The ruling NRM Caucus in Parliament has rejected demands by the opposition to equally share the nine slots that exist for Uganda at the East African Legislative Assembly – EALA. Both the NRM and opposition representatives stuck to their radical views, in the process scattering the talks that the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah had thought would yield some consensus, on how to distribute seats to the regional assembly.
The ruling NRM Caucus in Parliament has rejected demands by the opposition to equally share the nine slots that exist for Uganda at the East African Legislative Assembly – EALA.
The last round of several negotiation meetings held between last week and yesterday have all failed to yield any positive outcome.
Both the NRM and opposition representatives stuck to their radical views, in the process scattering the talks that the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah had thought would yield some consensus, on how to distribute seats to the regional assembly. Over three meetings were held on the matter, some before Monday’s primary elections of the six NRM representatives.
Acting Chief Whip, Daudi Migereko, said on Tuesday that during the Monday meeting, the NRM side, led by Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, failed to see any strong point with the opposition’s suggestion to give one slot for each of the six parties represented in the 9th parliament. The opposition also wanted one seat for Independents and then again the NRM sharing the remaining two slots with the main Opposition party, the FDC. This arrangement would have left NRM with not more than three representatives at the Arusha-based parliament.
The political parties represented in the house include NRM, FDC, UPC, DP, Jeema and CP.
The opposition has now indicated they are returning to the East African Court of Justice in Arusha to revive the injunction filed by DP legal advisor, Denis Mbidde. They want the court to be the one to take a ruling through an outright interpretation of the now prominent Article 50 of the treaty that refers to the feasibility of every party in the national parliament of a member country being represented at EALA.
On Tuesday, DP lawyer, Justine Semyala traveled to Arusha to check on the case but has not yet returned.
Migereko has said that as NRM they are not worried at all of the court case because they believe the mandate to make the rules lies with the national parliament and not the Arusha court. He said that they are eagerly awaiting the interpretation of the court.
The UPC legal advisor in parliament, Crispus Ayena Odongo, also weighed in on the matter today, saying that they support the opposition stand not to participate in the entire EALA elections. He said that their position is not based on what he calls a selfish interest of a party seeking for a slot at EALA but defending a legal principle as provided for in the treaty.
Ayena denied reports that UPC is quietly negotiating with NRM to field a candidate for the election and get the NRM MPs support that candidate, ultimately legitimizing the whole process.
Ayena, himself a lawyer, says that the decision by the NRM to take six slots for themselves goes against the spirit of the treaty because the provision does not refer to opposition as one group in parliament but to each party represented in the national assembly.
eala elections 2012
crispus ayena odongo
east african legislative assembly