East Africa: Uganda Bitter After EALA Clerk Job Goes to Tanzania

A row has broken out at the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania, over the election of the Clerk to the regional legislative body.

This follows a decision by Eala Speaker Martin Ngoga from Rwanda to give Mr Saidi Othman Yakubu, the Eala Clerk position at Uganda’s expense.

Following the recent advertisement of nearly 60 jobs in the secretariat and other institutions of the East African Community, the secretariat shortlisted candidates and promptly carried out interviews including the clerk of the assembly and their deputy.

The interviews were conducted by Clerk to Parliament from respective partner states, with Uganda being represented by Mr Adolf Mwesigye.

However, Ugandan lawmakers claim that while a Ugandan, Mr Alex Lumumba Obatre, emerged the best, Mr Yakubu was confirmed as clerk. Mr John Njoroge from Kenya will serve as his deputy.

Daily Monitor has seen a copy of a letter, signed by the Speaker, confirming “that the commission with the decision of 10 out of 12 recommended the appointment of Saidi Othman Yakubu and John Njoroge Matega as clerk and deputy clerk respectively”.

We have also seen a letter of two dissenting MPs, Ms Rose Akol and Ms Mary Mugyenyi, both Ugandan representatives on the commission — claiming that the scores given to Mr Obatre were reduced from 25 to nine by a Tanzanian panelist.

The legislators have consequently recommended a review of the recruitment process.

Mr Denis Namara, a Ugandan representative, has since moved a motion — under article 49 (2) of the Treaty and Rule 13 of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly — to suspend the ongoing recruitment.

Mr Namara has also warned that old wounds could be opened in reference to the collapse of the old East African Community in the 1970s.

He said the continued disproportionate sharing of benefits of the community among the then three partner states of Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania had catastrophic outcomes.

Armed with documents claiming the interview results were changed to favour a Tanzanian, another Ugandan Eala representative, Ms Susan Nakawuki, branded the recruitment process as a total sham.

“We will not look on as injustice is happening in the Community. This is a Community of rules and laws,” she said.

The legislators cited a number of positions that they allege ended up with fraudulent shortlists.

In response, Speaker Ngoga warned that the ongoing pingpong could tear apart the Community.

Mr Ngoga had earlier wanted to excuse himself from chairing the House’s sessions on the matters since he has been accused of interference with Uganda’s affairs.

The Speaker eventually ruled yesterday that in order for the matter to proceed, the three-thirds rule on the house and quorum had to be established.

Tanzania opted to deny the assembly quorum. Only two members stayed in the House. The Speaker, consequently, adjourned the assembly for lack of quorum.

Joined by their South Sudanese counterparts, Ugandans vowed to fight on to the bitter end.


Recruitment of staff in the Community is premised on the principle that citizens from all partner states should enjoy the same rights to employment opportunities accruing from the integration process.

Equally, the staff rules and regulations require that the recruitment of staff will be done on a quota system.

The system provides that partner states must have points for its citizens to be considered as eligible candidates.

As of June 8, Tanzania had a balance of six points.

Other partner states like Kenya (10), Burundi (26), Uganda (18), Rwanda (36) and South Sudan (36) have balances in double digits. The rules provide that a country must have a minimum of 14 points.

This, according to the lawmakers, makes Tanzania and Kenya ineligible to front candidates for the Clerk position.

Additional reporting by FRANCIS JJINGO


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