Burundi, Uganda compete for EALA leadership
Rwanda will not field a candidate to contest for Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), according to the Minister in charge of EAC Affairs, Monique Mukaruliza.
She was responding to reports that Burundi has fronted Hasfa Moshi to face it off with Uganda’s Dora Byamukama, a second-term representative to the regional assembly.
Moshi is Burundi’s former Minister of EAC who resigned her cabinet seat specifically to fight for the EALA post.
She held the chairpersonship of the influential Council of Ministers when her country headed the summit.
Though the EAC treaty stipulates that the position should be rotational, it doesn’t automatically indicate who the next speaker is after Tanzania and Kenya, served their terms.
It means the rest of member countries are eligible for the position.
Since EALA started 10 years ago, there have been two Speakers; Abdulrahman Kinana from Tanzania (2002-2007) who was succeeded by the current Speaker, Abdulahin H. Abdi whose term ends soon.
“As Rwanda, we cannot fight for that position ...we follow the rotational principal”, she said,
“There are precedents that were set and we think that those who were the first in the community should be the first to hold that position.”
Should the principle of precedence be followed, Uganda’s candidate, in this case Byamukama, will head the regional assembly since Rwanda and Burundi are new entrants.
Mukaruliza further noted that Bujumbura and Kampala are free to negotiate.
“If in case both countries agree, we don’t have any problem,” she said.
The Speaker holds the position for a five-year single term.
The elections will be held today afternoon in Arusha where the new EALA members will also be sworn in.
EALA membership comprises a total of 52 members, of whom 45 are elected (9 from each Partner State) and seven ex-officio members (the Ministers responsible for EAC Affairs from the Partner States, the Secretary General of the Community and the Counsel to the Community).
Contact email: eric.kabeera[at]newtimes.co.rw