, ARUSHA, Tanzania, Dec 20 – The East African Legislative Assembly Friday elected Dan Kidega as the new Speaker to replace Margaret Zziwa who was removed from office on Wednesday this week.
Kidega who becomes the fourth Speaker was elected unopposed after his main contender, Chris Opoka-Okumu stepped down.
The two were the only validly nominated candidates.
In his acceptance speech, the newly elected Speaker pledged to uphold the dignity of the House at all times and to apply the rules without fear or favour.
“You will note as a House, we have a big and challenging task ahead of us to legislate and represent a Community whose activities and membership is expanding fast,” Kidega said.
“I have no doubt we shall deliver. I will pick up from where my predecessors left and continue to promote the good ideals of our mandate of widening and deepening the integration process. In doing so, I will give the majority their way but respect and protect the rights of the minorities at all times,” Rt Hon Kidega added.
READ: EALA Speaker faces ouster during Nairobi sitting
Zziwa, a Ugandan who took over the position in June 2012 as the first female Speaker, had been at loggerheads with a number of EALA members who accused her of incompetence, poor leadership, dictatorship and favouritism.
In late November, East African Legislative Assembly Members of Parliament passed a resolution to suspend Zziwa for 21 days pending investigations into her conduct.
READ: EALA Speaker suspended pending probe
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.
Kidega, 41, is serving as a Member of Parliament of East African Legislation Assembly for a second stint having been a Member in the 2nd EALA (2007-2012).
The Speaker is an entrepreneur and has been engaged in the struggle against HIV/AIDS and Women Empowerment in Uganda.
He has also been a Member of Parliament in Uganda for five years (2001-2006) representing the youth.
Kidega has been active in the National Resistance Movemnet(NRM) politics and was a member of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s national campaign task-force in 2001, and the Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) member.
He has also worked as a Private Secretary to the Vice President of the Republic of Uganda, before joining legislative work.
He has been an active youth leader in various levels including, being Chairman of the National Youth Council (NYC) and a National Representative to the Commonwealth Youth Forum (African Region).
He is also fondly remembered for being a strong student Activist in his hey days in school.
Kidega obtained his first degree in Business Administration from Uganda Christian University, he also holds a Master of Science Degree in International Trade Policy and Trade law and a Diploma in Bio-Chemistry.