EALA bill re-tabled before parliament

THE bill on the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) was last week brought back to parliament for adoption of some amendments.

THE bill on the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) was last week brought back to parliament for adoption of some amendments.

Vice Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Denis Polisi, said in an interview recently that the bill was brought back on Wednesday to include some amendments that were based on when Rwanda and Burundi joined the East African Community (EAC).

“We had not included the East African Treaty that was amended to accommodate our country into the bloc; that’s why we had to include it,” Polisi said.The amendments of the Treaty which allows the two countries to be part of the now five-nation grouping were made on August 20, 2007, in Arusha, Tanzania last year. Rwanda ratified these amendments and published in the Official Gazette in November last year.

He said that they were working hard to ensure that the bill goes back to the President’s office for promulgation and subsequent publication in the Official Gazette.

Polisi said that electing representatives to the EALA will have to wait until all the five member countries have ratified the amendments.

“All members of the bloc must have laws governing the election of their respective representatives to the EALA,” he added. According to the laws that govern the EALA, members of the regional parliament are elected for a five year term.

The bill requires that candidates must resign from their official duties before contesting for the seats.

Rwanda will have eight slots in the EALA with four going to Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) and its 2003 election coalition parties; and one each for the Liberal Party (PL), Social Democratic Party (PSD), National Youth Council and National Federation of the Disabled.

“We have added some clauses that specifically concern our country such as the fight against the ideology of genocide, which will be handled at the EALA level,” he added.

According to the provisions of the bill, those characterised by genocide ideology or have been convicted of the crime of genocide are not eligible to contest for the slots in the assembly.

The bill also stipulates that those to be elected must be fluent in English language as it is the medium of communication in EALA.
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