East African Legislative Assembly members have undergone a two-day induction process to re-orient on the procedures and modalities of work at the Assembly.
The two day induction exercise administered by the Institute of Regional Integration and Development (IRID) reiterated the strengthening the Assembly as it carries out its mandate in the integration dispensation.
The Speaker of EALA, Margaret Nantongo Zziwa opened the induction exercise. In her remarks, Zziwa re-stated that EALA would continue in its quest to enact relevant legislation supporting the EAC.
“We need to consolidate and solidify on what we have in place- that is the Customs Union and the Common Market as we move towards the Monetary Union and the Political Federation. This calls on the Assembly to engage across board with various stakeholders in order to effectively legislate”, Zziwa noted.
In his presentation, the former Attorney General of Kenya, Amos Wako noted that the region was inter-connected through cultural and historical ties and remarked it was necessary for EAC to strengthen the ties.
Wako however noted a number of impediments which he said, hampered integration. The former AG cited national prejudices, suspicion and fear of ceding sovereignty as some of the barriers to full integration.
He presented a historical narrative of the defunct EAC and remarked that the collapse of the first EAC was necessitated by differences in political ideologies.
Wako said that the EAC was one of the pillars of a united continental bloc. “We look forward to a time when all the regional economic blocs can emerge to be the United States of Africa”, he said.
The Director of the Institute of Regional Integration Development (IRID), Dr. Wanyama Masinde stated that it was imperative for the Partner States to cede some sovereignty and powers to the super-state.
The Secretary General of the EAC Dr. Richard Sezibera on his part informed the meeting that the Community was considering the expansion of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) to include Rwanda and Burundi. At the moment, LVBC is constituted by the three original Partner States.
The Deputy Secretary General Dr. Enos Bukuku called for inculcation of an East African identity noting it was one of the ways to popularize the Community. ‘We must enhance the social and cultural values that bring us together’, he said. He called on the Partner States to greatly invest in the youth.
Dr. Bukuku termed the recent signing of the single customs territory a landmark for the region.
The Speaker Emeritus Abdirahin Abdi presented the experiences of the second Assembly to the Members. He noted that the mandate of legislation, oversight and representation needed to be jealously guarded.
The tenure of the 2nd Assembly, Abdi said was progressive with the passage of 36 pieces of legislation and over 30 Resolutions. He urged the 3rd Assembly to consolidate on the gains made by the 2nd Assembly.
Source The New Vision