The negotiations over the distribution of slots for representatives to the East African Legislative Assembly – EALA is running into a possible major stalemate after opposition parties held a meeting and resolved that the treaty must be followed as it is. The treaty provides for feasibility of every party with an MP in the National Assembly being represented at the EALA in Arusha.
The negotiations over the distribution of slots for representatives to the East African Legislative Assembly – EALA is running into a possible major stalemate after opposition parties held a meeting and resolved that the treaty must be followed as it is.
The Thursday morning meeting was chaired by Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Nandala Mafabi. Democratic Party MPs in the meeting insisted that the treaty provides for feasibility of every party with an MP in the National Assembly being represented at the EALA in Arusha.
DP Party whip and Kawempe South MP, Ssebuliba Mutumba, said it was mandatory for Uganda’s parliament to follow the law as it is. He argued that given that the Ugandan parliament has only six different political parties and that there are nine slots for Uganda at the East African parliament, it is feasible for the six parties to be represented.
Mutumba was reacting to Wednesday’s suggestions during a negotiation meeting between the ruling NRM party and opposition which had agreed in principle to give four slots to the NRM, two for FDC, one each for DP and UPC respectively and the remaining one to the Independents.
Mutumba said that such a distribution formula would leave out Jeema and the Conservative Party, both of which have only one MP in the current parliament. He said that the two parties are legally of different political shades and leaving them out when there are extra slots unfilled would be illegal.
This stand is likely to meet a stiff resistance from the NRM caucus, whose members are set to meet on Thursday evening to receive a report from Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi on the on-going closed door negotiations.
At the Wednesday meeting with the opposition, Mbabazi had in principle agreed to the opposition proposals, but said it needed him to report back to his party caucus with the position.
But NRM backbenchers URN talked to on Thursday said they would stick by their six slots.
FDC Secretary General, Alice Alaso, who is a member of the negotiation team, confirmed the new position adopted by her side and said that she was in support because that was the position of the law and had very little to be negotiated.
Alaso said that they were now waiting for the NRM side to return from their caucus meeting to see what they suggest.
She said that the ideal position provided for in the treaty as it applies to the Ugandan parliament is for the NRM party to also take one slot and then the balance of three would be negotiated for.
The formula to apply in the election of Uganda’s EALA representatives has caused immense controversy, with just less than three weeks left for the new EALA parliament to swear in.
Other countries in the region have already elected their representatives to be sworn in on June 4 this year.
east african legislative assembly