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EALA approves 2013/14 Annual Report of the Community

EALA yesterday debated and approved the EAC Annual Report 2013/14. The Assembly, meanwhile, urged the Council of Ministers to ensure further improvements in future subsequent reports and in all EAC documents by enhancing overall supervision and quality control. This measure is geared towards sustaining high standards in all outputs of the Community.

The debate was preceded by tabling and debate of the Report of the Committee on General Purpose (GPC) on the EAC Annual Report for 2013/2014. The report of the GPC followed the consideration of the Annual Report for the year 2013/14. The Committee Report presented by the Chairperson of the Committee on General Purpose, Hon. Dr Odette Nyiramilimo urges the Council of Ministers to make follow up on actions with intention to amend, retract or correct identified parts of the Annual Report that may be erroneous.

The Committee on General Purpose further calls for additional details to be included on the status of major Community Projects such as those under Infrastructure Sector. The details should, inter-alia, include updates on status, causes for delay and other challenges realised under the Road network, Railway sector and the EAC Master Plan.

The Committee also observes that the EAC Annual Report 2013/14 contains no section on challenges either than what is mentioned by the Deputy Secretary-General of the EAC in his submission to the Committee.

“As it has been noted in previous reports tabled before the House, there is apparent hesitation to clearly point out challenges in the EAC Annual Report”, Hon. Odette Nyiramilimo noted. Each year, the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers submits an Annual Report on the activities and achievements of the Community to key stakeholders in line with Article 49(2)(c) of the Treaty.

The Annual Report illustrates the accomplishments of the various Organs and Institutions of the Community within their respective mandates and missions. The 2013/4 Report captures the progress made in implementation of various activities including the Protocol on establishment of the East African Monetary Union, operationalisation of the single Customs Territory, Infrastructure development, productive and social sectors and the progress on the internationalisation of the new generation EAC e-Passport.

At debate, Members called on the Council of Ministers to cause for take up more shares in East African Development Bank (EADB).

Hon. Shyrose Bhanji supported the move for Partner States to take more shares in the EADB.

“It is shocking to hear that our partner States have minority shareholding in the Bank. We are supposed to take advantage of the bank. What is the problem? We cannot be seen to transform agriculture which is our backbone through donor funding”, she added.

Hon. Dora Byamukama supported the adoption of the Annual Report but said it was necessary for the Assembly to debate on documents that are current. Others who supported the report were Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, Hon. Nancy Abisai, Hon. Bernard Mulengani, Hon. Straton Ndikuryayo and Hon. Valerie Nyirahabineza.

The Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Hon. Dr Susan Kolimba affirmed that the Council would make every effort to enhance the quality of its Annual Reports.

EALA swears Uganda’s 3rd Deputy Prime Minister in charge of EAC as Ex-Officio Member

EALA has sworn in Rt Hon. Dr Ali Haji Kirunda Kivejinja, the 3rd Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs in the Republic of Uganda, as an Ex-Officio Member. The Oath of Allegiance to the House was administered by the Clerk of EALA, before the EALA Speaker, Rt Hon. Daniel F. Kidega.

Rt Hon. Dr Kivenjinja took the oath in accordance with Rule 5 of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly. The Rules of Procedure say in part that: “No Member can sit or participate in the proceedings of the House until the Oath or Affirmation of Allegiance to the Treaty is taken”.

Rule 5(5) specifically states that “when a Member first attends to take his or her seat other than at the first sitting of a new House, he or she shall be brought to the table by two Members and presented by them to the Speaker who shall then administer the Oath or Affirmation of Allegiance”.

The EAC Treaty under Article 48 provides that the Assistant Minister, Deputy Minister of Minister of State may only participate in the meetings of the Assembly when the substantive Minister responsible for East African Community Affairs is unable to participate.

The 3rd Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for EAC was ushered into the House by Hon. Bernard Mulengani, Hon. Dora Byamukama and Hon. AbuBakr Ogle. Hon. Kivenjinja replaces the late Rt Hon. Eriya Kategaya. He was appointed to cabinet by H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in November 2015.

