In a July 12 letter, Kadaga has directed Kaahwa to notify the House about her decision on which district she would wish to represent
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has directed the former Hoima district woman MP to notify the House if she wishes to continue representing (Hoima) or a newly created Kikuube district.
Tophas Kaahwa, who has represented Hoima district for nearly two full terms, now represents Kikuube district. She chose to represent women in the new district, and that did not require her to subject herself to an election.
Meanwhile, her longtime political opponent, who attempted to unseat her unsuccessfully, Harriet Businge, was handed the NRM flag last year in primaries to fill the vacancy Kaahwa's exit created in Hoima.
But the Electoral Commission (EC) has not held a by-election to fill the vacancy. The deputy EC chairperson, Hajat Aisha Lubega, recently said the institution is unaware of a vacant position in Hoima because it has never been informed about it.
The House is supposed to inform the EC about the vacant position after communication from the MP or party.
In a July 12 letter, Kadaga has directed Kaahwa to notify the House about her decision on which district she would wish to represent.
“…it is imperative that you notify Parliament of your choice in exercise of the right given under section 8 (5) of the Parliamentary Elections Act. Your response will guide me on what course of action to be taken as dictated by the provisions of the Constitution,” Kagada stated.
The Speaker has also asked the MP to treat the matter with urgency and respond within two weeks after receipt of her letter. The issue, Kadaga, noted touches on one of the cardinal tenets of the Constitution – representation of the people.
The Constitution requires that whenever a vacancy occurs in Parliament, the clerk to the House must inform the EC in writing within ten days after it has occurred. A by-election should be held to fill the vacancy within sixty days after the EC has received information about the vacant position from the Parliament.
The Speaker noted that Kaahwa wrote to the EC informing the electoral institution of her intention to represent Kikuube, but that decision was not brought to the attention of the House.
Had this letter been copied or addressed to Parliament, Kadaga, said a vacancy would have been created in the House, warranting the holding of a by-election in Hoima.