Margaret Zziwa Is New EALA Speaker

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In short
Margaret Zziwa has won the stiff battle to become the next Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly – EALA. Zziwa won with a landslide of 33 votes against Dora Byamukama’s 12 in the second round of voting held this afternoon.

Margaret Zziwa has won the stiff battle to become the next Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly – EALA.

Zziwa won with a landslide of 33 votes against Dora Byamukama’s 12 in the second round of voting held this afternoon. In the first round Zziwa had got 27 votes and Byamukama 18, but the rules demand that for one to be declared a Speaker, he or she must get a clear two thirds majority of voters.

EALA is composed of 45 members with voting rights, nine from each of the five member states.
Zziwa, an NRM representative to the Assembly, fought a tough battle against the officially nominated candidate of the ruling party.

Zziwa’s victory makes her the first female Speaker of the Assembly, the first two having been men, one from Tanzania and the other a Kenyan.

Her win reveals a serious division within the NRM caucus, with tribal sentiments being thrown in the picture.

On Thursday immediately after the voting of the nine Ugandan representatives, the NRM caucus met and endorsed Dora Byamukama as their preferred candidate and later sent over ten Members of Parliament, led by Ndorwa County West MP, David Bahati, to Arusha to campaign for Byamukama.

The MPs were later joined by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who also rushed to Arusha to boost Byamukama’s chances.

But in Arusha, a serious rift developed between the NRM MPs after Zziwa, who had been accompanied by several NRM members of the Buganda caucus campaigning for her, refused to step down for Byamukama.

Some of the members reportedly said that since the President and Minister for the East African Community Affairs, Eriya Kategaya, were all from Western Uganda, someone from another region in Uganda should be the next Speaker.

The situation was made worse by the entry into the race by a Burundian candidate, Hasfa Moshi, a former minister for East African Community Affairs, who was reportedly supported by Kategaya.

More drama reportedly came from a former EALA member, Lydia Wanyoto, who also pitched camp in Arusha to decampaign the NRM official candidate.

Immediately the results came out, the acting Chairperson of the NRM caucus, Daudi Migereko congratulated Zziwa and said the party would give her all the support she needs as a Speaker of the regional parliament.

Migereko said that these were normal things in politics adding that the party would make sure the two sides are brought together so that they can maintain the spirit of working together as a team for the national good of the country.

Migereko said that the biggest fight that he was concerned about was to get the other member countries to agree that this was Uganda’s turn for the regional speaker’s position.

He said the issue of who becomes speaker from Uganda was a small one that did not worry him a lot.

He said that the issue of the tribal sentiments could have come up because there was not enough time to generate consensus since immediately after the elections last week, some members travelled straight to Arusha to prepare for the elections.

He advised Zziwa to vigorously work hard to support the Ugandan interest, and the cause of the East African integration.