Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi, Member of Parliament for Nakawa Division West, has received official approval as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament (LOP).
This endorsement was declared by Speaker Anita Among during the plenary session held on Tuesday, January 9, 2023, as Parliament reconvened after a three-week recess.
“On 22 December 2023, I received communication from the Secretary General of the National Unity Platform Party about changes of office bearers for opposition leadership in Parliament, naming Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi as the Leader of Opposition,” said Among.
Section 6(b) of the Administration of Parliament Act stipulates that a Leader of Opposition in Parliament shall be elected by a party in the Opposition having the greatest numerical strength in Parliament.
The nominated LOP takes office upon formal announcement on the Floor by the Speaker.
“I want to congratulate you, Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi, upon ascending to this position and I wish you a productive tenure of office. As government and the leadership of Parliament, we will work with you for the good of humanity,” Among added.
Ssenyonyi takes over from predecessor, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga, who served in the position for two and a half years, and has now been appointed to serve as a backbench Commissioner of Parliament representing the Opposition in the House.
Mpuuga commended the Speaker and Deputy Speaker for their support to his office while he served as the LOP, and appreciated Members of Parliament for working well with him.
“I know that sometimes I have stepped on toes, but I never set out to be personal in any way, I have been at the service of the country. If anybody felt personally offended, I take this occasion to apologise,” said Mpuuga.
He added: “We occupy this public space to change the trajectory of our country and I request that you give the same support to my successor.”
Ssenyonyi gave appreciation to Mpuuga for his service and leadership as the LOP, noting that he has led the Opposition in Parliament through difficult times.
“Rule 14(1) of our Rules of Procedure indicate that the principle role of the LOP is to keep the government in check and by God’s grace, I will execute that mandate effectively,” he said.
Ssenyonyi also called for support from the House adding that, “I hope we can disagree respectfully because keeping government in check is for our benefit and all the people we represent.”
The Government Chief Whip, Hon. Hamson Obua, commended Mpuuga for his role played in exercising the duties of the LOP with precision, and also committed government support to the work to be done by Ssenyonyi.
Hon. Solomon Silwany, Hon. Prossy Akampurira and Hon. Esther Afoyochan maintained their positions as backbench Commissioners representing the ruling National Resistance Movement Party, whereas Hon. John Baptist Nambeshe also maintained his position as the Chief Opposition Whip.
Among also announced that Hon. Abdu Katuntu (Indep., Bugweri County) replaces Hon. Eric Musana (Indep., Buyaga East County) as a representative of independents at the Pan African Parliament, whereas Hon. Elijah Okupa (Indep., Kasilo County) maintains his position as a member of the board at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.