Hon. Kivejinja has served in several positions in the Government of the Republic of Uganda. In 1986, he was appointed Minister of Relief and Social Rehabilitation. He has also since served as Minister of Internal Affairs. Rt Hon. Dr Kivenjinja, who holds a BSc in Zoology has been Senior Presidential Advisor for Internal Affairs to President Museveni.

Rt Hon. Dr Kivejinja, who has also served as the head of the Veterans’ League of the ruling National Resistance Movement, is also author of Uganda: The Crisis of Confidence, a book about Uganda’s political history. The Minister of State for EAC, Uganda, is Hon. Shem Bageine who according to Article 48 may participate in the Sittings in absence of Rt Hon. Dr Kivenjinja.

EALA calls for Full Implementation of the Common Market Protocol, cites Sensitisation as Key in the Process

The Regional Assembly is urging Partner States to “up their game” in sensitisation activities, particularly when it comes to the Common Market Protocol in order to raise awareness and showcase benefits to the citizens of the region.

At the same time, the EALA wants Partner States to adopt a phased implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol (CMP) by prioritising aspects that carry quick wins or deliver immediate multiplier effects. This move shall endear citizens to take advantage of the benefits that shall accrue from the Common Market Protocol.

The Assembly today debated and adopted the Report of an oversight activity on the Security-related challenges of implementing the Common Market Protocol along the Central Corridor.

The Report presented to the House by the Chair of the Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution Committee, Hon. Abdullah Mwinyi follows the oversight activity undertaken by the Committee in the United Republic of Tanzania in November 2015.

The activity aimed at appreciating first-hand, the existing security-related operational challenges of implementing the Common Market Protocol along the Central Corridor; Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) constraints including numerous police road blocks and check points; and, the ongoing reforms and projects on course to ease cargo transportation in landlocked Partner States of Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.

The objective of the Committee was to comprehend and appreciate the implementation of the Common Market Protocol along the Central Corridor and to ascertain the challenges faced in the implementation.

The Committee held a field trip visiting Dar es Salaam, all through to Vigwaza weigh-bridge and road blocks. It further interacted with various stakeholders including officials of the Ministry of EAC, Ministry of Labour and Employment, and the Tanzania Bureau of Standards. Others included the Business Community, Members of the Tanzania Police Force and the Tanzania Roads Agency officials.

The Committee observed that United Republic of Tanzania had developed a national Common Market Protocol implementation strategy and a national Committee to realise the same. It further strengthened the National Monitoring Committee for Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers and had commenced on the issuance of the machine-readable identification.

The Committee was, nonetheless, informed that implementation of the Common Market Protocol continued to lag behind owing to a number of factors including: Inadequate awareness among Private Sector, implementing agencies and the general public on the provisions and implementation of EAC CMP as well as delays by the Sectoral Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to amend national laws relevant to the said Protocol. In addition, the Committee took cognisance of the funding requirements for smooth implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol.

During debate, Members noted that Partner States should emulate the United Republic of Tanzania to modernise the weigh-bridge technology and scales to ensure enhanced speed and accuracy in weighing process targeting reduction of bribery incidences, fines for overloading and time taken in the weighing process.

At the same time, United Republic of Tanzania should work with other Partner States to re-look on the validity through research the issue of yellow fever cards within the EAC region as an impediment to Free Movement of Persons.

Hon. Bernard Mulengani remarked that it was necessary to also look at security-related matters such as illegal road blocks, arrests and the ever-worrying trend of terrorism gaining entry through the Free Movement of Persons. He further requested the Council of Ministers to clarify on the term foreigner in advent of the Common Market Protocol.

Hon. Valerie Nyirahabineza decried the constant delays by Partner States to amend the national laws to conform to the Common Market Protocol. “Article 47 requires Partner States to align their legislation to CMP. This is vital”, she said. “What happens if the laws in the Partner States are not aligned with that of the EAC? Are we going to continue to benefit from the Protocol?” she asked.

