Former Gender and Family Promotion minister Oda Gasinzigwa has been elected to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), a regional parliament at which she says she will continue her push to champion women empowerment.
The 49-year-old was elected by the Lower House, yesterday, to replace Christophe Bazivamo at the regional legislative body.
Bazivamo was in June appointed Deputy Secretary General in charge of Finance and Administration at the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat.
During the election conducted by a joint parliamentary session, Gasinzigwa contested against Callixte Kanamugire, another former public servant, and secured a landslide win of 71 votes out of 75 lawmakers present.
She will now join eight other compatriots at the Arusha-based legislative body that has nine representatives from each of the five EAC partner states.
Speaking shortly after her election, Gasinzigwa said her role would be to collaborate with others to foster integration undertakings; economic, social and political, on top of the core mandate which is legislation.
“It is a good opportunity to work closely with other members of EALA to ensure our bloc prospers in different areas. The new task will also be about balancing the priorities of partner states and the needs of EAC citizens in general,” she said.
“It is an interesting task because I am going to work with others, I know the vision of my country, priorities and challenges through the experience earned in different positions in which I was blessed to serve, thus when you know all these, it is never hard.”
Gasinzigwa also spoke of her passion to promote and advocate for gender equality and women empowerment, saying it is one of other key pillars of the EAC Protocol.
“It is also an opportunity to go beyond borders and share my experience with others and advocate for some of the issues around gender based violence, poverty, human trafficking, among others. It’s also an opportunity to learn and bring back the experience to my people,” she added.
Reacting to Gasinzigwa’s election, MP Zeno Mutimura, chairperson of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security, said the newly-elected EALA member has a rich experience behind her that would make an enormous contribution to the regional assembly.
Members of EALA have less than a year left on their five-year term.