Parliament has amended the law governing elections of members of the East-African Legislative Assembly (EALA), paving way for a by-election to replace MP Christopher Bazivamo, who was recently appointed to the EAC secretariat as Deputy Secretary General.
The move repeals the 2011 East African Legislative Assembly Elections Act which stipulated that a ‘bye-election’ could not be held within six months before the expiry of the term of the Assembly.
The old law provided for 12 months before a ‘bye-election’ could be conducted.
Lawmakers said last week’s amendment put the national laws governing elections of regional lawmakers in harmony with the East African Community Act.
The amendment followed a September 9, 2016 letter from the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, Daniel Kidega, to his Rwandan counterpart, Donatile Mukabalisa, informing her of the resignation of MP Bazivamo, as a Member of EALA, following his new appointment within the East African Community.
The letter stressed the need to fill the vacant position within a period not exceeding 90 days from the notification.
MP Alfred Rwasa, the chairperson of the ad-hoc committee which scrutinised the amendments, said the committee found it more timely and relevant to address the two legal framework inconsistencies taking into account the hierarchy of laws and the remaining period to fill the vacant seat at EALA.
“We decided to harmonise our own law governing election procedures for members of the assembly with the EAC elections act, not only because we are looking ahead for a new replacement,” he said.
The current Rwandan members of the East African Legislative Assembly were elected on May 18, 2012 and their term officially started on June 12 of the same year.
The current five-year term will end in June, 2017.
Deputy Speaker Abbas Mukama explained to The New Times that it is now up to the government to propose a candidate who will occupy the vacant post left by Bazivamo.