Opposition takes fight over Eala election to Parliament

Speaker Anita Among. Photo | File

What you need to know:

  • The March 1 petition is addressed to the Speaker, chairperson of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Clerk to Parliament, Attorney General, and Secretary General of EAC.

A group of Opposition members under the Uganda Advocates for East Africa Community Good Governance have petitioned the Speaker to delay the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) elections until amendments are made to the existing rules of procedure of Parliament.

The March 1 petition is addressed to the Speaker, chairperson of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Clerk to Parliament, Attorney General, and Secretary General of EAC.

The petitioners include Dr Joseph Tindyebwa, the team leader of FDC, Mr Deric Fredric Namakajo and Mr Habib Jogoo Asega of Jeema, and Mr Jamal Wante Lwanga from FDC.

The petition, a copy of which Daily Monitor has seen, states that the current rules of procedure do not take into account the interest of groups such as the youth and persons with disabilities.

“In the representation of the current Eala, the requirement of gender was well considered but special interest groups such as; youths, people living with disabilities and workers were never considered,” they said.

The petitioners say over the years, Uganda has sent representatives to the Eala, including in 2017, in total disregard of the rules stated in the East African treaty.

 “Parliament has on various occasions acted against the above stated principles of special interests, gender and political parties’ representation, and leading to court’s pronunciation such as the Olanya’s case Constitutional Petition No.28 of 2006 and the Mukasa Mbidde and DP vs Attorney General of Uganda Ref No. 6 of 2011 East African Court of Justice, which led to various decisions,” they added.

In the quoted court cases, the courts declared that the actions of Uganda as a member State were contrary to Article 21 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and Article 50 of the treaty.

“Rt Hon Speaker, further in the above cases, court issued orders that the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda, the Attorney General of the Republic of Uganda, are restrained and prohibited from conducting and carrying out any elections of members of the EALA, assembling, recognising and administering oath of office,” the petitioners state.

They gave Parliament 30 days from March 1 to amend the rules of procedures of Parliament.

Parliament is currently in the process of amending some parts of the rules but it is not clear if the issues of election of Eala members are part of the amendments.

Daily Monitor has also established that the petition was received by all the offices to which it was copied.

When contacted on the matter, Mr Chris Obore, the director of communications at Parliament, said: “I am not aware of it, but clerk to Parliament announced the Eala elections roadmap and that is what stands for now.”

The Clerk to Parliament, Mr Adolf Mwesige, recently set September 17, as the date for election of the Eala members.


The petitioners want the declaration of any names duly nominated and elected to Eala be stayed until Rule 12 (1), (2) is amended by inserting that “the nominated candidates either two or five on party ticket shall campaign and the declaration of one higher votes will be the representative of that Political Party and be among the (9) Nine members.”

They also want the nomination form A to indicate the particulars of candidate according to gender, interest group by inserting a described column.

The petitioners want the consent and declaratory form to be amended to expressly indicate the categories laid down in Article 50(1) of the EAC Treaty and Rule 11(1) of the Rules of Procedure.

“Hence forth the ballot paper for EALA MP elections in the current form should indicate automatic winning slots for a candidate of a political party, special interest and opinion shades that scored higher votes...,” they said in the petition.

The law

Article 50 (1) of the East African treaty states that the National Assembly of each partner State shall elect, not from among its members, nine members of the assembly, who shall represent as much as it is feasible, the various political parties represented in the national assembly, shades of opinion, gender and other special interest groups in that partner state, in accordance with such procedure as the national assembly of each partner state may determine.