“In the case of the Customs Union, we have a legal framework in the name of the Customs Union Management Act. It is a high time we have a co-ordinating structure to handle this aspect”, she added.

Hon. Shyrose Bhanji said Tanzania had done well with regards to removal of NTBs. One of the major challenges, however, is that of lack of sensitisation to the public, she said.

“This is not only a recurring problem but looks more like a chronic problem”, she said. “We need more sensitisation to the publics to create awareness here in the country. Even EALA Members need to be more involved in-country. This shall enable us also to brief Tanzanians and other East Africans”, she said.

Hon. Makongoro Nyerere, however, said the various weigh-bridges on the Central Corridor continued to delay the speed of movement of goods. “They need to be reduced so that we also spur Free Movement of People from one point to another”, he added.

Hon. Mumbi Ngaru said the Government of Kenya had continued to prioritise sensitisation of its citizens on the EAC. “The Council needs to formulate a policy around sensitisation. This is very key”, she said.

Others who supported the report were Hon. Shyrose Bhanji, Hon. Makongoro Nyerere, Hon. Martin Ngoga and Hon. Ussi Maryam. Hon. Odette Nyiamilimo, Hon. Isabelle Ndahayo, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo and Hon. Taslima Twaha also gave a nod to the report.

EAC to deploy Election Observer Mission in the Republic of Uganda

The East African Community is set to deploy an Election Observer Mission team to General Election taking place on 18th February 2016 in the Republic of Uganda.

A 50 member of Short-Term Election Observer Mission Team which is being led by H.E. Ali Hassan Mwinyi, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania is due to arrive in Kampala, Uganda, on Tuesday 9th February 2016, to observe the General Elections slated for 18th February 2016 in Uganda. The Mission’s mandate is to observe the overall electoral environment, pre-election activities, the polling day, the counting and tallying of results.

The Mission is preceded by a Pre-Elections Assessment Team, which was deployed from 31st January 2016 to assess the level of preparedness by key stakeholders and prepare a report that will inform the Short-Term Election Observation Mission.

The members of the EAC Election Observer Mission has been drawn from different but complementary disciplines and includes: members of the East African Legislative Assembly, delegates from four Partner States (Kenya, United Republic Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi), EAC Youth Ambassadors, Mission Leader, Mission Coordinator, one EAC Executive Staff and technical officers from the Secretariat as well as EALA.

The exclusion of members from the Republic of Uganda is consistent with the adopted practice on the Principles of Election Observation and Evaluation which precludes nationals of the host country from participating as Election Observations in their own countries.

The EAC Observer Mission is a response to the invitation of the Uganda Electoral Commission as well as the decision of the EAC Council of Ministers on observation of elections in the Partner States.

The Mission is expected to prepare a report that will be submitted to, among others, the Electoral Commission of Uganda, through the EAC Council of Ministers for consideration and implementation. The Mission will depart Uganda on 21st February 2016.

EA region to see more Competitive Economies, increased Free Movement of its Citizenry

The EAC Secretary-General, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera, held discussions with TMEA CEO, Mr Frank Matsaert to plan for TMEA’s support for the next phase, 2016-2022.

The meeting took place today at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania, and was attended by Dr Enos Bukuku, EAC Deputy Secretary-General in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, Mr David Stanton, TMEA Director General, and ministerial representatives from the five Partner States.

With the aim of improving the quality of life of East Africans through competitiveness, value-added production, trade and investments, the EAC, through TMEA support, has improved the infrastructure at Mombasa Port; constructed road network between Ntungamo to Mirama Hill in Uganda and Port Reitz to Kipevu West in Kenya; improved on the customs clearance time along the borders and carried out several sensitisation campaigns to small cross border traders on the opportunities and facilities of the Integration Process.

“I wish to express my gratitude to TMEA for supporting the Integration Agenda”, said Dr Sezibera. “As we move more towards monetary and fiscal integration, we need to strengthen institutional capacities, nurture vibrant trade and enhance financial markets within the region”, he said.

