Walkout by Rwandans halts Eala proceedings – UMUSEKE – News indeed
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Arusha. Business at the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) came to a halt yesterday afternoon after MPs from Rwanda led others in walking out of the August House.

Flags representing the EAC member states
Flags representing the EAC member states.

The legislators were protesting the decision by the Speaker to bar them from discussing a motion on the rotation of sittings among partner states.

Outspoken Rwandan legislator Abdulkarim Harelimana led the walkout shortly before 3.30pm after Speaker Margaret Nnatongo Zziwa stopped Mr Peter Mathuki (Kenya) from tabling the motion which sources said has divided the EAC law makers as well as the partner states for sometime.

The debate on whether Eala sessions should continue to rotate among the five capitals of the partner states has been under scrutiny for sometime with the East African Community (EAC) preferring Arusha as the permanent venue now that it has its new headquarters with the purposely-built chambers for the regional Parliament.

When Mr Mathuki rose to table the motion after the House reconvened at 3pm, the Speaker turned him down, saying it was not an appropriate time to debate the issue.

Even after being pressed further that it was a point of procedure that the matter be debated in the House, Ms Zziwa refused to allow the motion to be tabled.

The pleas by Ugandan legislator Dan Kadega and others could not convince her to give a chance to the Order Paper to be discussed in the august House.

This eventually led to the walk-out of the MPs who were apparently dismayed by the way she was handling the matter. The walk-out was led by Rwanda MPs with Mr Harelimana being the first to march.

MPs from other countries followed shortly afterwards, forcing the House to be adjourned briefly in order to give a chance for the MPs and ex-officio members, including Eala administrators and ministers from the partner states, to consult on the matter.

When business resumed after 15 minutes, there were only 15 MPs among the assembly’s 45 . An official of the EAC secretariat said most of those who remained were MPs from Tanzania and Burundi plus one or two from Kenya.

The Eala Commission, until recently known as the Eala House Business Committee, has been meeting at the venue until the press time to discuss the development.

The House will resume at 2:20pm today and it is not known if the motion will be tabled. An Eala official added that there was a likelihood the issue could generate more debate as some partners are opposed to all its sessions in Arusha all the time.

Source:The Citizen

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