At least 48 contestants from all shades of opinion in the country are expected to tussle it out for the nine slots allocated to Uganda in the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala).
By close of Eala nominations yesterday, 48 candidates from the ruling party, Opposition parties and independents, had returned forms to the Clerk to Parliament ahead of the February 28 elections.
According to information from the Office of the Clerk to Parliament, 38 individuals compete as independents, six from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), two from the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) while the Democratic Party (DP) and Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) each presented one candidate- the incumbents [Fred Mukasa Mbidde and Chris Opoka] respectively.
The FDC will be represented by former Kaberamaido Woman MP, Ms Florence Ibi Ekwau and FDC’s secretary for mobilisation, Ms Kamateneti Ingrid Turinawe.
Asked why the FDC presented two names even after they nominated one candidate [Ms Ekwau], party Spokesperson, Mr Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda [Kira Municipality] explained that the Clerk’s office must first explain the guidelines under which the NRM presented six candidates.
“Ask Parliament for the guidelines under which the NRM has presented six candidates,” Mr Ssemujju said.
When contacted yesterday to explain the process of electing Eala members, Mr Chris Obore, the director communication and public affairs at Parliament, however, said, “[Mr]Ssemujju knows how the elections are conducted, adding: “Parliament is not responsible for the internal operations of political parties, especially deciding who their candidates for Eala should be and [Mr] Ssemujju knows Article 50 of the treaty and the rules of procedure of Parliament of Uganda.”
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga is expected to appoint a verification committee to ascertain the suitability of candidates in line with the rules of procedure of Parliament.
After the vetting process, the Speaker will stipulate time for campaigns before MPs in the 10th Parliament vote the country’s nine representatives to EALA.