Despite the challenges since the re-establishment of the EAC, there is no doubt that Partner States have made considerable progress in their efforts to integrate. Efforts have been made in the harmonisation of policies, while improvements have been made in the areas of trade, macroeconomic policies, infrastructure and ICTs.

The decision by Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, East African Community and Southern African Development Community to establish a single free trade zone for the 26 member countries goes a long way to deepen the integration agenda for the Community.

“We are very keen on continuing supporting the Integration Agenda”, said Mr Matsaert. “With strong commitment and guidance from the Secretary-General and his team, we will be able to carve out key priority activities to carry out in the next phase”, he said.

Congratulations are in order for EALA - the Inter-Parliamentary Soccer Champions

That EALA dethroned four time soccer champions, Parliament of Uganda 4-3 on post-match penalties to win the Inter-Parliamentary Games Football tournament in Kigali, Rwanda, was by all standards a remarkable feat…… It was celebrated.

And on Thursday, EALA passed a Motion for a Resolution hailing Members and Staff for their exemplary performance at the 6th Inter-Parliamentary Games Tournament held in Kigali, Rwanda in December 2015.

The Motion which was moved by Hon. Bernard Mulengani and seconded by Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, lauded the football team for making history.

The Motion recalled that the Inter-Parliamentary Games Tournament have been held six times to date and that it is the first time in the entire history of the Tournament that EALA / EAC wins gold medals and a trophy in football.

It thus congratulated its football team for defeating Parliament of Uganda to be declared the champions. The Assembly further resolved that it would provide time in every Plenary for its Members and Staff to engage in training and friendly matches since the disciplines have increased. In addition, and with additional resources, the teams would be involved in other tournaments besides the Inter-Parliamentary Games as a means of enhancing outreach in the Partner States.

Other Parliaments’ football teams are forewarned… that the Assembly further vowed that its football team would go ahead and win the next two subsequent tournaments so that it retains the trophy for keeps.

The Assembly also hailed the EAC Speakers’ Bureau for budgetary support leading to the introduction of additional sporting disciplines including netball, volleyball, golf, tug of war and athletics, while encouraging the participation of all National Assemblies and Parliaments in all games.

The motion congratulated other teams of EALA for significant improvements in their performance and as well as participation of the National Assemblies which was exhibited with high level of discipline.

The mover hailed the Members for their commitment and noted that some continued with much determination even in the face of injuries.

During debate, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo lauded the EALA Speaker for leadership which ensured a successful tournament with all teams exhibiting competitiveness and discipline.

Hon. Joseph Kiangoi remarked the Games had broadened integration as legislators from the National Parliaments and Assemblies take the message to the different constituencies in the region.

Hon. Odette Nyiramilimo requested the Speaker to consider Members with special needs, saying it was necessary to introduce games that are favourable to them. Others who supported the Motion included Hon. Isabelle Ndahayo, Hon. Frederic Ngenzebuhoro and Hon. Pierre Celestin Rwigema.

The EAC Inter-Parliamentary Games is a key aspect of building relations between the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) and the National Assemblies in the EAC region. Article 119 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community obliges the Partner States to promote close co-operation amongst themselves in culture and sports, with respect to the promotion and enhancement of diverse sports activities among other areas.

At the Games, Parliament of Uganda won the netball trophy while Parliament of Kenya won the men’s volleyball tournament, athletics (men) and the overall trophy in athletics. The women’s volleyball trophy went to Parliament of Rwanda.

EALA adopts report on Youth

The youth of the East African Community yesterday received a boost with regional legislators calling out for their full involvement in integration matters. Central to the plank is a call to amend article 50 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC to create slots for youth in the Assembly even as it reflects fair representation citizens’ diversity. The Assembly also called on all Partner States that are yet to establish National Youth Councils to do so.

The Assembly however states and succinctly so, that lobbying for youth representation at EALA and at National Parliaments / Assemblies should begin at the level of youth organisations’ at the national levels to create the desired reforms.

While still at it, legislators are also advising youth that while their efforts are appreciated, a change of strategy is necessary where they (youth) focus on developing capacities in order to realise aspirations. This is to enable them to register significant gains which lead to gainful recognition they seek at both national and regional levels.

