EALA to maintain rotational sittings

Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) this week resolved to keep their sessions rotating in all parliamentary houses in the five Partner States of the East African Community(EAC).
EALA Speaker Margaret Zziwa during a past session in Kigali. The Sunday Times/John Mbanda
EALA Speaker Margaret Zziwa during a past session in Kigali. The Sunday Times/John Mbanda

Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) this week resolved to keep their sessions rotating in all parliamentary houses in the five Partner States of the East African Community(EAC).

According to an EALA statement, the debate on the resolution of the Assembly to decide the issue of rotational sittings concluded in the affirmative with some amendments, essentially maintaining the rotational principle of the assembly’s working mode.

The motion moved by MP Peter Mathuki (Kenya) and seconded by MP Dr. James Ndahiro (Rwanda) reiterated that rotational sittings were a practice supported by all Heads of State of the EAC and that no individual or group had challenged the issue before. 

The mover maintained that in addition, rotational sittings enable regular interactions with the Speakers of respective National Assemblies and that EALA understands better the aspirations and concerns of East Africans. 

“Rotations capture the spirit and aspiration of the summit members going by their previous address to the assembly, and through their addresses, they have guided the assembly that rotational sittings are good for the people of East Africa,” Mathuki said. 

“The matter has lately attracted media attention or speculation in all the Partner States thus misguiding the public on the way forward,” Mathuki said, noting that the media speculation has adversely affected the integrity of the whole house.

On Wednesday, debate on the matter was halted immediately after the submission by MP Abdullah Mwinyi following a quorum hitch. 

MP Dr. James Ndahiro remarked that Article 55 succinctly gave guidance on the matter with respect to sitting in other Partner States.   The practice of rotation has enabled the Assembly to get closer to the people.  

When debate on the issue resumed on Thursday, MP Dan Kidega (Uganda) had supported the motion but with amendments that two sittings be held in Arusha (the Budget Session and review audit of the audited accounts of the EAC) with the other four remaining meetings taking place in all the five Partner States. 

Rwanda’s EAC minister sworn 

Meanwhile, Rwanda’s new Minister for East African Community Affairs, Jacqueline Muhongayire, was also sworn-in on Thursday as an Ex-Officio Member of EALA.  

EALA has 45 elected Members and seven Ex-Officio Members.   The Ex-Officio Members are the Ministers of EAC in the Partner States, the EAC Secretary General, and the Counsel to the Community.

President Paul Kagame appointed Muhongayire, the new Minister for EAC Affairs, on July 12, replacing Monique Mukaruliza.

The new Minister, who was a Deputy Speaker of the Transitional National Assembly in Rwanda and former member of EALA, has the task of spearheading Rwanda’s efforts in the realisation of the remaining pillars of the EAC integration process, namely the Monetary Union, Political Federation and establishment of a single customs territory among others.

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