There are only nine slots for Uganda in the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA), according to the EALA Constitution. 47 Ugandan candidates, six of them nominated by the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party, were contending for the nine posts.
Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) is threatening to challenge the outcome after the Uganda People Congress (UPC) and the Democratic Party (DP) reportedly allied to take the other seats while the remaining went to candidates who were standing on an independent ticket.
It is needless to divulge into the details of the process for the numerical representation of the political parties in the Ugandan Parliament at the moment. However, with more than 280 NRM legislators out of over 430, the six NRM candidates faced little or no competition for the nine seats.
Impeccable sources have insinuated to Taarifa Rwanda that the rush for the EALA seats speaks volumes about the huge desire for some legislators to increase their access to tax payer money.
Notwithstanding, a few of them yearn to serve the people in EAC bloc.
The Ugandan legislator representing Mityana County North, Hon. Godfrey Kiwanda, spoke to Taarifa on phone yesterday evening that a large turn up for these jobs is not a new phenomenon in Uganda, adding that an average of about five candidates per seat was small compared to the number of candidates that vie for a seat in a single constituency at the national level.
“Having a big number of aspirants for a seat in Uganda is not a new phenomenon; at the national level we have had situation where more than ten contest in one constituency for only one Parliamentary seat….so an average of about five for a seat in EALA is a small number,” said Kiwanda during a phone conversation yesterday.
The Job Benefits
In 2014, The East African Newspaper reported that the Legislative Assembly (EALA) had approved a $1,208 increment to their basic salary from $5,200 to $6,408 and a sitting allowance of $400 per day and medical/travel insurance thus costing the East African legislative organ $14.7 million per month.
Each MP also takes home $4,800 as monthly allowance and $8,500 as monthly plenary, and the whole monthly package comes to $14,908. It was also reported that the EAC Secretariat facilitates MPs with an allowance that is provided by their countries for activities such as “sensitising citizens on EAC matters as required by the EALA regulations.”
Apparently, back home, Uganda MPs earn a monthly salary of $8,715, Tanzanian MPs earn $7,266 while Rwanda MPs earn $1,271.
The East African Legislative Assembly is an organ of the East African Community; established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.
The Treaty was signed on 30th November 1999 and entered into force on 7th July 2000 by the Partner States of The Republic of Uganda, The Republic of Kenya; and the United Republic of Tanzania.
The Republic of Burundi and the Republic of Rwanda acceded to the Treaty on 18th June 2007 and became full members on 1st July 2007, thus expanding the number of the Community Partner States to five.
Under the Treaty, the Assembly has a Membership comprising nine members elected by each Partner State; ex-officio members consisting of the Minister or Assistant Minister responsible for the East African Community Affairs from each Partner State; the Secretary General and the Counsel to the Community.
Currently, the Assembly has 45 elected members; and seven ex-officio members totaling to a membership of 52. Twenty of who are female, according to the organ’s website.