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.