, NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 17 – Thirty two Members of the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) on Monday hatched a plan to resurrect a Motion to censure Speaker Margaret Zziwa after a similar plot failed in June after Heads of State from the five member countries intervened.
Speaking ahead of the resumption of its sitting in Nairobi on Tuesday, the regional MPs led by Tanzania’s Nderakindo Kessy said they had lost confidence in Zziwa’s leadership and would be seeking her replacement.
“Concerned that the continued paralysis if not immediately addressed will totally cripple the operations of the Assembly and hence defeat the purposes for which it was created; the overwhelming majority of members will ensure that the will of the Assembly is exercised and the pending Motion for the removal of the Speaker dated April 1, 2014 and tabled in the House is transacted as urgent business of the House,” she said.
The Motion that has been on the cards for some time was finally moved by an outspoken Kenya’s Peter Mathuki.
Zziwa had earlier told a separate news conference that the Motion was not in compliance with the rules of procedures that guide the Assembly on quorum.
The Assembly rules requires that quorum must be composed of at least three of the elected nine Members from each partner State.
“We as lawmakers, I think we would be the first people to heed to the way our rules should be adhered to. If we are disgruntled, we would know how to proceed within our rules and our established framework. So after this maybe someone else my wish to make may be one press conference or five or even 10 press conferences, there is no rule that bars them,” Zziwa said in response to reporters’ queries on whether she is concerned that the rift between her and the MPs was overshadowing the mandate of the regional Parliament.
The MPs said they would honour Tuesday’s Special Sitting which will be addressed by President Uhuru Kenyatta who is also the East African Community (EAC) Summit Chairman.
“We respect the Summit, so we will there, but because we are here together we shall inform you what happened from day to day,” Uganda’s Bernard Mulengani said when asked if they were going to boycott the sitting.
Patricia Hajabakiga (Rwanda) added; “We are saying that we will sit and see amongst ourselves who can temporarily chair the work we will do from Wednesday, but we can’t tell you who.”
The Third Meeting of the Third Session of the Third Assembly which will be sitting in Nairobi from November 18 to December 5 will, among other things, deliberate on the EAC Co-operative Bill, 2014 and the EAC Cross Border Legal Practice Bill, 2014. Both bills will be read for the third time.
However, the resignation of six members of the EALA Commission as well as the stepping down of the chairpersons of five of its six sectoral committees may affect legislative business such as the tabling of important bills.
The EALA Commission is the supreme body for other committees and is composed of the Speaker, the Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers and has two members of the assembly from each EAC partner State. The Speaker is the Chairperson of the commission, which nominates members of the six committees.
EALA members will also participate in the EAC Infrastructure Retreat and Summit of the Heads of State. The two events will take place in Nairobi on November 29 and 30 respectively.
The regional Parliament was recently adjourned indefinitely after the Speaker claimed that members were continuously absenting themselves from the sittings thereby paralyzing its work.
Zziwa, a Ugandan who took over the position in June 2012 as the first female Speaker, has been at loggerheads with a number of EALA members who accuse her of incompetence, poor leadership, dictatorship and favouritism.
The regional MPs said they were also keen conclude the pending motion to remove Tanzanian legislator Shy-Rose Bhanji as a member of the EALA Commission. The stalemate crippled the assembly’s business in Kigali last month.