EALA 2nd Meeting of 4th Session gets underway virtually
…two key Bills, several reports on the menu
East African Legislative Assembly, Arusha, January 29th 2021: Fresh from the passage of the EAC Budget 2020/2021 at a Special Sitting held on January 27th, 2021, the regional Assembly has commenced its Second Meeting of the Forth Session via virtual means. The Session which got underway on January 28th, 2021, with a meeting of the EALA Commission, runs until February 17th, 2021.
Key highlights of the plenary that is presided over by the EALA Speaker, Rt Hon Ngoga Karoli Martin, is a report of the Assembly assessing the implementation of the Report of the Committee on Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution on progress made by the Community towards achieving the EAC Confederation constitution and the EAC Election Observer Missions. The Report is pertinent given the integration journey towards attainment of the last pillar of integration, the EAC Political (Con) Federation.
Similarly, on top billing at the session, is the debate and possible enactment of the EAC Integrity and Anti-Corruption Bill, 2019. The Bill envisages the promotion of good governance, transparency and accountability in the EAC Organs and Institutions.
The object of the Bill is to promote integrity and ethical values within the Organs and Institutions of the Community; to strengthen the legal framework for preventing and combating corruption in the Community and to provide for co-operation by the national anti-corruption agencies in preventing and combating corruption and related matters. The Bill further iterates corruption and corrupt practices as vices that undermine effective and efficient utilization of the resources available to the Organs and Institutions of the Community and practices that derail the Community from deepening and widening integration. It is on this score that, the Bill is been proposed to strengthen the legal framework for preventing and combating fraud and corruption within the Organs and Institutions of the EAC.
The EAC Integrity and Anti-Corruption Bill, 2019, which sailed through the first reading in February 2019, is in line with Article 6 (d) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. The Article states that “the fundamental principles that shall govern the achievement of the objectives of the Community by the Partner States shall include: good governance, including adherence to the principles of democracy, the rule of law, accountability, transparency, social justice, equal opportunities, gender equality, as well as the recognition, promotion and protection of human and people’s rights in accordance with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ rights”.
Presently, the frameworks that exist to prevent corruption within the Organs and Institutions of the Community are the EAC Staff Rules and Regulations and the EAC Anti-Corruption Policy 2006. According to the mover of the Bill, Hon Victor Burikukiye, there is need to have deterrent sanctions that prevent persons in the service of the Community from engaging in the vice. The proposed Bill among other things, specifies the ethical conduct required of persons in service in the Community, defines the specific acts and practices of corruption and make such triable in appropriate courts in Partner States.
Another key Bill coming on the floor at the Session is the East African Community Livestock Bill, 2021, which is seen as a critical shot in the arm for livestock stakeholders. The Bill sponsored by Hon Dr Woda Jeremiah Odok, comes up for the 1st Reading. The object of the EAC Livestock Bill, 2021, is to provide for coordinated identification, characterization, mapping and enumeration of livestock within the Community. The Bill further seeks to strengthen the detection, prevention and control of transboundary animal diseases and zoonotic diseases as well as to regulate cross-border movement of livestock and to provide for the conservation and promotion of indigenous livestock. Another merit of the Bill, concerns the establishment of a Community Livestock Fund and related matters.
The Bill is anchored on the co-operation of the Partner States in livestock sector as enshrined in Articles 105, 107 and 108 of the Treaty and expounded by the Council through several policies. The policies hereunder include the EAC Livestock Policy, 2014, the EAC Regional Strategy on Prevention and Control of Transboundary Animal and Zoonotic Diseases and the EAC Plan of Action for Enhancing Resilience of Pastoralists in the Drylands of EAC 2015-2020.
In addition, a Report of the Committee on General Purpose, arising out of a Stakeholders’ review of the EAC Sexual Reproductive Health Rights Bill, 2017, is also to be presented and debated at this sitting. In January 2020, a meeting with various stakeholders held by the Committee on General Purpose in Bujumbura, Burundi, under the (then) Chair of Hon Abdikadir Omar Aden, sought to enrich the EAC Sexual Reproductive Health Rights Bill, 2017. The Bill, which is currently before the House, is expected to be withdrawn and a new one re-introduced at a later stage.
Other key highlights of the 3-week sitting include a Report of the Committee on Agriculture, Tourism and Natural Resources on the on-spot assessment of the activities of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission. A number of Motions and Resolutions are also expected to be tabled and or/debated at the sitting.
All six standing Committees of the House are also to meet this week to fine-tune various reports currently within their ambit in readiness for consideration by the Assembly.
For more information, contact
Mr Charles Kadonya,
East African Legislative Assembly.
About the East African Legislative Assembly
The East African Legislative Assembly is the Legislative Organ of the East African Community. Its Membership consists of a total of 62, of whom 54 are elected Members (9 from each Partner State) and eight ex-officio members (the Ministers responsible for EAC Affairs from the Partner States, the Secretary General of the Community and the Counsel to the Community).
The East African Legislative Assembly has legislative functions as well as oversight of all East African Community matters. The enactment of legislation of the Community is put in effect by means of Bills passed by the Assembly and assented to by the Heads of State, and every Bill that has been duly passed and assented to become an Act of the Community and takes precedent over similar legislations in the Partner States. EALA has to date passed over 80 pieces of legislation.