July 6th - 12th, 2006

Race for EA Parliament tight as 26 vie

By Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda

The race for Uganda’s nine slots in the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) is hitting fever pitch, with about 26 persons expressing interest.
The majority of NRM candidates are those who were defeated in the February parliamentary elections, and now want to test their popularity and luck in the EALA election.

Prominent among them are; Nusura Tiperu (formerly Yumbe Woman MP), Margaret Zziwa (formerly Kampala Woman MP), Baguma Isoke (formerly Buyanja MP), Dora Byamukama (formerly Mwenge MP) and Mike Sebalu (former MP Busiro East). Others are incumbents and political new comers such as Hope Kivengere.

The term of office for the incumbents ends in two months. These are; Wandera Ogalo (FDC), Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu (FDC), Sheila Kawamara (NRM), Lydia Wanyoto (NRM), Yona Kanyomozi (FDC), Irene Ovonji (NRM), Capt. Dudu Baker (NRM), Medi Kaggwa (NRM) and Sarah Bagalaaliwo (NRM).

According to the new rules of procedure for the 8th Parliament, the nine slots will be shared proportionately by the political parties in the House.

The NRM with about 220 MPs will take seven and the remaining two will go to the FDC. This is in line with Article 50 of the Treaty establishing the East Africa Community.

“The National Assembly of each Partner State shall elect, not from among its members, nine members of the Assembly, who shall represent as much as feasible, the various political parties represented in the National Assembly, shades of opinion, gender and other special interest groups in that Partner State,” reads the Article.

NRM Chief Whip, Kabakumba Masiko, has according to our sources received about 30 applications already.
The NRM Caucus was due to convene this week to discuss how the party candidates are to be selected.

AU Parliament

To select its four African Union Parliament representatives, the NRM used primarily regional balancing. The party chose Nyabushozi MP, Mary Mugyenyi (West), Kongasis MP Toskin Batile (East), Jie MP Lokii Abrahams Peter (North) and Ndawula Kweesi (Buganda).

These will have to be approved by the entire Parliament. Uganda will be represented by five members, four from NRM and the fifth from FDC.
Already, FDC Vice President for Buganda Sam Kalega Njuba has shown interest. Earlier, Secretary General Alice Alaso and Envoy Beti Kamya had also been rumoured to be interested in the AU Parliament.

NRM aspirants

The surprise package in the EALA race is former Omoro County MP, Jacob Oulanya. NRM sources claim he has approached them for backing. Oulanyah stood in the last elections as a UPC.

Oulanyah chaired the Parliamentary Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, which recommended the removal of presidential term limits.
It is claimed that President Museveni wanted to appoint him a minister but he declined to denounce his party, UPC.

Some NRM sources claim that Oulanyah is now ready to denounce his UPC ties and might be appointed Minister of State for Karamoja, a post that fell vacant with Col. Tom Butime’s resignation. That would leave Dan Kidega in the race as the only candidate from Acholi.

Meddie Kaggwa also stands a high chance because he accepted Museveni’s advice not to stand for the post of NRM vice chairman for Buganda in preference for a Catholic, Gilbert Bukenya or Francis Babu.

On the other hand, The Weekly Observer columnist and Special Presidential Assistant for Literary Affairs, Hope Kivengere, is said to be favoured by State House.

NRM candidates by regions

Baguma Isoke (former minister, MP)
Elly Karuhanga (former Nyabushozi MP)
Benigna Mukiibi (ex-minister, Kibale Woman MP)
Hope Kivengere (Special Presidential Assistant for Literary Affairs)
Dora Byamukama (former Mwenge South MP)
Elijah Mushemeza (Makerere lecturer)
Amon Muzoora (former Rwampara MP)
Sheila Kawamala (Incumbent)

Daniel Kidega (former youth MP)
Capt. Baker Dudu (Incumbent)
Nusura Tiperu (former Yumbe MP)
Irene Ovunji (Incumbent)
Obiga Kania (ex- NRM director)
Jacob Oulanya (former Omoro MP)
Beatrice Lagada (ex-NRM director)

Lydia Wanyoto Mutende (Incumbent)
Mary Amajo (former woman MP Kaberamaido)
Bernard Mulengani (former Bukooli Central MP)

Meddie Kaggwa (Incumbent)
Mike Sebalu (former Busiro East MP)
Margaret Zziwa (former Kampala Woman MP)
Sarah Bagalaliwo (Incumbent)

FDC candidates
Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu,
Dan Wandera Ogalo
Yona Kanyomozi, formerly of UPC.
The party has only two slots and preferred candidates are likely to be Ogalo and Muntu.
The FDC had pushed for three slots but the NRM declined. The third slot, according to party sources, was being eyed by party chairman, Dr. Suleiman Kiggundu, as well as Vice President, Salaamu Musumba.