The East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) yesterday elected members to its commission during its first plenary session since the election of new Speaker, Dan Kidega.
Ten members from all the five countries making the East African Community (EAC) were elected following the expiry of tenure of the old commission members last year.
MPs were required to nominate and vote by secret ballot the 10 new elected members to its 12-member key decision making body.
With the Commission in place, other matters on this week’s agenda will ably be tabled and discussed.
Eala Commission manages the affairs of the Assembly, organises the business and programme of the House, and nominates members of other committees.
Two members from each EAC partner state were elected from a pool of five nominees per country, adding to the two other automatic members – current Speaker Kidega, who will chair the Commission, and the current Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Tanzania’s Dr Abdullah Saadala.
For Rwanda, Patricia Hajabakiga and Christophe Bazivamo both return, but other countries have new faces on the Commission.
Kenya, previously represented by Abubakar Ogle Abdi and Mumbi A. Nga’ru, now has Joseph Kiangoi Ombasa and M Judith Pareno.
For Burundi, Jeremie Ngendakumana and Hafsa Mossi were replaced by MP Isabelle Ndahayo and Frederic Ngenzebuhoro.
Uganda’s Nusura Tiperu and Mike Kennedy Sebalu were replaced by Dora Byamukama and Chris Opoka-Okumu.
Former Speaker Margaret Zziwa was not present at the session in Arusha, Tanzania, yesterday.
Kidega told the Assembly that Zziwa was “not feeling well,” adding that the House prayed “for her quick recovery.”
Zziwa was ousted late last year after members accused her of abuse of office. She remains a member of the Assembly though.
Earlier, Kidega told journalists that: “For a better part of last year, Eala suffered a great deal due to the impasse occasioned by the leadership crisis. This is now in the past.”
Kidega took opportunity to “extend an olive branch” to Zziwa and requested her to join the other members in the task of strengthening integration.
“I wish to assure all East Africans that we shall indeed come out of this a stronger and more united Assembly.”
Controversial Bhanji replaced
For Tanzania, newcomers Dr Nderakindo Perpetua Kessy and Charles Makongoro Nyerere, replaced their compatriots Adam Omar Kimbisa and controversial Shy-Rose Shadruddin Bhanji.
Last year, Bhanji, a Zziwa supporter, was accused of elbowing her compatriot Nderakindo as the Assembly convened in Nairobi, Kenya.
Now that the lead Commission is set up, the Assembly is expected to carry on today, with the other items on its week’s agenda by most probably, election of standing committee heads first.
In the course of this week, Eala is also expected to consider the bloc’s Supplementary Budget for the Financial Year 2014/2015 as one of the key issues on top of the agenda.
MPs will also want to debate and adopt a number of key reports, such as the Report of the Committee on Legal Rules and Privileges on the Rules of Procedure.
The Rules of Procedure were first adopted by the first Assembly in 2001 but amended in 2008, mainly to take care of expanded membership following the admission of Burundi and Rwanda to the regional bloc.
Eala MPs in the past expressed the need to amend certain provisions of the Rules either for purposes of providing clarity, consistency and practicability; or to take into consideration new developments over years.