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EALA Campaigns: Unruly MPs Overwhelm Speaker :: Uganda Radionetwork

EALA Campaigns: Unruly MPs Overwhelm Speaker

Kadaga cautioned legislators majority of whom were dressed in their party colors against bullying, intimidation, interruption and flashing posters of their candidates as others addressed the House.
Members of Parliament dance on the floor of parliament to a song praising the candidature of NRM party candidate Mathias Kasamba.

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The Ugandan Parliament was a centre of drama as legislators went through a marathon of campaigns by candidates for the East African Legislative Assembly-EALA.   Majority of the 47 candidates vying for Uganda's nine slots in the regional assembly found a hard time addressing a fully packed house whose members were charged since the beginning of the session. 

Each candidate had seven minutes within which to address legislators ahead of elections to be held on the same day.

Earlier, Kadaga cautioned legislators majority of whom were dressed in their party colors against bullying, intimidation, interruption and flashing posters of their candidates as others addressed the House.

But the guidelines were disregarded as soon as the first candidate took the floor. The members, who constitute the lone constituency of members of the East African Legislative Assembly from Uganda, were shouting on top of their voices, dancing, chanting slogans and waving uncontrollably.

NRM legislators capitalized on their numerical strength to give some candidates mileage by repeatedly waving placards and singing in their praise. This was more evident when the six candidates endorsed by the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party caucus were called to take to the stand.

“Twagala Kasamba nga sente… literally translated… “We love Kasamba like money, was one of the lines encored as the former Member of Parliament for Kakuuto County sailed through the seven minutes of campaigning.   He ground was also eased for Mary Mugyenyi, Rose Akol, George Odongo, Dennis Namara, Paul Musamali and incumbent EALA legislators Chris Opoka, Fred Mukasa Mbidde and Suzan Nakawuki.

Opoka danced to the tunes of the NRM legislators by repeatedly flashing the UPC palm sign interchangeably with the NRM party thumb.

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The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga repeatedly asked legislators to give all the 47 candidates aspiring for EALA audience.

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The most hostile reception was accorded to Ingrid Turinawe Kamateneti, a  member of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party had to endure heckles and insults throughout her seven-minute speech.

Turinawe has been lately blamed by the MPs for masterminding the numerous demonstrations staged at parliament in which piglets were painted yellow and smuggled into Parliament premises. The protesters accused MPs of being extravagant while spending tax payers' money.

Immediately after the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga called Turinawe to address the House, the legislators shot up chanting "Twamuganye Ingrid twamugnye....kubanga yeyisa bubi" literally meaning that they have rejected her candidature due to her unappealing character.

Despite pleas from Speaker Kadaga for the legislators to take their seats, they continued to insult the candidate for close to 15 minutes.

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What Candidates Are Promising

Former Internal Affairs Minister Rose Akol Okullu pledged to use her posting to promote security and stability across member states of the East African Community adding that issues of climate change were equally high on her agenda.

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Independent candidate Lauben Bwengye Muhangi pledged to pursue the use of Swahili across the EAC saying that without the same language, integration is a farce.

Democratic Party's Mukasa Mbidde pledged to further promote the integration process and implementation of regional protocols.

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Alice Drito, also an independent candidate promised to protect Uganda's interest in the region while Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party candidate Florence Ibi Ekwau pledged to advocate for harmonization of tuition fees, the curriculum and called for a regional center of excellence.

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