The deliberations sum up the mood of the debate of the Assembly on the Report of the Committee on General Purpose Committee on the petition to advocate for key issues concerning the Youth in the EAC.

The petition was presented to the EALA Speaker by a team of Youth and Deputy Youth Ambassadors appointed during the 3rd EAC University Students debate. The Youth Ambassadors presented the petition in March 2015 in Bujumbura, Burundi. The salient prayers of the petition to EALA include calling for establishment of an EAC Youth Council, and advocacy for the operationalisation of vibrant National Youth Councils. The petitioners also make a strong appeal to the Partner States’ National Assemblies to consider reserving slots for youth representation at the national level.

At debate time, Hon. Mukasa Mbidde called for the amendment of Article 50 of the Treaty specifically to allow for specific slot(s) to be set aside for youth. Hon. Maryam Ussi urged the Secretariat to establish a Youth Desk to handle youth matters that revolve around integration. On her part, Hon. Susan Nakawuki affirmed that currently, youth matters were considered a priority of the 3rd Assembly. She however noted that it was important for the structures of youth participation in politics to be harmonised right from the grassroots level to the national and eventually, regional level. The legislator further called on the United Republic of Tanzania to finalise the establishment of its National Youth Council.

Hon. Shyrose Bhanji said that youth constituted a percentage of over 60% in the region and said there was need for them to be well represented.

She remarked that Republic of Rwanda has a special slot for youth and urged other Partner States to follow suit.

Hon. Peter Mathuki said the region could do more for the youth and said it may be necessary for them to be granted an Observer Status at the EAC.

In her remarks, the Chair of the Council of Ministers, Dr Susan A. Kolimba lauded the petitioners (East African Community Youth Ambassadors) and re-affirmed that the Council of Ministers was committed to addressing matters facing the youth.

The Chair of Council of Ministers remarked that Regional Youth Councils were greatly dependent on the vibrancy of the National Youth Councils.

“Some of the National Youth Councils are not as vibrant as they ought to be in representing and lobbying for youth Affairs”, Hon. Dr Kolimba said.

The Deputy Minister said Parliament of Tanzania had last year passed a law on EAC Youth Council Act, 2015 paving way for the establishment of the EAC Youth Council once the regulations are completed and in place.

The Minister added that a framework for the establishment of the Regional Youth Council is in the process of development and the first meeting of experts to discuss the framework will be convened in the next financial year 2016/17.

Hon. Dr Kolimba said that the Children and Youth position at the EAC Secretariat as recommended at the 18th Council of Ministers’ meeting was still pending.

Let us streamline acquisition of Work and Residence Permits - EALA

The Assembly is calling on the Partner States to commence the process of uniformly abolishing work and residence permit fees as well as in the facilitation of portability of social benefits. In the same vein, the Assembly is set to work jointly with regional advocacy bodies to engage in sensitisation and popularisation of the Common Market Protocol among other related issues.

Late yesterday, the Assembly debated and adopted the Report of the Committee on General Purpose on the petition to EALA regarding work/residence permits in the EAC for the citizens of the Partner States.

The Report presented by Hon. Dr Odette Nyiramilimo, Chair of the Committee indicates that a number of areas of co-operation and implementation of the Common Market Protocol remain in the remit of individual Partner States and thus, calls for advocacy to enable harmonisation at the regional level. The Committee further observes that the issue of portability of social benefits is key and undertakes to continue work with the East African Trade Union Confederation (EATUC) and the East African Employers Organisation (EAEO), who are drafting a Bill on the same.

The issue of portability of social benefits is already been discussed bilaterally among some Partner States. In addition, EALA is to formalise its engagement with the East African Business Council and other private sector players in the region. The Council is further requested to continuously develop interventions to enhance the business environment in the region and fast track development of policies and strategies on key issues to enhance implementation.

