Six out of the seven incumbents have been nominated to run for the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) on NRM tickets in a race that attracted 25 candidates. Only Lydia Wanyoto failed to make it as she was blocked from standing for the third time after representing Uganda for two five-year terms.
Six out of the seven incumbents have been nominated to stand for the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) on NRM tickets in a race that attracted 25 candidates.
The ruling party polls that started on Monday evening, closed shortly after 1:00am on Tuesday at the Conference Hall in Parliament.
Dorah Byamukama was the aspirant with the highest number of votes at 153, followed by Bernard Mulenghani with 133 votes. Dan Kidega came third with 126 votes while Nusura Tiperu and Mike Sebalu followed with 122 and 121 votes respectively.
Margaret Zziwa narrowly escaped being thrown out of the East African Legislative Assembly after a stiff competition ensued between her and Namara Denis, a fresh candidate in the elections. Zziwa made it through with only one vote standing at 101 while her closed rival garnered 100 votes. After the poll, a jubilating Zziwa told URN that this was a close call saying it was a miracle. For her, the saying that one vote counts came true as witnessed in the polls.
Namara described the process as free and fair and accepted the narrow defeat to Zziwa. He however, noted that he would inquire on the process of a vote recount saying one vote is a close call and things could be overturned once votes are recounted.
Byamukama, a lawyer and former MP for Mwenge South in the 7th Parliament, is likely to be the next speaker of EALA. It is Uganda’s turn to hold the rotational Speakership seat. She turned out to be the MPs’ favorite with many saying she has been the face and voice of EALA. After winning the seat back, Byamukama told URN that she was humbled by the support from her party saying her efforts will be focused on forwarding interests of Uganda in the Assembly.
Lydia Wanyoto, who failed to make it after she was blocked from participating, is still contesting the decision by party officials. She wanted to contest for the third time after representing Uganda in from 2001 to 2006 and again from 2006 to 2011. On Monday, NRM Secretary General, Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, told MPs that Article 51 of the East African Treaty barred Wanyoto from contesting, since it provides for two five-year terms for legislators.
Other losing candidates were comfortable but one was very bitter with the outcome. Kamurari Jeremiah only managed to convince one MP. He described the whole exercise as a sham, accusing legislators of being hypocrites and undemocratic. He was aggrieved saying having all incumbents back with no fresh blood was unfair. He threatened to take the battle to court.
Ssebalu and Muleghani, however, say continuity in EALA is essential at a time the East African Community is fast tracking the integration. The last two pillars are a common currency and political federation.
Ambrose Murangira, one of the losing candidates faulted the system saying it does not recognize persons with disability. He was disappointed that special groups were not recognized after he garnered only 19 votes. He, however, observed that the elections were free and fair.
Kwame Rugunda was yet another disappointed after unleashing the most aggressive campaign strategy but losing with 43 votes. Kwame, a son to the ICT minister Ruhakana Rugunda, had used three plasma televisions, YouTube videos and e-mails to spread his message. He was a voter’s favorite but lost it when he read his final speech to woo voters instead of convincing them verbally. Many legislators told URN that he disappointed the voters.
After the NRM voting, the names will be forwarded to parliament for approval. The ruling party's numerical strength in the house means that it is unlikely other contenders will have a chance.The Ugandan opposition is still challenging NRM on the number of seats it has taken. While the treaty stipulates that national parliaments explore feasibility for all political parties to be represented, NRM has maintained its stand and elected six candidates. This leaves only three seats to be shared by five opposition political parties in the house.
The opposition MPs walked out of Parliament on Friday last week after failing to agree on the same.
More negotiations between NRM and the opposition are expected to take place today.
eala elections 2012