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Rwandan elected as EALA speaker as Tanziania and Burundi Boycott

EALA assembly

The race for the Speakership was being contested by Mr Martin Ngoga of Rwanda, Mr Nzeyimana of Burundi and Mr Adam Kimbisa from Tanzania. The candidate who gets elected presides over the House and directs its activities over the next five years.

Mr Ngoga emerged the winner after getting  33 votes out of 36 cast, as Tanzania and Burundi lawmakers boycotted the polling exercise. The votes were cast twice as the first round proved that quorum was not met. Legislators were in heated debate over voting or postponing the election and it was such discussion that took the better time of the session for legislators to argue their cases in a heated debate.Other contestants were Mr Adam Kimbisa from Tanzania and Burundian Mr Leontine Nzeyimana. Mr Nzeyimana who was alsoabsent in the chamber polled three votes. EALA has 54 members, but it was only those from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan who were present during voting exercise.

Two members from Tanzania, Dr Abdullah Makame and Dr Ngwaru Maghembe who were in the debating chamber in the early hours of the session, left as they failed to convince the EALA Clerk to postpone the exercise for lack of quorum.

They were of the view that the election could not be valid if Tanzanian and Burundian legislators were not taking part. Dr Maghembe said they had patience with Kenyans for six months as they had not elected members to EALA, but wondered why they were pushing for the election while their Burundi and Tanzania counterparts were not in the House

A Kenyan legislator, Mr Chris Opoke, said EALA had lost three months without doing any business hence there was no need for further delay. After several directives from the Council of Ministers and more opinions from the legislators, the EALA Clerk decided in favour of those who wanted the election to be conducted.

For more than three times, on Monday, the Clerk to EALA, Mr Kenneth Madete, adjourned the voting on Monday, while some Burundian legislators wanted to be given the slot without any vote. Mr Madete had no option but to adjourn the session to yesterday, after presiding over swearing-in of the newly elected members from six East African Community (EAC) partner States.

EALA members took oath of allegiance presided over by the Clerk to the Assembly, Mr Kenneth Madete, on Monday but adjourned to yesterday the much-awaited election of the speaker. A quorum hitch occasioned by absence of members from Tanzania and Burundi as the process of electing the Speaker got underway, compelled the Clerk to call the roll.

Mr Leontine Nzeyimana, a member from Burundi brought the matter of lack of quorum to the attention of the Clerk, after invoking Rule 12 of the Rules of Procedure of the House. Under the rule, quorum of the House or the Committee of the whole House should be half of the elected members and such quorum is composed of at least one third of the elected members from each partner state.

The race for the Speakership was being contested by Mr Martin Ngoga of Rwanda, Mr Nzeyimana of Burundi and Mr Adam Kimbisa from Tanzania. The candidate who gets elected presides over the House and directs its activities over the next five years.

Swearing-in of members was attended by the President of the Rwanda Senate, Mr Bernard Makuza, Speaker of Senate of Kenya, Mr Kenneth Lusaka and Speaker of Transitional National Legislative Assembly of South Sudan, Mr Anthony Lino Makana.

Ms Rosalind Tuya represented the Speaker of the Kenya National Assembly, Mr Justin Muturi. Several legislators of the Parliament of Tanzania led by Mr Mussa Zungu were in attendance as well. Other leaders in attendance included the Governor of Nairobi County, Mr Mike Mbuvi Sonko and his Uasin Gishu counterpart, Mr Jackson.

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