Tanzania and Burundi have joined Rwanda in vying for the Speakership of the fourth East African Legislative Assembly which will be inaugurated on Monday in Arusha, Tanzania.
It was earlier thought that it would be Rwanda’s turn for the rotational Speakership but the situation changed yesterday when Burundi and Tanzania provided candidates for the Speakership.
Kigali’s candidate, Martin Ngoga, one of Rwanda’s nine representatives picked and returned nominations forms yesterday.
“I can confirm indeed that as at midday, today (yesterday), three members had returned the nomination forms to the Clerk,” EALA Senior Public Relations Officer, Bobi Odiko told Sunday Times.
Odiko confirmed that Burundian Leontine Nzeyimana and Tanzanian Adam Kimbisa are also in the race.
The Office of Speaker is largely filled on a rotational basis by partner states and was now expected to be open to Rwanda, Burundi or new member South Sudan.
Burundi has EAC Secretary General while Juba has no candidate for Speakership. If Rwanda or Burundi, by any chance, take Speakership it will be their first time ever since the duo joined the Community in 2007.
The first Assembly, from 2001 to 2006, had Tanzania’s Abdulrahman Kinana, as Speaker, while the second Assembly from 2007 to 2012 had Kenyan Abdirahim Abdi.
The third and most recent Assembly, from 2012 to 2017 had Uganda’s Daniel Fred Kidega who took over from compatriot Margaret Zziwa, after the latter was impeached before her five-year term ended.
The fourth Assembly will run from 2017 to 2022. Every EAC partner states must each have nine representatives in the regional Assembly.
In May, nine legislators to represent Rwanda at EALA were elected at Parliament during a joint session of the Lower Parliament and Senate.
They include Ngoga, Odda Gasinzigwa, Pierre-Célestin Rwigema, and François-Xavier Kalinda, all who previously served in the third Assembly. The new faces are Alex Bahati, Fatuma Ndangiza, Francine Rutazana, Jean-Claude Barimuyabo and Francoise Uwumukiza.
Monday’s inauguration will also be historic in the sense that it will be the first time South Sudan which submitted instruments for ratification on accession to the EAC Treaty in September 2016 will also see its first lawmakers take oath in the regional Assembly.
Younis Alloro, Clerk of the South Sudan Assembly, late Friday told The New Times that his country’s representatives are “ready for it” and had left Juba for Arusha earlier that day.
Kenya, the only EAC partner state that had not yet elected its nine representatives to the regional Assembly, late Thursday finally moved to elect its representatives paving way for the inauguration process to begin.
The upcoming session in Arusha will run from Sunday to Wednesday.
Activities will include swearing in of all Members of the Assembly, election of Speaker, election of the EALA Commission and election of heads of each of the Assembly’s six Standing Committees.