28 candidates fight for nine Eala slots
A total of 28 aspirants have expressed interest in representing Uganda in the fifth East African Legislative Assembly (Eala).
The aspirants formally submitted interest in a two-day exercise conducted by the Clerk to Parliament that ended Tuesday.
Mr Robert Tumukwasibwe, who represented the Clerk to Parliament, Mr Adolf Mwesige, confirmed to journalists that 15 of the contenders were registered on Monday and the remaining 13 yesterday.
Six of the candidates are from the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and they are Ms Rose Akol Okullo, Ms Mary Mugyenyi, Mr Dennis Namara, Mr James Kakooza, Mr Stephen George Odongo, and Mr Paul Musamali.
The candidates from other political parties are; Mr Harold Kaija from Forum for Democracy (FDC), Mr Gerald Siranda from Democratic Party (DP), Mr Fred Ebil (Uganda People’s Congress) and Mr Mohamad Kateregga of Justice Forum (Jeema).
The independent candidates are Mr Joseph Tindyebwa, Mr Fred Luyinda, Ms Josephine Lolem, and Mr Moses Ategeka.
The other independent aspirants nominated on Monday are Ms Veronica Kadogo, Ms Jacqueline Amongin, Mr Julius Bukyana, Mr Dennis Kapyata, Mr Daniel Muwonge, Ms Stella Kiryowa, Ms Phiona Rwandarugali and Ms Patience Namara Tumwesigye.
Others are Mr Ambrose Murangira, Mr Allan Muyinda, Mr Ronex Tendo Kisembo, Mr Lauben Bwengye, Mr Gilbert Agaba, and Ms Salaama Nakitende conclude the list.
Dr Tanga Odoi, the NRM electoral commission chairperson, who was part of the delegation that escorted the party flag bearers for the nomination exercise, was upbeat and optimistic about their success.
“I know that they will win. These are mature candidates who have done well in the first term and that is why we are endorsing them for the second term,” Dr Odoi said.
Members of Eala are elected for a five-year (renewable) term by their respective national assemblies.
The first term of the six Eala NRM aspirants ends this year on December 17.
On the other hand, Mr Norbert Mao, the Democratic Party (DP) president and Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs who escorted Mr Siranda, said their candidate was the right person for the position.
“We have every expectation that Mr Siranda will go and represent not only DP but Uganda. He represents the best that Uganda has to offer and we believe that he will be able to win,” Mr Mao said.
The contenders respectively promised to serve the interests of the country and the East African Community once in office.
“We are in a community that requires assertive leadership and where we can speak for ourselves,” Mr Kaija (FDC) said.
A few minutes to 5pm, the closing time for nominations, Ms Cissy Bayiga, who was clad in a wedding gown, arrived with her huge entourage only to be informed that in order to qualify for nominations, she needed to have paid a non-refundable fee of Shs 3 million.
She did not have the money. This made her miss out on the nomination exercise.
The aspirants also needed to collected all the necessary signatures, including from five legislators, supporting their nomination.
According to the Rules of Procedure (12) 1, the nine members of the East African Legislative Assembly representing Uganda shall be elected by Parliament.
The next stages will involve vetting the contestants to find out whether they are fit for the positions before the names are publicly confirmed in print media.