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Zziwa censure: EALA members under fire

Uganda’s representatives at the East African Legislative Assembly [EALA] were today facing a backlash for supporting a censure motion against Speaker Margaret Zziwa.

Parliament in Kampala is today set to consider a bi-partisan motion that could see all nine representatives recalled. The mover of the motion, Kawempe North MP Latif Ssebaggala [DP], told the plenary session that Ugandan MPs had to “do something about the censure against Zziwa, a Ugandan.

“We may even recall the MPs because we are the ones [who elected them]. How can they do something like that without even consulting us the electorates?” Ssebaggala asked.

Justine Kasule Lumumba, the government chief whip, said: “The actions of our representatives in EALA are not only a shame to them, but a shame to the country…the president met all the Ugandan representatives and talked to them over this.”

At EALA, Uganda is represented by Dora Byamukama, Dan Kidega, Mukasa Fred Mbidde, Chris Opoka, Mike Ssebalu, Suzan Nakawuki, Nusura Tiperu, Margaret Zziwa and Bernard Mulengani. Mbidde and Nakawuki are on Zziwa’s side. Jacqueline Amongin [NRM, Ngora Woman] said the matter should be expeditiously handled.

“This motion should be handled as a matter of national importance because the motion in Arusha [Tanzania] will be handled on Thursday. So, we should move fast to recall all our members in EALA,” she said.

Butambala Woman MP Mariam Nalubega said:

“This is very unfortunate that Ugandans are fighting a fellow Ugandan at EALA and people are wondering what kind of people and a country are we.”

Bufumbira East MP Eddie Kwizera [NRM] urged caution and demanded for more time to study Zziwa’s case. Prof Tarsis Kabwegyere, the minister for General Duties, expressed displeasure with the recall debate, before Speaker Rebecca Kadaga deferred the matter to today, Wednesday.

Kadaga said the House needed more information. The Observer reported on Monday that Zziwa had sought the intervention of President Museveni last week to save her neck.

Zziwa’s troubles began in January, during the assembly’s meeting in Kampala, when she ordered the clerk not to pay EALA legislators their full allowances. Zziwa reportedly wanted to ensure that EALA representatives remained on duty for the entire two weeks they were supposed to be in Kampala.

For that period, the representatives were entitled to at least Shs 20m each in allowances. For Zziwa to lose her office, at least 30 out of 44 MPs must vote in favour of the motion.

Her chances of survival rest in the petition she filed in the East African Court of Justice, seeking a permanent injunction to prohibit and restrain the assembly from commencing procedures to censure her.

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