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Dispute rocks search for EALA clerks

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Dispute rocks search for EALA clerks


East Africa Business Council chief executive Peter Mathuki during a past briefing in Nairobi. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA

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Summary

  • The controversy over the appointment of clerks at the regional parliament has forced the East African Community (EAC) secretariat to postpone job interviews that were to start this week.
  • The interviews for the clerks of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) were set to commence from October 18 to November 2, however, Uganda has opposed the process creating a quorum hitch resulting in the postponement.

The controversy over the appointment of clerks at the regional parliament has forced the East African Community (EAC) secretariat to postpone job interviews that were to start this week.

The interviews for the clerks of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) were set to commence from October 18 to November 2, however, Uganda has opposed the process creating a quorum hitch resulting in the postponement.

The EAC secretariat initiated the recruitment process by advertising the vacant positions with more than 15,000 applications received from all the six-member states of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. There are more than 60 vacant positions but the ones for clerks of EALA have generated more interest.

The EAC said the secretariat had made all the arrangements for the shortlisted candidates to participate in the interviews through the video conferencing facilities at the ministries of EAC Affairs in the partner states to fill the positions.

“The interviews could not commence as scheduled due to [a lack] of quorum. The interviews have, therefore, been postponed to a later date that will be communicated accordingly,” said the EAC in a statement.

For the quorum to be attained, there is a need for all member states to participate in any of the activities involving the EAC.

On Monday, Ugandan minister for East African Affairs Rebecca Kadaga accused the EAC secretary-general Peter Mathuki of taking sides in decision-making.

“The secretary-general is an employee of the partner states and cannot take decisions on their behalf or even take a position,” said Ms Kadaga in a letter to Mr Mathuki.

Uganda wants the EAC to make public the quotas that each country has in terms of employment, which will inform how the slots should be distributed.

“I, therefore, reiterate my country’s position that there should be no interviews conducted unless and until all partner states have been given information about its quota,” she said.

The EALA has not had substantive clerks for some time. The current holders of the position have six-month non-renewable contracts pending appointments. The advertisement sought a candidate who once served as a deputy clerk, consequently favouring a Ugandan applicant who was formerly a deputy clerk.

But the panel, comprising clerks of the national assemblies from each partner state, perhaps avoiding past staff of the EAC, settled for a candidate from Tanzania. This did not go down well with the Ugandan MPs who filed a minority motion to express their displeasure.

The rules and regulations require that the recruitment be done in a quota system to reflect the equal representation of partner states.



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