EAC Court Dismisses Burundi’s Appeal Against Election of Rwanda’s Ngoga As Speaker

EAC Court Dismisses Burundi’s Appeal Against Election of Rwanda’s Ngoga As Speaker

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By Spy Uganda

The East African Community (EAC) Court has dismissed an appeal by the Government of Burundi challenging the election of Rwanda’s Martin Ngoga as the Speaker of the 4th East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

In a 4 against 1 ruling, the appeal was dismissed with costs.

The ruling came after the EAC Court held that the Appeal was contrary to Art 35 (a) of the Treaty on appeals requiring such to be based on .

The Burundi  appeal instead was held to have been  based on facts, thereby seeking to ask court to conduct the hearing de novo.

The Appeal was dismissed with costs to the Intervenor Hon Mukasa Fred Mbidde  and respondent EAC  on  both the 1st instance and appellate court levels.

Court ruled that the Assembly conducted the election of the Speaker in accordance with the Law .

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) is a sub-organ of the larger East African Community, being the legislative arm of the Community. Members are sworn into five-year terms.

EALA had its first sitting in Arusha, Tanzania on 29 November 2001. It had been founded the day before. The first Speaker of the Assembly was Abdulrahman Kinana of Tanzania. The first Assembly, including members from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, was dissolved in 2006.

The second Assembly expanded as Rwanda and Burundi joined the EAC in 2007. Abdirahim Abdi of Kenya was the Speaker of the second Assembly.

Early this year, EALA Legislators elected a temporary speaker to steer the assembly in the absence of the substantive speaker Martin Ngoga.

Burundi’s representative Léontine Nzeyimana had been elected amidst controversy between Rwanda and Burundi over the position of the speaker.

Léontine Nzeyimana had earlier contested against Ngoga, a process Burundi and Tanzania boycotted culminating into a legal suit at the East African Court of Appeal.

However, the EAC court ruling that Ngoga is the rightful EALA Speaker has since thrown the Legislative Assembly into disarray and political analysts contend that the diplomatic raw between Rwanda and Burundi could deepen at the assembly following the ruling which seems to have left Burundi with a bruised ego.

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