Three incumbent East African Legislative Assembly EALA legislators say experience will be a key factor as they seek re-election on Tuesday. The three including Democratic Partys Fred Mukasa Mbidde, Independent legislator Suzan Nakawuki and Uganda Peoples Congress UPC partys Chris Opoka talked to URN about their tenure in the current regional parliament which expires in June.
The three including Democratic Party's Fred Mukasa Mbidde, Independent legislator Suzan Nakawuki and Uganda People's Congress (UPC) party's Chris Opoka talked to URN about their tenure in the current regional parliament which expires in June.
Members of the Tenth Parliament, who are the EALA electorate, are set to vote Uganda's nine representatives to EALA out of the 47 candidates who have been cleared to stand by a parliament verification committee.
Mbidde says that his candidature is not an aspiration per say but a design calculated to fulfil the objectives for which he went to the Arusha-based assembly. He says that his promise to the electorate was to contribute to the four limbs of integration citing the customs union, common market, monetary union and ultimately political federation.
Mbidde told URN that he has so far sponsored bills as the chairperson of the committee on communications, trade and investments to do with the implementation of the customs union and common market.
Some of these bills Mbidde spearheaded are the Vehicle Load Control Bill which seeks to control vehicle loads, harmonise enforcement and to make institutional arrangements for the Regional Trunk Road Network for the Community.
The Bill sets the permissible maximum Gross Vehicle weight at a metric tonnage of 56 and with the vehicles having a maximum of seven axles.
Another bill for which Mbidde was granted leave to introduce is the Cross Border Trade in Professional Services Bill.
According to him, professionals are allowed to crisscross the region as they render their services in line with the Common Market Protocol.
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Mbidde said that the protocols already in place need laws for implementation and that Uganda needs minds that will apply their knowledge to the laws being established.
He said he has the expertise and competence to continue with the work.
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When asked about his chances of going back to the Assembly for the second term and his strategy, Mbidde said that he expects a vote from MPs majorly on account of competence.
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Suzan Nakawuki said that her bid for a second term as EALA legislator is premised on Article 49 of the EAC treaty which okays only two terms for each EALA representative.
She said that currently, there are only three representatives eligible for re-election and it is important that they go back to orient the new members and help them build expertise.
Nakawuki's told URN that she has sponsored three bills that are still under consideration by committees.
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Nakawuki's sponsored bills include the East African Youth Council bill seeking to establish the East African Youth Council to handle affairs of the youth to ensure that they are incorporated in the EAC policies and programmes.
The others are the Social Insurance and Protection Bill which seeks to cater for issues of pension and salaries within the region and the Free Trade Zone Amendment bill.
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Nakawuki says she has legislated, represented her country well and done an oversight role to ensure that policies and programmes of the community are implemented.
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Chris Opoka, the UPC candidate, whose first EALA term campaign focused on lifting the standards of living of the people, also noted that among his achievements is presiding over the committee of the whole house to amend the EALA rules of procedure.
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Opoka also noted the enactment into law of the administration of the East Africa Court of Justice, a bill which he sponsored as his biggest achievement.
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He also introduced a bill on the EAC mining. He said that under Article 114 of the EAC treaty, partner states agreed to harmonise their laws and regulations regarding mineral exploration. Opoka explained the importance of this bill.
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Article 49 of the EAC Treaty outlines the mandate of EALA which includes being the legislative organ of the Community, liaising with national assemblies on matters relating to the Community, consider annual reports on the activities of the Community, discuss all matters pertaining to the Community and make recommendations to the Council as it may deem necessary for the implementation of the Treaty and others.