Civil society faults dispute over EALA Speaker

26Dec 2017
Edward Qorro
The Guardian
Civil society faults dispute over EALA Speaker

East African Civil Society has bemoaned in on the disputed election of the East African Legislative Assembly speaker.

Martin Ngoga

This comes a few days after Tanzania and Burundi failed to recognise Martin Ngoga as the new elected speaker of the fourth assembly.


Initially, the two East African countries boycotted the tense election that saw the Rwandese legislator picked up as the tenth successor to Daniel Kidega of Uganda.


 In a detailed statement made available to The Guardian Newspaper yesterday, Friends of East Africa, an organisation based in the city accused the EALA representatives in the fourth assembly of selfishness at the expense of East Africans' benefits and interests.


In the statement undersigned by its President and Chief Executive Officer Mosses Allan Adam, the civil society levelled blame on the lawmakers for blatantly deliberately derailing other EAC activities for their own vested interests.


"You've clearly demonstrated to us that you have failed to embrace unity among yourselves and you are not working for the citizenry of the community but for your vested self-interests, prestige and selfish benefits. In such context we do not expect much to be done for the progress of our Community," pointed out the civil society.


The organisation deemed the conduct as a 'total disregard and disrespect' for East Africans and the abuse of their values and identities as enshrined in the EAC anthem and the treaty to the establishment of the Community.


"The clear division among the legislators is likely to endanger the existence of the Community which is governed by the principle of people centred," warned the civil society.


The civil society further urged the East Africans lawmakers to put the dispute to an end before waiting for ‘external solutions’.


"Going to the Summit of head of states while the House is divided with such an agenda is an imperative failure big enough to send you back to your respective homes, proving that we elected “politically mature people”.


They further challenged EAC partner states through respective parliaments to do some amendments on the election of EALA representatives.


According to the civil society, EAC residents ought to be given the right to elect their representatives directly during respective general elections in partner states.


The new EALA term resumes in a bid of giving  greater sense of citizenry representation.


According to the Arusha based organisation, those who misbehave by absconding and boycotting plenary sessions ought to be suspended from the House.


Last week, EALA representatives elected Ngoga  as the Speaker of the fourth EALA assembly.


Ngoga, a member of the regional parliament from Rwanda, garnered 33 votes against three by his closest competitor Leontyne Nzeyimana from Burundi.


Both, Burundi and Tanzania boycotted the contest where a number of votes cast was 36, with 18 walking out of the exercise.


Members who were in the assembly finally pushed for the election of the speaker after two Tanzanian lawmakers protested over a decision to have their country withdraw its candidate, Adam Kimbisa, from the race.

The MPs, led by the outspoken Suzan Nakauki and Fred Mbidde Mukasa, both from Uganda, asked fellow lawmakers from Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan to proceed with the vote despite a boycott by Tanzania and Burundi.

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