Uganda’s 28 Longest Serving MPs in Eleventh Parliament

At least 28 of the 499 MPs elected on January 14 have served for 15 or more years in Parliament, making them the longest serving legislators since President Museveni captured power in 1986.

Elected last Thursday were 353 directly elected MPs and 146 district Woman MPs. Each of the 10 new cities elected a Woman MP to add on the 136 elected by the districts including Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).

Daily Monitor analysed the list of MPs who won the Thursday polls and picked out those who have been in Parliament since 2006 or earlier.

The list also includes those who lost elections in between the first term and the current term but were re-elected last week.

Among those who have had their stay in Parliament disrupted by defeats midway since but have been re-elected to Parliament are: Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi (Rujumbura County), Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire (Ruhinda County), former Education Minister Jessica Alupo (Woman MP, Katakwi), Dr James Nsaba Buturo and Ms Cecilia Ogwal.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has won consecutive elections as Kamuli District Woman MP since she joined the National Resistance Council (NRC- transitional parliament) in 1989. Another NRC survivor is Gen Muhwezi though he only returned to Parliament after defeating Mr Fred Turyamuhweza of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) to reclaim the seat for Rujumbura County in Rukungiri District he lost in the previous elections.

Gen Muhwezi was part of the 38 historical members of the National Resistance Army (NRA) which first composed the NRC in 1986 before the countrywide elections in 1989 which created the 5th Parliament with 270 members.

Four of these long serving MPs joined Parliament in 1996 while 13 others have been in the House since 2001.

Some of the ministers who survived the Thursday onslaught by the Opposition like Matia Kasaija (Finance), Frank Tumwebaze (Gender), and David Bahati (State for Planning) are among the eight MPs who have served since 2006.

That category includes controversial National Resistance Movement (NRM) members Barnabas Tinkasimiire (Buyaga West) and Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga).

Seven of the longest serving MPs entering the 11th Parliament are on the Opposition side. However, Mr Abdu Katuntu (Bugweri) and Mr Elijjah Okupa (Kasilo) last year walked out of FDC party to run as independents and they won on Thursday.

Mr Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East) has for the second time been elected as an opposition leaning independent since he quit NRM where he was termed as one of the "rebel MPs".

Buyaga West MP, Mr Tinkasimiire who has been in Parliament since 2006 said the magic of being re-elected is being in touch with the electorate to understand their problems and find solutions.

"Always getting back to the masses and specifically speaking what they want, not what the establishment wants to hear. You need to be an MP of the people but not of the President or his Ministers. That is what MPs need to do in order to be elected again and again. Not these who come to sleep in Parliament," said Mr Tinkansimire.

Lands Minister Betty Amongi was elected for the third time as MP for Oyam South on Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) party ticket. Before, she had served two terms as Oyam District Woman MP. She told Daily Monitor yesterday that she left the affirmative action position after mentoring her current successor, district woman MP Santa Alum.

"I think the first issue is understanding the problems that affect your constituency and then you keep consulting the people on their needs and address them either through linking government programmes or lobbying donors that can support you to bring services to the people. But there is also that part of personal initiative," Ms Amongi said.

Asked about her plans to retire, Ms Amongi remained cagey but said she has empowered many people by helping them to join leadership starting from the lower local government level. She said there are many young leaders who can make a like-for-like successor.

Meanwhile, the number of longest serving MPs may increase in case some of the incumbents bounce back in last evening's special interest groups elections.

LIST OF LONGEST SERVING MPS

Name Area Represented Joined house

Rebecca Kadaga Woman MP, Kamuli 1989

Cecilia Ogwal Woman MP, Dokolo 1996

Abdu Katuntu Bugweri 2001

Nandala Mafabi Budadiri West 2001

Felix Okot Ogong Dokolo South 1996

Betty Amongi Oyam South 2001

Hillary Onek Lamwo 2001

Jimmy Akena Lira City East 2006

Peter Abrahams Lokii Kotido Municipality 2006

David Wakikona Bukyigai 2001

Wamakuyu Mudimi Elgon County 2006

Jenipher Namuyangu Woman MP, Kibuku 2001

Elijjah Okupa Kasilo County 2001

Jessica Alupo Katakwi 2001

Abubakar Jeje Odongo Orungo County 1996

Bintu Jalia Lukumu Bujenje County 2001

Barnabas Tinknsimire Buyaga West 2006

Matia Kasaija Buyanja County 2006

James Nsababuturo Bufumbira East 2001

Chris Baryomunsi Kinkizi East 2006

Jim Muhwezi Rujumbura County 1986

David Bahati Ndorwa West 2006

Wilfred Niwagaba Ndorwa East 2006

Frank Tumwebaze Kibaale East 2006

Kahinda Otafiire Ruhinda 1996

Bright Rwamirama Isingiro North 2001

Anifa Bangirana Kawooya Mawogola South 2001

Theodore Ssekikubo Lwemiyaga County 2001

Source: The Monitor

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