The said petition was presented to the EALA Speaker, Rt Hon. Daniel Fred Kidega by the East African Trade Union Confederation and the East African Employers Association in March 2015. The EATUC/EAEO has made 17 prayers in their request. Such include the harmonisation of the standards and processes of acquiring permits as well as the future amendment of Annex 2 of the Common Market Protocol to review the roadmap for free movement of workers given the fact that the current one ended in 2015.

The annex according to the petitioners should put in place a roadmap for the gradual implementation of free labour mobility which eventually comprises all sectors and all categories of blue and white collar workers. Furthermore, the petitioners want the new revised annex to put in place a tripartite mechanism (Employers, Trade Unions and Government) at the EAC level and should be administered at national level through the tripartite fora. The petitioners also want the standardisation of the process of the work permits and the eventual removal of the permits.

At debate time, Hon. Martin Ngoga called for the harmonisation of the procedures of acquiring permits while Hon. Susan Nakawuki said Partner States should not be seen to be introducing barriers that hamper process of acquisition of the permits. Hon. Dr James Ndahiro remarked that though the Common Market Protocol had many benefits, citizens of the region continued to face a myriad of challenges. He remarked that it was necessary for EAC Partner States to prioritise integration.

“Integration seems to be taking second place in some of our Partner States. We need to prioritise it so we do not waste the meagre resources”, the legislator remarked.

Hon. Dora Byamukama congratulated the Secretary-General of the Community for introducing the EAC Scorecard on the Common Market Protocol remarking that it enabled the region to take stock of the on-going developments. The legislator called for the speedy harmonisation of the student visa fees across board as a way of introducing equal opportunities.

Hon. Christophe Bazivamo remarked that in the Republic of Rwanda, it took 3 days to process and issue a permit and about 12 hours to register a company. Furthermore, the work permit fees for East Africans has been abolished.

“If the costs of issuing permits is high, it is not developmental. It stops people from coming to work, to invest and to develop”, he added. Hon. Abdullah Mwinyi urged the Partner States to adhere to the Protocol and to the principle of non-discrimination of EAC citizens when it comes to enjoying privileges.

On his part, Hon. Chris Opoka said it was vital for Partner States to analyse the percentage of revenues earned from work permits vis-a-vis what investment realised from the opportunities created would bring. It costs USD 3000 for a work permit in some of the Partner States which is high compared to say USD 155 in a developed country like Canada”, he said. “If it is about revenue, we can earn much more if people work and they get taxed”, he added.

Hon. Shyrose Bhanji urged the Partner States to take advantage of opportunities of the Common Market Protocol. “I wonder how many Tanzanians, for example, have taken advantage of the opportunities to teach the Kiswahili language in the Partner States”, she said.

“We should popularise, disseminate and educate people on the Common Market Protocol so that more and more people embrace the labour mobility”, she added. The legislator thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta who in 2014, invited the entire EALA to visit the Republic of Kenya to undertake a sensitisation tour.

Others who supported the report were Hon. Valerie Nyirahabineza, Hon. Peter Mathuki, Hon. Bernard Mulengani and Hon. Nancy Abisai. The Minister for EAC, Uganda, Hon. Shem Bageine said the Council was committed to addressing all outstanding issues with regards to the Common Market Protocol and said Partner States had identified laws in the Partner States which need to comply to the EAC Laws. Hon. Phyllis Kandie, Cabinet Secretary for Labour, Social Benefits and EAC Affairs, Republic of Kenya said her country was committed to fully implementing the Protocol. Similar sentiments were shared by the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Hon. Dr Susan Kolimba.

EAEO, with a potential outreach of over 8500 companies and business entities, has also 100 associations and affiliates while the EATUC represents more than 2.5 million workers organised in unions affiliated to the national trade union centres, the regional apex bodies for employers’ organisations and national trade union centres across the EAC.

EAC to benefit from USAID Regional Strategic Plan 2016-2022

Ms Candace Buzzard, the new Deputy Mission Director of Kenya and East Africa for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) paid a courtesy visit to EAC‘s Secretary-General, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera at the EAC Headquarters. She was accompanied by Mr Matt Rees, Deputy for Trade Africa, Mr Donald Keene, Resident Legal Officer and Ms Cristina Olive, Office Director, Strategic Planning and Analysis.

