The East African Legislative Assembly has urged all organs of the Community to uphold and apply the principles and provisions as enshrined in the Treaty in respect to privileges of Members of EALA.
EALA adopted this tough stance following a November 2015 request from the Speaker of the Burundi National Assembly Rt Hon Pascal Nyabenda, recalling four of the country’s legislators to EALA.
Of the four legaslators, Hon Jeremie Ngendakumana, Hon Frederic Ngenzebuhoro, Hon Yves Nsabimana and Hon Dr. Martin Nduwimana, two were allegedly supposed to lose their EALA seats because their parties were no longer represented in the Burundi National Assembly, while the other two are said to have resigned.
However, on February 8 the Committee on Legal Rules and Privileges chaired by Hon Peter Mathuki offered guidance and subsequently rejected the move to recall the Burundi legislators.
‘It is now official the tenure of the four Members of EALA from Burundi whom the Burundi National Assembly had wanted recalled from the Assembly, will be upheld’, reads a statement by EALA.
Meanwhile, in response to the letter by Rt Hon Nyabenda, the Speaker of EALA Dan Fred Kidega consulted Counsel to the Community Dr Anthony Luyirika Kafumbe, and noted that the Burundi request contravened section 51 of the EAC Treaty among other provisions.
And, justifying the matter on the floor of the House, Hon ABuBakr Ogle remarked that independence and privileges of the House were vital. The Resolution further appeals to the Organs and Institutions of the Community to guarantee safety and security of all Members of EALA and staff as well as those of other Institutions of the Community.
Hon Abubakar Zein, Hon Mumbi Ngaru, Hon Joseph Kiangoi, Hon Dora Byamukama and Chris Opoka all argued in favour of their four colleagues’ sovereignty.
Others who supported the Report and the Resolution included Hon Dr Martin Nduwimana, Hon Sarah Bonaya and Hon Martin Ngoga.
On her part the Burundi Minister in the Office of the President in charge of EAC Affairs, Hon Leontine Nzeyimana said it was necessary for the law of the Partner States to be respected stating that Partner States had interests in the Community and that such must be respected.