EALA RACE: Mary Mugyenyi Fears Bribery Could Cost Uganda Competent Representatives

With only a day before the ruling party NRM holds its primaries to select its six representatives to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), approved one of the contestants has expressed worry that election bribery could overshadow competency.

Former Ugandan and Pan African Parliament legislator Mary Mugenyi on Sunday said that it is regrettable that commercialization of politics has crept up on the current Parliament.

“It’s true, health I have heard claims that some of my fellow contestants are bribing MPs to vote for them and am worried, ” Mugyenyi one of the 43 NRM candidates vying for EALA seats told journalists in her first press conference.

“Some people use money to overshadow their incompetencies. In the end, we might end up sending the wrong representatives because of money” She added that; “during our time in the 7th and 8th Parliament, bribery was unexpected.”

Uganda has only 9 spots in the EALA, six of which are for the ruling party, two for the opposition parties and one for the independent candidates.

On Saturday, NRM’s top most organ, the Central Executive Committee (CEC) vetted the 43 contestants and approved all of them. They will be elected through an electoral college by the members of Parliament.

Mugyenyi boasts of an ‘undented’ record in public service and rich expertise in political leadership both at the national and continental stage. “My strength is – whatever I have put my hands on has worked well. I was the Vice President of the Pan African Parliament, and no other Ugandan has held the position.”

She believes that the over 160 million people in East African Community (EAC) offer an opportunity for Uganda to expand its markets especially for agricultural produce. Mugyenyi supports the idea of political federation not only in the East African regional block but also on the whole continent. “Africa can only prosper if it is politically united”.

On whether the sharp political contrasts among the individual states in EAC won’t frustrate the federation, she said; “Some countries have term limits others dont but once there’s EAC is strong and sets standards, any country that defies them can always be called to order by the rest like ECOWAS did in Gambia”.

Other contestants on the NRM ticket include former ministers; Captain Francis Babu, Rose Akol and Henry Banyenzakyi as well as former Presidential aide Sarah Kagingo. Chimpreports has learnt that guidelines to guide the process of selecting the NRM representatives will be issued this week. However, Mugyenyi wants a specific minimum of slots to be set for women candidates.

“We (women) are eligible citizens before anything else. Atleast, we need to have a minimum of 40% of the 6 slots allocated to women,” she said. Out of the 43 contests, 13 are women. Founded in 2001, EALA is a legislative organ of the larger East African Community which consists of Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

The Assembly first sat in 2001 and its members are sworn into five-year terms. Among other roles, EALA debates and approves the budget of the Community, consider annual reports on the activities as well as auditing reports of the Audit Commission referred to it by the Council of Ministers.

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