East African Legislative Assembly to be Inaugurated on Monday

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In short
The stalemate in Kenya and South Sudan caused a deadlock in the regional body because it cannot conduct any business in the absence of one partner state. As such, the administration of oath for the other legislators in the assembly was suspended indefinitely

 The Fourth East African Legislative Assembly will be inaugurated on Monday December 18,  the East African Community Secretariat has announced.  The date was set after the election of representatives from Kenya to the regional Assembly on Thursday. 

The assembly, an organ of the East African Community  is mandated with legislation, representation and oversight.  It is constituted of nine elected members from each of the Partner States. 

Although the 3rd Assembly wound up its tour of duty on June 4, 2017, the fourth assembly could not start its work as planned on June  5, 2017 because  only Parliament of Uganda, Parliament of Burundi and Parliament of Rwanda had finalized the processes by then.  The election of Kenyan representatives had been delayed by the presidential and Parliamentary elections in the country. 

The appointment of South Sudan representatives had been challenged before the East African Court of Justice by South Sudan lawyer Wani Santino Jada on condition that the nine would-be legislators had been handpicked by South Sudan president Gen Salva Kiir.

Wani said that the act was in violation of Article 50 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community and the article four of the East African Legislative Assembly Election Act.  Both regulations give the mandate to the National Assembly in each Partner State.  The Transitional National Legislative Assembly of South Sudan revisited the issue and held fresh elections on August 3, 2017, before filing the names with EALA.

The stalemate in Kenya and South Sudan caused a deadlock in the regional body because it cannot conduct any business in the absence of one partner state. As such, the administration of oath for the other legislators in the assembly was suspended indefinitely.

Yesterday, Parliament of Kenya elected its nine representatives setting the stage for the inauguration of the Assembly in Arusha, Tanzania, a statement issued by the EAC secretariat indicates. 

The nine elected nominees to EALA from Kenya are Simon Mbugua, Florence Jematiah, Mpuri Aburi, Aden Noor and Wanjiku Muhia. Other members are Oburu Odinga, Kennedy Kalonzo, Abdikadir Aden and Fatuma Ibrahim.

Uganda's representatives to the assembly include three returning incumbents, Susan Nakawuki, Fred Mukasa Mbidde and Chris Opoka.   The new faces to EALA are Rose Akol, George Stephen Odongo, Mathias Kasamba, Mary Mugyenyi, Dennis Namara and Paul Musamali. 

Parliament of Tanzania returned Adam Kimbisa and Maryam Ussi from the 3rd Assembly. The newcomers include Josephine Lemoyan, Happiness Lugiko, H Pamela Maassay, Dr Ngwaru J Maghembe, Dr Abdullah Makame, Eng. Habib Mnyaa and Fancy Nkuhi.
Parliament of Rwanda's list submitted to EALA in May 2017 includes Pierre Celestin Rwigema, Martin Ngoga, Gasinzigwa Oda and Kalinda Francois Xavier, all who previously served in the 3rd Assembly. New faces include Alex Bahati, Fatuma Ndangiza, Rutazana Francine, Barimuyabo Jean Claude and Hon Uwumukiza Francoise.

Parliament of Burundi on their part elected Jean Marie Muhirwa, Leontine Nzeyimana, Ahingejeje Alfred, HBurikukiye Marie Claire, Burikukiye Victor, Karerwa Mo-Mamo, H Nduwayo Christophe, Rurakamvye Pierre Claver and Nsavyimana Sophie.

South Sudan's representatives are Dr Ann Itto Leonardo, Gai Deng Nhial Deng, Dr Woda Jaremiah Odok, Dr Gabriel Garang Arol. Others are Thomas D Deng, Mukulia Kennedy Ayason, Kim Duop and Gideon Gatpan Thoar.

Meanwhile, preparations for the forthcoming Sitting are at an advanced stage in Arusha with a number of Speakers from the Partner States' Parliaments expected to grace the occasion.
All Members are expected to be sworn in by the Clerk before the election of the Speaker. 

The week-long activities will include the administration of oath for members, the election of the speaker and constitution of various Committees. The new EALA Speaker who takes over from Rt Hon Daniel Kidega is expected to guide the Assembly over the next five years taking it a notch higher in the integration dispensation. 


About the author

Sylvia Nankya
Sylvia is an Editor and Media Trainer with Uganda Radio Network. She has been a URN staff member since 2013. Sylvia has previously worked as a reporter and news anchor with Radio One (2001-2009) and with Vision Group (2009-2011). Six of her active years in Journalism were spent covering the Parliament of Uganda.

Over the past few years, Sylvia has worked to promote the positive development of societies recovering from conflict through training journalists on choices of stories, how they report issues and use of appropriate language in covering conflict and post-conflict situations.

She is an Alumni of RNTC- Holland, Les Aspin Centre for Government at Marquette University-WI, USA and a Community Solutions Fellow.