Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has offered Parliament’s assistance to the East African Legislative Assembly’s (EALA) quest for autonomy.
Kadaga said Parliament has the technical wherewithal, being the first Legislature in the region to attain financial and administrative autonomy over its affairs.
This, Kadaga pledged to EALA Speaker Martin Ngoga, who asked for Uganda’s support in establishing a fully-fledged and independent secretariat.
“We are open for the benchmarking since we are the first Parliament in the region to establish our own system. We are happy to share our experiences,” said Kadaga.
Ngoga said the Assembly resolved to manage its financial and administrative affairs and that putting in place institutional frameworks to accelerate the same requires Uganda’s experience.
“It has been the decision of the Council [of Ministers] to grant autonomy for the East African Legislative Assembly and the East African Court of Justice. We need your help as it is going to be a new experiment,” said Ngoga.
Kadaga also urged member states to expedite their contributions to facilitate the Assembly’s work.
EALA, currently run by a secretariat funded by member states through annual contributions, seek to have the Assembly gain more control over its finances and administration.
Ngoga leads a team of EALA MPs from the five member states. They are in the country for their delayed first sitting, to be graced by President Yoweri Museveni.
The delay happened due to an impasse over the election of the Speaker.
Whereas a diplomatic consensus created a rotational basis for each of the five countries to ascend to the Speakership in turns, Tanzania offended the arrangement and instead fielded a candidate against Rwanda.
Kenyan MPs had also failed to agree on their representatives, disrupting the Assembly’s calendar by 7 months.
Kadaga advised EALA to intensify their grassroots campaigns to endear the planned political integration to the masses.
Ms Kadaga later launched a one week induction organized for the regional body’s legislators.
President Yoweri Museveni will open the first sitting of the fourth EALA at Parliament of Uganda on Tuesday 23rd January, 2018.