Tanzanian councillor moves to block Eala sessions

Saturday May 23 2020

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The East Africa Legislative Assembly during a session in Nairobi, Kenya, on June 7, 2018. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By The EastAfrican

Chadema Party Councillor Ally Bananga has moved to court to stop the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) from holding virtual video conferencing parliamentary sessions.

On May 8, the Sombetini Ward councillor said the move to conduct parliamentary business through virtual meetings was against Eala’s Rules of Procedure.

He argued that it was inappropriate for the Speaker, Eala MPs and ex-officios to conduct committee meetings and other sessions from different locations across the six partner states.

He further submitted that the disputed virtual meetings contravened the rules by not having the usual Speaker’s procession and the Mace in the House.

Nullify sessions

In an application filed before the East African Court of Justice First Instance Division in Arusha, through lawyer Philip Philemon Mushi, Mr Bananga wants the court to nullify the assembly’s session and committee meetings that were held in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic measures among the partner states.

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“While the Treaty of EAC and the Rules of Procedure for Eala explicitly provide that the assembly shall meet at Arusha in the United Republic of Tanzania and not virtually; where all members of the Assembly are currently in their irrespective partner states,” said Mr Bananga in his application.

He wants all activities conducted and resolutions under the Eala virtual meeting for the fourth meeting of its third session of the fourth assembly declared null and void.

Mr Bananga says that for Eala virtual meeting to have taken place, the assembly ought to have amended its rules of procedure to serve the purpose.

He presents his case as provided under Rule 26(1), which states: “Pursuant to the provisions of Article 59 of the Treaty, the Council or any member may introduce any motion in the House.”

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