Why NUP isn’t fielding a candidate for Eala

The East African Legislative Assembly in session recently. PHOTOS | FILE, COURTESY

The National Unity Platform (NUP) party executive committee has taken a decision not to participate in the forthcoming East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) elections citing unlevelled ground. 
In a statement issued yesterday, NUP officials said their National Resistance Movement (NRM) party counterparts hijacked the process and used it as patronage. 

“Therefore, the National Unity Platform will not field a candidate for Eala in the upcoming elections. Our legal team has been tasked to study the matter and explore the feasibility of taking legal action at the East African Court of Justice to ensure compliance with Article 50 of the treaty establishing the community,” the NUP statement reads in part. 
In May, the Clerk to Parliament, Mr Adolf Mwesigye, issued a communication to all party leaders to front candidates that will vie for the nine Eala slots. The elections are expected to take place in September.

There are nine slots for Uganda at the Eala. The party with the majority in Parliament, which is NRM, takes six representatives. The Opposition takes two while independents take one. 
Candidates that want to join Eala in Uganda have to convince the NRM party, which has the majority in Ugandan Parliament, to vote for them to be able to sail through. In the last Eala elections, some Opposition candidates agreed to work with the NRM if they are elected.

Mr Joel Ssenyonyi, the spokesman of NUP, on Sunday said the election process was taken over by the NRM and determined who they want to join Eala. 
“It is wrong. In other countries, the Opposition picks their representatives and just approves, but not subjected to another election,” Mr Ssenyonyi said. 
He said their legal team will contest the process of election of Eala representatives in Uganda in the East African court so that they can get their rights back. 
The NUP’s boycott doesn’t affect the number of representatives that Uganda will send to Eala.

Early this month, the NRM agreed to maintain all the representatives in the regional parliament. These include, Paul Musamali Mwasa, Rose Akol, Denis Namara, Stephen George Odongo, James Kakooza, and Mary Mugyenyi. 
Democratic Party nominated their party secretary general Gerald Siranda as their flag bearer for the Eala positions while The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) voted for Harold Kaija.
Several politicians have stood on the Independent ticket.