East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) member, Ms Dora Byamukama, has apologized to her competitor and eventual winner, Ms Margaret Natongo Zziwa, for the manner in which she conducted herself during the regional Assembly Speaker’s election early this month in Arusha.
The new speaker, Ms Zziwa emerged winner after obtaining 33 votes in the second round against Byamukama’s 12 votes, down from 18 votes she got in the first round. 45 members from the five EAC member countries voted.
A local television station in Uganda quoted the country’s EAC Affairs Minister, Mr Eriya Kategaya describing Byamukama as a “bad mannered girl” who threw a bouquet of flowers on his table in Arusha as a sign of protest for purportedly campaigning for Zziwa against her. She also reportedly refused to give a handshake to Zziwa as a diplomatic gesture of conceding defeat.
“I am a newcomer to the cloak and dagger world of diplomacy. Nonetheless and once again, I apologize for any unfortunate incidents,” Byamukama, a seasoned lawyer, said in her weekly New Vision column published on June 21, 2012. “I must confess that it is extremely hard to keep a straight face as you are being led down a garden path or to put in another way, to maintain a stiff upper lip as you are being drawn and quartered by your very own kith and kin that you trust, professing the same blood as your own.”
She lashed out at those who speculate and build plans on imaginary fallout between her and the new EALA Speaker simply because they both competed for the same position. “I will even go an extra mile and congratulate Hon.Margret Zziwa upon her victory,” she said. Other sources argued that Byamukama, who appeared to be the frontrunner initially, lost because during her tenure as commissioner in EALA many people were not comfortable with her.
By MARK MUGISHA,East African News Agency