MP Francis Ayume.

Ayume held the position untill 2001 when current Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi took over from him.

Ssekandi was Speaker until 2011 when he was appointed Vice President, a position he holds up to date.

Ayume on the other hand became Attorney General in 2001 until his death in a motor accident in 2004.

Below are all the Speakers of Parliament since independence in 1962;

Sir John Bowes Griffin (1962 -1963)

Grif­fin was Ugan­da’s first post-independence Speaker of Par­lia­ment.

He had previously served as Chief Jus­tice of Uganda from 1952-1958.

Bowes Grif­fin was born on 19 April 1903 to Sir Charles James Grif­fin, and held sev­eral po­si­tions in dif­fer­ent colonies in­clud­ing be­ing the At­tor­ney Gen­eral in the Ba­hamas in the mid-1930s and act­ing as Gov­er­nor and Chief Jus­tice for var­i­ous pe­ri­ods.

He handed over the Speaker-ship of the first Par­lia­ment to Naren­dra M. Pa­tel in May 1963.

Naren­dra M. Pa­tel (1963- Jan­u­ary 1971)

Narendra became Speaker in May 1963, replacing Sir Griffin who had assumed the position at independence the previous year.

Patel, the first non-European to hold the position is remembered for having reigned during the most chaotic constitutional period when President Obote overthrew the independence constitution and later replaced it with the 1967 Pigeon-hole constitution.

His reign ended when Obote was overthrown by Idi Amin Dada in 1971.

Prof. Ed­ward Rugu­mayo (1979-80)

Prof Rugumayo was nominated by the Moshi conference in Tanzania to chair the national assembly while in exile in Zambia.

He had been a minister in Amin’s government between 1971 and 73.

He would chair the Na­tional Con­sul­ta­tive Coun­cil (NCC) which was the in­terim Par­lia­ment of Uganda Na­tional Lib­er­a­tion Front, com­posed of 32 Mem­bers and later ex­panded to 125.

Fol­low­ing the over­throw of Idi Amin, NCC con­tin­ued to be the supreme leg­isla­tive body un­til the gen­eral elec­tions of 1980.

Prof Rugu­may­o’s chair­man­ship of the coun­cil ended in 1980, af­ter which he served as min­is­ter in Pres­i­dent Mu­sev­eni’s gov­ern­ment in dif­fer­ent port­fo­lios in­clud­ing; Trade, Tourism, In­dus­try and In­ter­nal af­fairs.

He is cur­rently the chan­cel­lor of the Uni­ver­sity of the Moun­tains of the Moon in Fort Por­tal, Uganda.

Fran­cis K. Bu­ta­gira (1980-1985)

Mr Bu­ta­gira, born on 22nd No­vem­ber 1942 in Mbarara Dis­trict, and a Har­vard Uni­ver­sity grad­u­ate of Mas­ters of Laws, had been a mem­ber of the Na­tional Con­sul­ta­tive Coun­cil for two years from 1979 and a High Court judge be­tween 1974 and 1979.

He served as the Speaker of the 4th Par­lia­ment tak­ing over from Prof Rugu­mayo in 1980 un­til the mil­i­tary coup by Gen. Bazil­lio Okello over­threw the UPC regime on 27 July 1985.

He lost the po­si­tion of Speaker but he con­tin­ued to be a Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment from 1989 to 1996.

He was later made an am­bas­sador to Ger­many, a po­si­tion he held un­til re­cently when he was re­lieved of his du­ties.

He be­came the Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the United Na­tions in July 2003.

Yow­eri Kaguta Mu­sev­eni (1986 to 1996)

H.E Pres­i­dent Mu­sev­eni served as the chair­man of the Na­tional Re­sis­tance Coun­cil (NRC), the 5th Par­lia­ment, af­ter suc­cess­fully over­throw­ing the gov­ern­ment of Bazil­lio Okello.

The NRC was not a na­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tive coun­cil and had 38 his­tor­i­cal mem­bers of the Na­tional Re­sis­tance Army.

It was later ex­panded to in­clude rep­re­sen­ta­tives from around the coun­try.

In 1993, the NRC passed the Con­stituent As­sem­bly Statute that es­tab­lished and pro­vided for the elec­tion of the Con­stituent As­sem­bly Del­e­gates to work on the for­mu­la­tion of the new con­sti­tu­tion.

James Wa­pakhab­ulo (1996 to 1998)

Wa­pak­ab­ulo was born on 23rd March 1945, and was the first elected Speaker of Par­lia­ment af­ter the pro­mul­ga­tion of the 1995 Con­sti­tu­tion of the Re­pub­lic of Uganda.

This was the 6th Par­lia­ment.

He is re­mem­bered for hav­ing strongly op­posed the lift­ing of term lim­its in 2005 which led to his fallout with Pres­i­dent Mu­sev­eni.

He was ap­pointed sec­ond deputy Prime Min­is­ter and Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs in 2001

Wapakhabulo died on March 27, 2004.

 Fran­cis Ayume (1998- 2001)

Fran­cis Ayume, a lawyer, was born on Au­gust 18, 1940 and served as the Koboko Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment from 1996 un­til his death in a road ac­ci­dent in 2004.

He was Speaker in the 6th Par­lia­ment hav­ing taken over the speak­er­ship from Rt. Hon Wa­pakhab­ulo.

Af­ter his speakership reign, Ayume was ap­pointed At­tor­ney Gen­eral in 2001.

 Ed­ward Ki­wanuka Ssekandi (2001 to 2011)

Born on Jan­u­ary 19, 1943, Mr Ssekandi be­came Speaker in 2001 and steered both the 7th and 8th Par­lia­ments.

He joined ac­tive par­lia­men­tary pol­i­tics when he was ap­pointed as a mem­ber to the Constituent As­sem­bly in 1993 whose work re­sulted into the 1995 Con­sti­tu­tion of the Repub­lic of Uganda.

He was later elected MP for Bukoto County Cen­tral, Masaka, in 1996, a con­stituency he has rep­re­sents to date.

He first served as Deputy Speaker un­der the late James Wa­pakhab­ulo from 1996 to 2001.

He now serves as the Vice Pres­i­dent of the Re­pub­lic of Uganda, a po­si­tion he has oc­cu­pied since 2011.

Re­becca Al­it­wala Kadaga (2011- date)

Rt. Hon Kadaga is the current Speaker of the Uganda, and Woman Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for the Ka­muli Dis­trict.

She was Deputy Speaker from 2001 to 2011.

Ms Kadaga holds Bachelors of Laws, a Diploma in Wom­en’s Law and a Mas­ter of Arts De­gree in Wom­en’s Law.

She served as the chair­per­son of the Uni­ver­sity Coun­cil for Mbarara Uni­ver­sity, be­tween 1993 and 1996.

In 1996, Hon Kadaga served as Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of the East African Women Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans As­so­ci­a­tion and in 1996 to 1998, she was the Min­is­ter of State for Re­gional Co­op­er­a­tion (Africa and the Mid­dle East).

She then served as Min­is­ter of State for Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and Avi­a­tion, from 1998 un­til 1999.

Be­tween 1999 and 2000 she was the Min­is­ter for Par­lia­men­tary Af­fairs.

Ahead of May when the eleventh parliament will convene to elect the next Speaker, it’s worth noting that there have been nine(9) speakers since independence.

This means that that number is likely to remain unchanged unless Kadaga is defeated by her deputy Jacob Oulanyah. 

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