East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) speaker Margaret Nantongo Zziwa’s troubles are far from over as MPs of the regional parliament have revived efforts to relieve her of her duties.
The MPs’ grievances and course of action are contained in a statement dated October 30th signed by 29 legislators from the five member states, arising from the second meeting of the third session of the third assembly in Kigali, Rwanda.
In the statement seen by this newspaper, the MPs argue that on October 29,, “proceedings of the assembly were adjourned due to lack of quorum intentionally created with the knowledge of the speaker to forestall House business.” On October 30, the house’s proceedings were adjourned sine die (till further notice).
In the resolution, the MPs contend that, “the majority of the members being in excess of two thirds of the total membership of the assembly have lost confidence in Zziwa as speaker of EALA and will a move a motion to that effect.”
When contacted on Monday, Ms Zziwa declined to comment on the new development saying, “I am in a meeting, and I cannot hold a long discussion.” Contacted later, the former Kampala woman MP referred our reporter to the public relations officer EALA.
Mr Bobi Odiko, the senior public relations officer admitted the members met but their position does not reflect the official stand of EALA.
“Officially members are free to meet in their capacities. Any attempt to censure the speaker should be in line with rules of procedure of the assembly,” he said.
Daily Monitor understands that in the two week meeting of the assembly in which six days were dedicated to actual sitting of the assemblage in Kigali, business in the house was paralysed as members went about their personal business. Mr Odiko downplayed the anomaly, saying, “There was quorum throughout except when members from Tanzania walked out because there was going to be a vote to eject a member from Tanzania from the EALA commission.”
However, Uganda’s representative to EALA, Mukasa Mbidde revealed, “Members chose to languish in bars and hotels. That is where such groupings were formed to joke around the very serious matter on integration.”
Mr Mbidde who early this year moved the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) to block the censure of Ms Zziwa laughed off his colleagues’ latest move.
“The decision of the court on August 15 was conclusive. Censuring the speaker is not even practicable under the current rules of the house,” he said, adding, “Those continuously talking about removal just intend to keep us in that mood throughout the five years which I shall not let happen.”
Mr Mbidde told Daily Monitor he was in aanced stages of referring the matter to the EACJ again, this time intending, “to seek a declaration that the house is paralysed and thus I hand over the decision to the council of ministers and secretary general to prepare for the summit the possibility of dissolving the assembly.”
He also rubbished the five member crisis management committee formed by the MPs as “a coinage made outside the house.”
The last move to boot Ms Zziwa sucked in President Museveni who had to meet MPs from different member countries in a last minute attempt to persuade them to drop the move.
Mr Shem Bageine, the minister of East African Community Affairs said his ministry operates within the provisions of the treaty which provides for separation of powers between the executive and the EACJ and EALA.
He declined to comment on the new move, saying he needs time to study the documents but added, “It is our hope that this is resolved for the good of the community.”
SOURCE: Daily Monitor