Burundi President officially opens the 3rd Meeting of the 1st Session of the 5th EALA in Bujumbura
East African Legislative Assembly, Arusha, Tanzania, 29th March, 2023: The Heads of the East African Community (EAC) Organs and Institutions must work hard to address factors that limit or constrain the construction of a larger EAC internal market in order to increase its share in global trade and economy.
This was said by His Excellency Evariste Ndayishimiye, the President of the Republic of Burundi and Chairperson, EAC Heads of Summit, while presiding over the official opening of the 3rd Meeting of the 1st Session of the 5th East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) at the National Assembly Buildings in Bujumbura, Burundi.
The Chairperson of the Summit called for the full facilitation of the EALA, the elected representative body of the Community, to fully play its oversight mandate. He added that the EAC Council of Ministers should find requisite resources to fund the committees of the Assembly to undertake their oversight, outreach and even sensitization activities effectively.
While taking note of the low rated visibility of the EAC in the region, the Head of State tasked Members of the EALA to take time to sensitize East Africans, members of the private sector and the civil society regarding the achievements that have so far been made towards achieving the pillars of integration which are the Customs Union, Common Market, the Monetary Union and other steps that will be undertaken to attain political federation.
On his part, the Speaker of the EALA, Rt. Hon. Joseph Ntakirutimana, acknowledged the role being played by Burundi through the leadership of His Excellency President Ndayishimiye in promoting peace in the region. The Speaker lauded the President for the strong leading role that the Republic of Burundi has continued to play in supporting peace missions on the continent, particularly in Somalia, Central African Republic and the DRC. He also recognized his role and the efforts he has put in place, as the Chairperson of the EAC Summit, in supporting the AU- mandated Nairobi peace process in restoring peace in DRC. The Speaker encouraged the Summit Head to continue to seek a permanent solution to the conflict in DRC.
The gathering was also addressed by the Chairperson, Council of Ministers, Hon. Amb. Ezechiel Nibigira. The Minister thanked the Speaker of EALA for choosing Bujumbura as the location to host the 3rd Meeting of the 1st Session of the 5th Assembly, the first meeting of the Assembly since the inauguration in December, 2022. He termed the move as a good opportunity for the citizens of Burundi to learn more about the Community.
The Speaker of the National Assembly of Burundi, Rt. Hon. Gelase Daniel Ndabirabe, thanked the Speaker of EALA for the cordial relationship that the two institutions have continued to enjoy. He promised that during his tenure, he would collaborate with EALA to ensure that the pillars of integration in unlock the great opportunities that exist for the EAC citizens.
Since its inauguration, the 5th Assembly has been impressing upon the EAC Council of Ministers to fully implement the Administrative of EALA Act, 2012, which grants EALA administrative and financial autonomy, a law which is expected to improve the efficiency of the Assembly in achieving its mandate.
The 5th Assembly has also been requesting the Summit as well as the Council to review the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community, which was published in 2001. The Treaty came into force when the Community constituted of only three Partner States.
A review of the Treaty is necessary to align the document with the growth and changes that have so far taken place in the Community.
Key among amendments of the Treaty being targeted by the Assembly is the full implementation of the directive No.25 of the 15th EAC Heads of State Summit that directed the Council to study modalities of including Kiswahili and French as official languages of the Community. This amendment is expected to improve and ease aspects of communication in the Assembly.
The 5th EALA will be sitting in Bujumbura, Burundi, from 27th March to 7th April, 2023. The EALA plenary and committee meetings will be taking place in the National Assembly of Burundi Chamber. Key among the business to be transacted by the Assembly include: EAC Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2023; the EAC Standardisation, Accreditation and Conformity Assessment Bill, 2023; and various committee reports. The Assembly is expected to wind up its activities after carrying out an on-spot visit to the Gatumba-Burundi/DRC Border to assess various aspects of the EAC Customs Union and Common Market pillars of integration.
The official opening ceremony was graced by the EAC Secretary General, Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mathuki, members of the diplomatic corps representing their countries in Burundi, senior government officials, members of the private sector as well as members of the civil society.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Lumumba Obatre
Clerk to the Assembly
East African Legislative Assembly
About the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA):
The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) is the Legislative Organ of the Community and has a cardinal function to further EAC objectives, through its Legislative, Representative and Oversight mandate. It was established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.
The Assembly has a membership comprising of 63 elected Members (9 from each Partner State), and 9 ex-officio Members consisting of the Minister or Cabinet Secretary responsible for EAC Affairs from each Partner State, the Secretary-General and the Counsel to the Community totalling 72 Members.