KAMPALA, UGANDA: Prominent lawyer, Phiona Rwandarugali has been duly nominated to contest in the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) elections as an independent candidate, with a promise to spur regional integration.
Phiona who is among the 15 candidates nominated on Monday, September 19 paid a non-refundable fee of UGX. 3 million for the nomination exercise.
Other candidates include former MPs Jacquiline Amongin and Veronica Kadogo, Salaama Nakitende, Gilbert Agaba, Ambrose Murangira, Allan Muyima, Ronex Tendo Kisembo, Lauben Bwengye, Patience Naamara Tumwesigye, Stella Kiryowa, Dr Daniel Kapyata, and Daniel Muwonge among other contenders.
Phiona, who is a practising legal advocate in Uganda and Kenya recently impressed President Museveni with her unique understanding of the region’s critical affairs and challenges.
The President who personally interviewed Counsel Rwandarugali during an NRM Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting last month praised her for her unique abilities, and ideas for the region, including her fluency in Swahili language.
In August 2016, EALA passed a Resolution to urge the Summit of EAC to amend the Treaty for the establishment of the Community to provide for Kiswahili as one of the official Languages of the Community.
At the same time, the Assembly urged the Council of Ministers to allocate adequate resources to EAC Kiswahili Commission to effectively carry out its mandate.
Rwandarugali who has lived in five of the EAC countries: Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania and Rwanda is also an Advocate qualified to practice at the East African Court of Justice (EACJ).
Her personal story is unique and is a reflection of all “our aspirations for true integration,” a senior MP said—describing her as “the best candidate to represent Uganda”.
Rt. Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, the country’s 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs seems to have backed Counsel Rwandarugali after a lengthy meeting where the two discussed issues of empowerment of women.
Counsel Rwandarugali has since listed six pillars to bolster regional integration including;
- Advocate for a more united EAC with more open dialogue before taking unilateral action. Advocate for a regional infrastructure fund to boost free movement of goods and people
- Bolster regional integration focusing on compliance among East African Community member states regarding regional policies.
- Increase investment in ICT that boosts revenue mobilisation of member states to minimise trade leakages
- Advocate for the removal of trade barriers and promote the free movement of goods and people across boarders
- Expand Global opportunities and promote free trade within member states of the EAC
- Advocate for a collective and coordinated approach to marketing and promotion of quality tourism across member states.
The campaigns for the EALA race are slated for Thursday, 29 September 2022, which will be followed by voting on the same day.
Last week, the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party chairperson, President Yoweri Museveni, said the party will be sticking with its current six representatives.
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