ARUSHA, TANZANIA, Martin Ngoga of Rwanda has been elected the new Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) here for a five-year term.

Ngoga garnered 33 votes out of the 36 ballots cast in an election which saw legislators from Tanzania and Burundi boycotting the exercise. Burundi’s candidate for the seat Leontine Nzeyimana won three votes while Adam Kimbisa from Tanzania obtained no vote.

The election of EALA Speaker was delayed on Monday after Tanzania fielded a candidate; a move that was opposed by fellow member States who argued that it was ineligible since Tanzania had held the position before.

However, on Tuesday only 36 out of the 54 legislators were present, with members from Tanzania and Burundi withdrawing from the exercise. The poll then proceeded to the second round since the winner had failed to get the automatic 36 votes representing two-thirds of the Assembly’s 54 members — nine from each of the six member States.

In the repeat vote, Ngoga managed 33 votes while Leontine Nzeyimana garnered three.

The election of the Speaker paves way for the Arusha-based Assembly to commence business which include approving budgets for the legislature of the East African Community (EAC), debating audit reports, performing an oversight function and initiating Bills in the assembly.

Kenya’s nine representatives to the assembly were sworn in on Monday after the Kenyan Parliament finally agreed on the list of nominees last week. They include former Kamukunji Member of Parliament Simon Mbugua, former Nyandarua Women’s representative Wanjiku Muhia, former Mandera North MP Aden Noor, former Tigania East legislator Mpuri Aburi, and Florence Jematia.

The others are former Bondo MP Oburu Odinga, former Balambala MP Abdikadir Aden, Former Wajir Women’s representative Fatma Ali Ibrahim and Kennedy Kalonzo Musyoka, a 30-year-old lawyer.