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Correction of misrepresentation of facts by the Guardian and Mwananchi newspapers

Correction of misrepresentation of facts by the Guardian and Mwananchi newspapers in the case of Hon Margaret Zziwa versus the Secretary General of the EAC (reference no: 17 of 2014)

…Rt Hon Daniel F. Kidega continues in role as Speaker of Assembly

East African Legislative Assembly; Arusha, Tanzania; February 6, 2017:

The attention of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) is drawn to reports carried by two dailies (Guardian and Mwananchi) in the United Republic of Tanzania on the above subject matter.

The  Guardian newspaper published by the IPP Group, in an article by Edward Qorro headed; “Zziwa wins court battle over EALA Speaker’s seat” and published on Saturday, February 4th 2017, purports inter alia that “after a long-protracted battle, the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) has ruled in favour of Hon Margaret Zziwa, revoking her impeachment from the East African Legislative Assembly’s Speaker’s seat”.

On its part, Mwananchi of Mwananchi Communications Ltd publishes an article by Filbert Rweyemamu in its Sunday edition (February 5th, 2017) titled “Spika Zziwa ashinda Kesi” (loosely translated to “Speaker Zziwa wins case”).

The headlines and certain sections of the said articles in both newspapers are not factual.  Both pieces construe and paint a picture of a change of leadership at the Assembly, thereby causing confusion in the minds of readers and stakeholders in the United Republic of Tanzania, the EAC region and beyond. In fact, the Public Relations Office of EALA and a number of EALA Members, have been inundated by calls from concerned citizens on the matter, with many seeking to know the way forward for the Assembly.

It is therefore important to (re)state the facts as they stand and to request the respective Media Houses to immediately correct the anomaly.

THE FACTS AS THEY STAND

The Judgment of Reference No 17 of 2014, of Hon Dr Margaret Nantongo Zziwa versus the Secretary General of the EAC, was delivered by Judges of the First Instance Division of the East African Court of Justice (whose bench constituted Hon Lady Justice Monica K. Mugenyi, Principal Judge, Hon Justice Isaac Lenaola, Deputy Principal Judge, Hon Justice Faustin Ntezilyayo, Hon Justice Fakihi A. Jundu and Hon Justice Audace Ngiye) on Friday, February 3, 2017.

The said judgment is premised on the Amended Reference by the Applicant (Hon Dr Margaret Nantongo Zziwa) filed on April 14th, 2014, that challenged (her) removal from Office of the Speaker, citing the procedure adopted by the Assembly, flouted provisions of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community as well as rules of natural justice.

It is instituted against the Secretary General (Respondent) of the East African Community (EAC) who is sued in a representative capacity on behalf of the EALA, as provided for under Article 4(3) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.

At the hearing, the Applicant was represented by Messrs Jet Tumwebaze and Justin Semuyaba, while Mr Stephen Agaba appeared for the Respondent.

 

In determining the case, the EACJ (the Court) pronounced itself on a number of issues;

  1. Issues 1 & 2: Whether the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure were followed by EALA in the suspension of the Applicant from the Office of the Speaker, and whether the proceedings were null and void and ought to be set aside and whether the appointment or election of a temporary Speaker was in conformity with the Treaty and the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure.

 

       2. Issue 3: Whether the actions, proceedings and findings of the Committee on Legal, Rules and Privileges and the eventual removal of the Applicant as Speaker were in conformity with the provision of Articles 53 & 56 of the Treaty and Rule 9 and annex 3 of the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure as well as rules of natural justice.

 

       3. Issue 4: Whether the grounds for removal of the Speaker presented to and investigated by the Committee on Legal, Rules and Privileges were the grounds envisaged under Article 53 of the Treaty.

 

       4. Issue 5: whether the Applicant is entitled to the remedies sought (which include; reinstatement in the position of the Speaker, recompense by way of special, general and exemplary damages and compensation for lost earnings and costs incurred in prosecuting the case, and an order quashing the actions of the EALA in removing the applicant from the Office of the Speaker).

 

The official Judgement which is hereby attached and is also obtainable from the EALA (www.eala.org) and EACJ (www.eacj.org) websites for further perusal by interested parties and stakeholders. The Office of Public Relations, EALA, hereby wishes to clarify the following based issues on the Judgement;

 

  1. the Court did NOT grant the Applicant (Hon Dr Margaret Nantongo Zziwa) an order of reinstatement to the Office of the Speaker;

 

        2. the Court did NOT grant the Applicant (Hon Dr Margaret Nantongo Zziwa damages as sought for;

 

        3. the Court RULED that each Party (Applicant and Respondent) shall bear its own costs.

 

The Applicant in (her) own rights, is granted an opportunity of appeal at the Appellate Division of the EACJ and for which, is yet to do so.

 

THEREFORE:

It is important to state for the record and for avoidance of doubt, that Rt Hon Daniel F. Kidega continues in his duties as the Speaker of the Assembly. Such tenure ends on June 4th, 2017, together with that of all Members of the 3rd Assembly.

 

-Ends-
 

For more Information, contact: Bobi Odiko,

Senior Public Relations Officer;

East African Legislative Assembly;

Tel: +255-27-2508240 Cell: +255 787 870945+254-733-718036;

Email:   bodiko@eachq.org  

Web: http://www.eala.org,

Arusha, Tanzania

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