The former East African Community General Secretary, Amanya Mushega has said efforts should be made to ensure members to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) are voted by universal suffrage.
He was addressing the newly elected members of the East African Legislative Assembly in Kampala on Tuesday.
The legislators are drawn from six countries that make up the East African Community-EAC.
They are led by the EALA Speaker, Martin Ngoga. In his presentation, Mushega said electing EALA members by universal suffrage will help people to know more about the Assembly, its relevance and eventually own it.
Mushega’s sentiments are not any different from those made by the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga this week.
He urged the EALA legislators to reach out to the population and help them understand the regional co-operation efforts.
Kadaga cited the huge distance between the population and the integration process as one of the deficiencies of the Assembly.
Article 50(1) of the East African Community Treaty provides for the procedure on how to elect and who shall represent the national assembly of each partner state in EALA.
Section 4(2) of the East African Elections Act, 2011 requires the National Assembly of each partner State to elect members of the new assembly within 90 days before expiry date of the outgoing assembly.
EALA representatives are elected based on the strength of the parties in parliament, gender and special interest groups.
Debate on amending the Treaty to include universal suffrage started with the 2nd Assembly and was carried forward to the 3rd Assembly, whose term expired before a decision was reached.