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By East African Community (EAC)
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ARUSHA, Tanzania, June 6, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- A day after swearing in as Speaker of EALA, Rt. Hon Margaret Zziwa has today taken over office. Rt. Hon Zziwa was handed over the tools of the office by the former EALA Speaker (Emeritus), Rt. Hon Abdirahin Abdi in a brief ceremony.

Rt Hon Zziwa lauded the outgoing Speaker for his stewardship of the 2nd Assembly and for delivering the reins to the 3rd Assembly.

'I appreciate Rt. Hon Abdi for the guidance and for taking the 2nd Assembly a notch higher. I note that under Rt. Hon Abdi, the Assembly realised tremendous progress and achievements. In the same vein, I laud the Clerk of EALA and staff for a job well done', Rt.Hon Zziwa remarked.

The Speaker indicated her desire to see a more unified region and remarked that her tenure would be guided by team-work and consultation. She further hailed members of the media for supporting the integration process and reiterated the need for enhanced publicity of the Community.

On his part, Rt. Hon Abdi congratulated Rt. Hon Zziwa for assuming office noting that the 2nd Assembly had left a foundation for the 3rd EALA to build on.

'I wish you Madam Speaker all the best and I am sure you are up to the task', Rt. Hon Abdi said.

Rt. Hon Abdi later presented to the in-coming Speaker the mace and a series of publications which he termed vital instruments for the Speakership. The publications included the Treaty for the EAC, the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly and a special Handbook of the Achievements of the Assembly.

The third East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) yesterday elected Rt Hon. Margaret Nantongo Zziwa its first female Speaker. Rt. Hon Zziwa polled 33 votes against Hon Dora Byamukama's 12 votes in the second round of the poll. All Members likewise took their oath.

Present to witness the occasion was the Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga, ODM Chief Whip in Kenya, Hon Jakoyo Midiwo and a number of Parliamentarians from the Partner States. Also in attendance was the former first lady of the United Republic of Tanzania, Lady Maria Nyerere.