The former East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) speaker Margaret Zziwa accuses EALA MPs of illegally removing her from office. She plans to make her allegations in court but the EALA house proceeds in accordance with the treaty and the rules of procedures of the Assembly.–By Diane Uwimana
Margaret Nantongo Zziwa accuses the MPs of removing her from office illegally. She said that her successor, Daniel Kidega, replaced her without considering any rule and law.
According to Jérémie Ngendakumana, Burundi EALA MP, all the procedures have been carried out in accordance with the EAC treaty and the rules of procedures of the Assembly.
“The provision of the treaty in its article 53 stipulates when the Speaker of the Assembly shall vacate his or her office: When the period for which he or she was elected is upon expired; if he or she delivers his or her resignation in writing to the elected members; or if he or she ceases to be qualified for election as Speaker of the Assembly”.
The Speaker of the Assembly may be removed from office by a resolution, supported by not less than two thirds of the elected members, for inability to perform the functions of his or her office, whether arising from infirmity of mind or body or for misconduct.
This is the provisions of the treaty which must be applied to remove the speaker of the assembly.
“A motion for a resolution to remove the Speaker from office shall be signed by at least four elected Members from each Partner State and submitted to the Clerk,” claims Ngendakumana. Indeed, the Clerk shall, within twenty-four hours of receipt of the list of names, forward the Notice to the House. The motion shall be tabled in the Assembly within seven days of its receipt by the Clerk and the House shall refer the motion to the Committee on Legal, Rules and Privileges to investigate and report its findings to the Assembly for debate.
Then, the Speaker is entitled to appear in person and to be assisted or represented by a lawyer or any other person when the Committee is investigating his or her removal. “Margaret’s advocate appears lonely in front of the committee in claiming that things are done without considering the rules and laws,” adds MP Jérémie Ngendakumana.
If the Assembly passes the motion for removal of the Speaker by not less than two-thirds majority of elected members of the Assembly, the Speaker shall cease to hold office. “Thirty three MPs have signed the motion, while others came to sign later.”
The EALA has invited the council of the Ministers who are also members of EALA but are not involved in the vote. “They came to ensure that we were working in accordance with the treaty and rules of procedures to remove her,” he explains.
Jérémie Ngendakumana notes that the newest EALA speaker, Daniel Kidega, and EALA MPs will do their best to achieve all mandate planned activities. “We have wasted much time with Margaret Zziwa; we want to improve the image of the Assembly by working day and night to ensure that we have completed all achievements”.
Margaret Nantongo Zziwa was accused of wasting community resources, poor governance and leadership skills, making unilateral decisions, poor management of time, abuse of office, favouritism , family members –particularly her husband – interfere in the EALA activities , unnecessary delays, postponements of meetings and a laisser-faire attitude to assembly responsibilities contrary to provisions of constantly flouting and manipulating the rules of procedures with impunity in order to foster personal interests and of undermining the authority of the commission by changing the activities for 2013/2014 to suit personal interests.