The newly elected Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly – EALA, Margaret Zziwa has promised to reach out and reconcile with her opponent for the post, Dora Byamukama. Zziwa said in an exclusive interview with Uganda Radio Network that after the elections, she is now Speaker for all EALA representatives and would make sure she serves all the members equally.
The newly elected Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly – EALA, Margaret Zziwa has promised to reach out and reconcile with her opponent for the post, Dora Byamukama.
The controversial election split the two NRM members and their other colleagues in Arusha, Tanzania two weeks ago.
But Zziwa said in an exclusive interview with Uganda Radio Network that after the elections, she is now Speaker for all EALA representatives and would make sure she serves all the members equally. She promised to make sure she brings together all the Ugandan representatives to speak with one voice on Uganda’s national interest at the regional parliament.
In the contest for the position that was largely thought to be going to Byamukama, Zziwa emerged as the most surprise candidate, beating her opponent by a landslide of 33 to only 12 votes. The voting number of EALA MPs is 45 in total.
The sudden decision by Zziwa to stand and eventually win caused a lot of name-calling within the party, with Byamukama’s supporters referring to Zziwa’s side as traitors, treacherous people and dishonest colleagues. The EALA Speaker race left a bitter relationship amongst the ruling party members with some openly declaring they will not trust some of their colleagues again.
On Wednesday, Zziwa was given a hero’s welcome by her supporters when she returned home from Arusha for the first time since her election, in official capacity, with police escorts and a convoy of bodyguards. At a party held at Lugogo in Kampala, Byamukama did not attend.
On Thursday, Zziwa paid a courtesy call on the Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, who had vigorously lobbied and campaigned for Byamukama’s candidature. During the visit, in Kadaga’s office on Fifth Floor of the Parliamentary Building, Zziwa praised Kadaga as a role model in the region whose effectiveness she has always admired. She told Kadaga that she was proud to associate with her strength as a fellow woman with whom she served in the 6th and 7th parliaments.
Zziwa showered more praises on Kadaga whom she said was an experienced legislator whose guidance she will always come for even as she embarks on a new assignment to lead the region to a full federation.
Kadaga, who talked very briefly, later said she would provide Zziwa with all the necessary assistance she needs as the head of EALA. She reminded Zziwa that Uganda’s parliament had a warm and cordial relationship with the immediate past Speaker of EALA and said she would be accorded the same warmth of welcome by the House.
Kadaga said she would wish that the East African Parliamentary Institute, which was suggested by Dora Byamukama through a Private Member’s Bill, would be passed into a policy. Byamukama’s known mobile number was switched off for most of the day on Friday.
But in her New Vision weekly column that comes out every Thursday, Byamukama blamed East African Minister, Eriya Kategaya for the confusion that took place in Arusha and the resultant fall-out.
She said she had already moved on after being elected as Chairperson of the Legal, Rules and Privileges Committee of the assembly. She described her election to the chairperson’s position as a show of the confidence that her colleagues have in her to do the job.
Byamukama said in the interest of progress and harmony, she was not going to dwell further on the matter. She promised to support Uganda diligently.
eala speaker margaret zziwa
eala representative dora byamukama
eala elections 2012