PARLIAMENT: It has been a long week of mixed anxiety and anticipation as 48 aspirants for the East African Legislative Assembly waited for the results of Parliament’s Verification Committee Chaired by Beatrice Rwakimari (NRM-Ntungamo).
Before mid-night on Monday, 47 had their prayers answered, to face the voters at the floor of Parliament come February 28, 2017 in the bid to represent Uganda at the regional assembly.
Only one, Jothan Yamurebire Burobuto 24, a former Speaker in the Makerere University Student’s Guild did not make through the committee.
Burobuto was not dumped, but he rather abandoned his dream to Arusha in pain, cursing what he called “an abominable attitude of the electorate (members of parliament) towards young people and their characters and mannerisms.”
In a letter to the Speaker of Parliament, dated February 15, 2017, Burobuto accused sections of lawmakers of extortion, greed and lack of vision.
“The behavior of most of the Members of Parliament …has left me with a bleeding heart and blurred vision for the future of our nation, the arrogance and greed exhibited by these MPs to most of the candidates is disgusting, preposterous and ridiculous to say the least,” reads Burobuto’s letter.
Although by press time this reporter was unable to catch any lawmaker, not even Buruboto himself on the content of the letter, the Campaigns for EALA are part of the most expensive ventures, with candidates selling off their treasures to compete for the regional House.
Among those left in the race, Independents are the majority (37) , followed by the ruling National Resistance Movement with (6), Forum for Democratic Change (2), while both democratic Party and Uganda People’s Congress have only one candidate each.
If the status quo is maintained, NRM will take 6 out of the 9 position, leaving the opposition to compete for only two positions while the majority independents candidates will be battling for only one slot.
According to Article 50 of the Establishment of the East African Community Treaty, the final results must represent the existing “shades of opinion and interest groups as represented in the Parliament of a Partner State.”
The National Resistance Movement has denied any alliance or such formation as alleged by sections of social media reports.
Ruth Nankabirwa, the Government Chief Whip who also chairs the NRM Parliamentary caucus said that despite existing levels of acquaintance by the both the Democratic Party and the UPC-Akena faction her party had not entered any political formation in the run up to EALA.
“There is no alliance of any sort…that is not my work, I believe the opposition can better organize themselves into fronting their interests,” she said.
Nankabirwa however said that she would not hesitate voting for any member of the opposition who reaches out for her vote.
“Some of them have already been attending our [party] functions so if they reach me out…may be yes…and even if NRM is the majority in Parliament, I expect them to balance up, vote our six and then an independent and two from the opposition …so it is up to the opposition to talk nicely to my members to vote for them,” Nankabirwa said.
Meanwhile the Shadow cabinet in Parliament has called for an impromptu meeting this Tuesday morning on what we can confidently report as matters pertaining EALA.
List of Candidates