EAC meeting discusses term limits

ZANZIBAR - Delegates yesterday pushed for the removal of a clause in the draft EAC good governance protocol that allocates term limits for elective positions at all levels.EAC senior officials in charge of good governance are meeting in Zanzibar, Tanzania to review the draft protocol before it is presented to the Council of Ministers for consideration next month.
 NEC executive secretary, Prof Chrysologue Karangwa
NEC executive secretary, Prof Chrysologue Karangwa

ZANZIBAR - Delegates yesterday pushed for the removal of a clause in the draft EAC good governance protocol that allocates term limits for elective positions at all levels.

EAC senior officials in charge of good governance are meeting in Zanzibar, Tanzania to review the draft protocol before it is presented to the Council of Ministers for consideration next month.

Article 6 of the protocol calls for enacting laws that provide for term limits in all elective positions at all levels in the region.

The Rwandan constitution provides for a Presidential office term of seven years renewable once,.

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) Chairman, Prof Chrysologue Karangwa, called for the deletion of the clause, saying that the issue of term limits should be left to national constitutions which clearly spell out terms on elective positions.

"There can’t be harmonisation on this now because our electoral laws are different and they base on our respective constitutions," Karangwa said.

Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kutesa, told the meeting that his country will amend its constitution only if the East African Community partner states unanimously agree on a constitution that provides for term limits.

The Uganda constitution does not provide for Presidential term limits.

"There is nothing democratic or undemocratic about term limits," he said prompting other partner states to endorse that the clause be deleted.

Other points of debate included article 3 of the protocol which calls for compliance with established constitutional provisions and acknowledging supremacy of national constitutions.

Tanzania objected to this provision, saying it contravenes article 12 which calls for the monitoring of the implementation of the protocol; a responsibility of EAC organs like the East African Court of Justice, the East African Legislative Assembly, the EAC Secretary General, and the EAC Chief Justices forum. 

The ministerial meeting adopted the draft protocol on good governance after the amendments.

Ends