EALA Elections: How Money Is Taking Center Stage In Determining Who Emerged Winners For The Ugandan Chapter  

Denis Namara and Henry Banyenzaki
Denis Namara and Henry Banyenzaki

In the egalitarian perspectives, Uganda is supposed to practice democracy which is nearly free and fair. Unfortunately, soliciting for bribes for any electoral position is what comes first in the mind of either the aspirant or the electorate. The semantics of politics in this East African region has always been conducted with those people who are unwilling to relinquish power to the new people with equally new ideas.

What poses more challenges is the apparent failure on part of the aspirants to grasp the roles they have to play as well as the aspirations of the country or constituency they happen to represent.  Politicians give much attention to what they stand to gain in terms of salaries and beneficiaries from such jobs.

In is with such mindset that contenders for EALA jobs are approaching the ongoing campaigns especially in Uganda. It is because aspirants are looking at money majorly more so those who failed to win in parliamentary elections why you are hearing of big money being thrown here and there by aspirants with the view for each to win and land money.

We now set out to enlighten the contenders for EALA positions as well as other interested parties about the roles and functions of those who will be lucky enough to win ultimately.

The core functions of EALA as enshrined in Article 49 of the EAC treaty are legislating, oversight and representation. Article 49 further states that EALA shall liaise with the national assemblies of partner states on matters relating to the community; shall debate and approve the budget of the community; shall consider annual reports on the activities of the community, annual audit reports of the audit commission and any other reports referred to it by the council; shall discuss all matters pertaining to the community and make recommendations to the council as it may deem necessary for the implementation of the treaty; and may for purposes of carrying out its functions, establish any committee or committees for such purposes as it deems necessary.

Also, EALA legislators shall recommend to the council the appointment of the clerk and other officers of the assembly; and finally shall make its rules of procedure and those of its committees. Based on the above, many of the aspirants or whatsoever candidates have no idea at that and are busy throwing statements one after the other which are nearly in contradiction to the EAC treaty and the operations of EALA.

The dirty political games have turned to the most corrupt: The NRMO EALA aspirants are the ones who have suffered the most in this case. These come as result of first paying two million Uganda Shillings to the NRMO electoral commission and then start the tedious campaigns for the few slots. Indeed many are using a slightest opportunity available to receive the NRMO NEC endorsements. These come with bribing those officials.

Soon the NEC will painfully take a decision on the 46 aspirants. This is worse than their expectations but of course a decision must be made to scoop out the best ones out of those intending ones. This therefore, puts each of these to only remain at calling for support to those who can endorse them including the electoral college of the parliamentarians.

As usual, the members of parliament are also waiting for them to squeeze any money left in them. All corridors of the parliament building together with their offices are so busy with aspirants contacting anyone they land on in office. This is hard to believe but some of the aspirants have agreed on the fact that they cannot talk to a member of parliament minus availing them some fresh drink to smoothen their voices as they lobby for votes. This was also confirmed by one youthful aspirant, Mr. Namara Denis.

Not many of the EALA aspirants actually know what they are aspiring for. Many of them do not know even what they must advocate for. Many are talking about promoting business, tourism and trade but none of them runs even a functioning business for years. Ugandan EALA legislators are not marketing tourism in Arusha but rather legislating on the policies and issues which benefit Uganda as a country.

Out of the 46 aspirants, there are former ministers in the government but unfortunately with the politics of use and dump or drop practiced in Uganda; these failed ministers are also searching for the elusive EALA slot as legislators. There was nothing tangible attributed to the ministries they led but they are busy soliciting for support using the financial muscle they possess, thus many of them are about to get this.

Isn’t that strange in the region that we never train political diplomats who can represent Uganda’s interests in the East African Community? The answer is on the contrary yet other East African members are focusing on sending those experienced members like the former first sons of former presidents of Tanzania like Mwinyi and Nyerere, who are career diplomats. These are experienced career diplomats yet Uganda sends failed politicians.

Many are talking about what they don’t know and are busy asking for votes from members of parliament to represent Uganda in the creation of a new state called the Federal Republic of East Africa.

Many have lost already especially with the slots from FDC and DP. Hon. Ibi Florence Ekwau trounced Ingrid Turinawe by two more votes (20) while Hon. Mukasa Fred Mbidde emerged the sole DP candidate. UPC only managed to front two candidates to tussle it out in the UPC parliamentary group. These are Hon. Chris Opoka Okumu and Isaac Ojok Anok.

In all aspects, as long as Uganda as a state continue to send mediocre politicians thinking that those who have failed in the national politics fit the billing of the EALA legislators, Uganda will always harvest poorly in the region in terms of policies diplomacy and others. These EALA positions need people well versed with international diplomacy so as they can negotiate properly for a constituency called Uganda as a whole. It is on record that due to the dirty national politics, Hon. Nantongo Zziwa was replaced as the speaker of EALA after weird accusations from the EALA members especially those from Uganda.

She went to court and the case might go her way accordingly. Despite the fact that Hon. Daniel Kidega managed successfully to succeed her; it was and is still confusing for legislators from other member states on what happened exactly. Selfish political interests took over those of Uganda as a constituency in the East African community therefore exporting tainted Ugandan scandals in the community.

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