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Zziwa wants EALA job back

Zziwa writes to the EALA Clerk to be re-instated as Speaker of the regional assembly

Embattled former speaker of the 3rd East African Legislative Assembly Margaret Nantongo Zziwa has written to the body’s clerk in Arusha asking him to make necessary arrangements to have her reinstated.

This follows a ruling by the East African Court of Justice in Arusha on February  3 on the process that led to Zziwa’s impeachment.

Although the East African Court of Justice found fault with the regional legislative body on nearly all grounds raised by Zziwa in her petition, the court refused to rule in her favour.

“This Court may declare EALA’s actions to be in violation of the Treaty upon which EALA can, within its own mandate, proceed to ensure compliance with such a decision,” the EACJ ruled early this month.

Justices Monica Mugenyi, Isaac Lenaola, Faustin Ntezilyayo, Fakihi Jundu and Audace Ngiye in their ruling highlighted the fact that EALA suspended Zziwa even though this is not provided for in the treaty or in the rules of procedure.

The court ruling also indicated that the assembly committed another illegality in appointing a temporary speaker, Kidega.

She was impeached and voted out of office on December 17, 2014 after accusations of misconduct and abuse of office.

Following her impeachment,  interim speaker Chris Opoka Okumu presided over the election of another Ugandan, Dan Kidega as speaker.

Kidega replaced Zziwa. She wants her job back.

Zziwa, who had been the first female speaker of EALA, addressed  the media at the Kampala Serena Hotel on Friday and said that following the ruling,  she has written to the EALA Clerk Kenneth Madete to effect the recommendations of the ruling of the regional court.

“I am seeking justice to the latter. The ruling should be implemented because in the assembly and parliamentary procedure if something is wrong and is not addressed and redressed, it becomes precedence and it becomes a procedure of parliament,” said Zziwa.

“I am ready to resume my duties even if the clerk to the assembly tells me today that the illegitimate speaker has been removed and that the office has been cleaned.”

For his part, Zziwa’s lawyer Jet Tumwebaze said the ruling should be a lesson to the assembly to respect the rule of law in the conduct of public affairs.

“Holders of public office should always discharge their duties with respectful regard for designated legal processes and due diligence because any action that cascaded from the actions of the assembly including all laws shall be challenged in court,” he said.

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