, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 26 – East African Legislative Assembly Members of Parliament on Wednesday passed a resolution to suspend their Speaker Margaret Zziwa for 21 days pending investigations into her conduct.
The resolution was arrived during a special sitting presided over by Temporary Speaker Chris Opoka-Okumu from Uganda which also saw the House Committee on Legal Affairs called upon to handle the investigations and report back to the House.
The section of the assembly that sponsored the motion consisted of 32 out of 44 members, which is more that the required two-thirds.
The MPs finally succeeded in removing the Speaker after they petitioned the Clerk of the Assembly Kenneth Madete urging him to convene the special meeting.
“Noting that Members now wish to finalise the process of removal of the Speaker and restore the integrity of this August house; Considering that you are a Clerk of the EALA and not the Clerk of the Speaker (should convene the meeting),” read the petition.
The MPs continued; “We the undersigned constituting the majority of the honourable Members of the Assembly hereby direct you to preside over the sitting of the Assembly at 12 noon to elect a member to preside over the sittings of the assembly in the absence of the Speaker who is deemed absent pursuant to Rule 9(6) of the Rules of Procedure.”
The Third Meeting of the Third Session of the Third Assembly is sitting in Nairobi from November 18 to December 5.
In April, a Kenyan representative, Peter Mathuki, moved a motion to impeach Zziwa – a Ugandan – citing misconduct, poor governance, poor leadership skills, abuse of office, disrespect and intimidation of members and staff.
The move however failed after Zziwa sent the assembly on recess shortly after the motion was tabled. The courts later ruled in her favour blocking the impeachment.
Last month, the Speaker adjourned the House indefinitely on the last day of business owing to a quorum hitch. The House had been meeting in Kigali for two weeks.
Only two Tanzanian representatives were present at Wednesday’s sitting, while all the other member countries had at least eight representatives present.
Speaking during a media briefing before the regional assembly began its sittings in Nairobi, Speaker Zziwa claimed there was a syndicate by some members to frustrate her.
“This did not start yesterday. It has been on right from the beginning. They planned it and have vowed to fail me. Those I defeated have never rested,” she stated.
She insisted that with her previous record while in the Ugandan Parliament, her leadership skills cannot be questioned.