Parliament Allows For Representation of Interest Groups in EALA
After a heated debate before the House on today, Thursday 19th, members of Parliament voted to scrap the provisions of party consensus in the consideration for elections of members to the East African Legislative Assembly.
The amendment passed provides for the accommodation of special interest groups in compliance with demands of the Equal Opportunity Commission.
“The Speaker shall ensure that the members elected under rule 12 in as much as is feasible represent the various political parties represented in the House, Shades of Opinion, Gender and other Special Interest Groups in Uganda,” reads the amended provision.
The replaced clause provided for such elections to be elected to “be conducted after consultations and consensus by the political parties and other members of Parliament.”
The status quo grants 6 out of the 9 EALA slots to the ruling party, 2 to the opposition and only one to Independents.
With the independents coming as second to the NRM in the composition of the 10th parliament, the debate remains on whether the opposition will stage a fight to retain their slots or relinquish to a single slot.
Other members of parliament proposed that the 9 slots be divided equally between political parties and other special groups.
“The nine slots should be divided, one for UPC, FDC, DP, Workers, Women, members from the disability community, Youth and independent members of Parliament” MP Ssebagala Latif ,Kawempe North representative said.
Speaker Kadga reminded the house that the decision was in respect to the 2012 ruling of the East African Court of Justice where Anita Among (Ind-Bukedea) then an EALA candidate for the opposition Forum for Democratic Change challenged the aspect of consensus which consensus was provided for after the election and held no relevance to aggrieved parties.
The 10th parliament has got four political parties including the ruling National Resistance Movement, the Forum for Democratic Change, the Democratic Party and Uganda People’s Congress as well as a sizeable number of Independents.
There are four interest groups representing Workers, Women, the Youths and People with Disabilities.
This implies that for effective representation of the groups in parliament each group will send only one representative to the regional Assembly.