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NRM caucus returns EALA MPs, leaves opposition guessing

NRM chairman President Museveni at Kololo today. PHOTO PPU

✅ Rose Akol Okullu
✅ James Kakooza
✅ Mary Mugyenyi
✅ Paul Mwasa Musamali
✅ Dennis Namaga
✅ George Stephen Odongo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The ruling National Resistance Movement -NRM Parliamentary Caucus has not endorsed any particular Opposition and Independent candidates contesting to represent the country at the East Africa Legislative Assembly – EALA.

The Caucus convened on Friday afternoon at the Kololo Independence Grounds to deliberate on an earlier resolution of the party top organ, the Central Executive Committee (CEC) and a section of Opposition and Independents vying for seats in the upcoming EALA polls.

EALA is an organ of the East African Community -EAC established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the establishment of the East African Community. The Assembly has a Membership comprising nine members elected by each Partner State; ex-officio members consisting of the Minister or Assistant Minister responsible for the East African Community Affairs from each Partner State; the Secretary-General and the Counsel to the Community.

Currently, the Assembly has 54 elected Members; and 8 ex-officio Members totaling 62 members. Each of the East African Community member countries has to send nine legislators to the Arusha-based Assembly. The term of the current EALA members ends this year and elections are scheduled for December.

On July 8th, 2022, the CEC chaired by President Yoweri Museveni resolved to maintain all six NRM representatives at EALA in recognition of their exceptional performance to continue their tenure for another term. The incumbent NRM members are; Mary Mugyenyi, Rose Akol, Stephen George Odongo, Denis Namara, James Kakooza, and Paul Musamali Mwasa.

CEC then recommended these incumbent EALA members to the NRM Parliamentary Caucus as the NRM candidates for the EALA seats.

Now, in the Caucus resolution communicated by the party Secretary General, Richard Todwong, the MPs unanimously endorsed the position by CEC.

Sources at the Caucus meeting also told Uganda Radio Network-URN that the NRM MPs, who form majority in the Eleventh Parliament to vote support only Opposition candidates who have been backed by political parties under the Interparty Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) while those contesting as Independents will tussle it out during the election.

The Opposition Parties who are currently under IPOD are the Democratic Party, Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and Justice Forum (JEEMA).

Out of these, DP endorsed Gerald Siranda, the party Secretary General, FDC nominated Harold Kaija, UPC nominated Fred Ebil, while JEEMA nominated Muhammad Kateregge.

All these are contesting for only two seats at EALA but in a recent Cooperation Agreement signed by President Yoweri Museveni and Democratic Party’s  President General, Norbert Mao, they agreed to support the election of a DP candidate to EALA.

The biggest Opposition Political Party- the National Unity Platform (NUP) declined to join IPOD and the Leader of Opposition, Mathias Mpuuga recently told parliament that his party will only participate in an election where the rules and parties are respected.

He questioned the process of electing EALA members and a practice by the ruling NRM to choose it’s MPs and also endorse from the opposing parties.

Out of the 529 Members in the 11th Parliament, the Opposition has 108 legislators. NUP has the biggest number of Opposition MPs totaling 57, followed by FDC which has 31, Democratic Party- DP 9, UPC 9, JEEMA 1 and People’s Progressive Party- PPP 1. The ruling NRM party has the biggest representation in Parliament with 337 MPs.

Speaking after the caucus meeting, Government Chief Whip Dennis Hanson Obua confirmed the caucus resolution on the EALA election.

He said that they resolved to maintain the incumbents because they have been working well and that the law allows them to serve another term.

Regarding the two positions which are supposed to go to the opposition, Obua says that the President asked MPs to choose any candidate from the three opposition political parties, including DP, JEEMA and UPC.

Obua also says that President Museveni asked the NRM MPs to make their choice among the independent candidates. The independents include EAC integration activist Kisembo Tendo, former Ngora Woman MP, Jackline Amongin, former Iganga Woman MP Veronica Kadogo and journalist Julius Bukyana.

Elected representatives to EALA from the 7 Member States of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi, and new entrant the Democratic Republic of Congo – DRC serve a five-year-tenure. The current 4th Assembly has 62 members, whose term commenced in 2017.

According to Article 50 of the East African Community Treaty, members are elected by their respective country’s national legislature. Article 50 also requires the said members to reflect their country’s political parties, opinions, gender composition, and other special groups.

Last month, the Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among reminded all political party whips in parliament to ensure that their parties provide the House with nominated candidates for EALA.

She informed the House that the Clerk to Parliament had received names of some of the candidates from parties with representation in the House. On 12th May, 2022, the Clerk to Parliament, Adolf Mwesige communicated a roadmap for the election of members of the 5th East African Legislative Assembly -EALA to all Secretary Generals of political parties represented in the House.

Parliament then appointed and gazetted 19th and 20th September for the nomination of candidates.



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