East Africa parliament gets new speaker

Daniel Fred Kidega of Uganda became the fourth speaker of EALA after being elected unopposed after his main competitor, Chris Opoka-Okumu, stepped down

East Africa parliament gets new speaker

World Bulletin/News Desk

Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) on Friday elected Daniel Fred Kidega of Uganda as assembly speaker, replacing Uganda's Margret Zziwa who was removed from the post earlier this week following accusations of misconduct and abuse of power.

Kidega became the fourth speaker of EALA after being elected unopposed after his main competitor, Chris Opoka-Okumu, stepped down. Like Zziwa, the new speaker must hail from Uganda, since the post is held on a rotating basis among EALA's five member states.

"Because there is no other contender, and as per the rules and procedures, and by the powers granted to the office of assembly clerk, I declare the Honorable Dan Kidega the new EALA speaker," said Assembly Deputy Clerk Alex Obatre.

The declaration was followed by Kidega taking the oath of office after Opoka-Okumu removed his name from the candidates' list.

Following the announcement, Kidega told The Anadolu Agency that his "first and foremost task as new speaker is to unite the members" of the regional assembly.

"As speaker, together with my fellow EALA members, we have an obligation to retain back East African citizens' trust to this assembly after more than six months [of] battle among ourselves," the newly-elected speaker added.

In his acceptance speech before the house, Kidega pledged to uphold the integrity of the assembly at all times and apply assembly rules and procedures without fear or favor.

"We [EALA members] have a big and challenging task ahead of us to legislate and represent a community whose activities and membership is expanding fast," he said.

"I have no doubt we shall deliver. I will pick up from where my predecessors left off and continue to promote the good ideals of our mandate of widening and deepening EAC [East African Community] integration," Kidega asserted.

He added: "In doing so, I will give the majority their way, but [will also] respect and protect the rights of minorities."

Kidega holds a master's degree in international trade policy and trade law and a diploma in bio-chemistry. He obtained his first degree in business administration from Uganda Christian University. 

Before becoming an EALA member, Kidega had been a member of the Uganda National Assembly from 2001 to 2006 in which he represented Ugandan youth. He has also been an active member of Uganda's ruling National Resistance Movement.

The EALA is the legislative arm of the EAC, a regional bloc that includes Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

It is comprised of nine members and the regional cooperation minister from each member state, along with the EAC secretary-general and counsel. Elected members serve out five-year terms.

Speaking on behalf of the Council of EAC Ministers, which is responsible for EAC affairs, Chairman Abdullah Saadala Abdullah – who also serves as deputy EAC minister for Tanzania – said the governments of member states had confidence in the new speaker.

"As the governments from all five partner states, we believe the EALA is going to resume its duties, which had not gone well for about six months since the removal-of-speaker motion was brought to the house," said Abdullah.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Aralık 2014, 23:38