In receiving the Deputy Mission Director, Dr Sezibera thanked USAID for its continued support and strong partnership. Reiterating on the importance of regional integration as a means to access regional markets and gain competition advantages in efficiency and productivity outputs, Dr Sezibera said, “these elements can only be realised by having no restrictions on the movement of goods, services, labour and capital within the East Africa“.

The visit constituted of a presentation of the draft USAID Regional Strategic Plan 2016-2022 to the Secretary-General, and dialogue on ways in which the two organisations can align their key priorities for the next five years.

USAID’s five-year strategic plan will focus on increased trade, investment and food security; health services and systems for marginalised and vulnerable populations; increased security of populations vulnerable to regional threats; and, strengthening East African institutions’ leadership and learning.

Ms Buzzard acknowledged the efforts that the Community has made for some of the region‘s most remote regions to access trade, adding that “this has not only promoted prosperity in those regions, but has also delivered better livelihoods to their communities, thus putting EAC in the forefront as a model for Integration“.

Debate on Disaster Risk Reduction Bill now scheduled for March 2016

Debate on the EAC Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Bill 2013 shall now be prioritised during the next Plenary in March 2016. The move follows the adjournment of debate on the Bill occasioned by a Motion moved yesterday by the Chair of the Council of Ministers, Hon. Dr Susan A. Kolimba. The Motion however sailed through after further amendment tabled by Chair of the Regional Affairs and Resolution Committee, Hon. Abdullah Mwinyi.

Moving the substantive motion, the Chair of Council of Ministers indicated that more time was necessary to conclude consultations on the Bill vis-a-vis the relevant provisions of the EAC Treaty and the Protocol on Peace and Security and requested the House for debate to be pushed until August 2016.

“Clearly, the nature of the Bill needs handling at a technical level by the relevant Sectoral Councils under the guidance of the Sectoral Council on Environment and Natural Resources, which is yet to conclude its policy input on this matter”, the Chair of Council said.

“Since 2013, consultations have been going on relating to the Bill. The 2nd Extraordinary Sectoral Council on Environment and Natural Resources held on 12th March 2015 considered the Bill and directed the EAC Secretariat to a technical paper on an appropriate institutional arrangement for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management by April 2015 and share the technical paper with Partner States for comments”, Hon. Dr Kolimba said.

“Furthermore, the Council directed Partner States to submit their comments on the technical paper on an appropriate institutional arrangement on EAC Disaster Risk Reduction and Management by 15th May 2015,” the Minister added.

She noted that the Council of Ministers would be ready to bring its input into the Bill in August 2016.

However, majority of Members while opposing the Motion cited the urgent need to dispose off with the Bill, stating, that disasters did not wait for time.

“We must be seen to be addressing the plight of the people and urgently so”, Hon. Mike Sebalu remarked. Hon. Abubakar Zein called for the fast tracking of the remaining stages necessary to pass the Bill, while Hon. AbuBakr Ogle said the Bill had been on the cards for far too long. Hon. Dora Byamukama said the Summit of EAC Heads of State were on record and had given directive of the need to pass the Bill and that of Cross-Border Legal Practice.

“Let us not belabour disaster risks yet the public hearings were completed sometime back”, Hon. Judith Pareno said. Hon. Patricia Hajabakiga, the original mover of the Bill gave a background of its genesis and termed its enactment as long overdue. Others who contributed to the debate included Hon. Shyrose Bhanji who said it was important for Partner States to make their input to facilitate ownership whence passed, Hon. Mumbi Ngaru and Hon. Ussi Maryam.

Hon. Abdullah Mwinyi then rose to move an amendment to the Motion under Rule 30(a) of the Rules of Procedure to provide for adjournment until March 2016 at the next Plenary Sitting. The amendment was seconded by Hon. Martin Ngoga, Hon. Adam Kimbisa and Hon. Chris Opoka.

The Objective of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Bill, 2013 is to provide a legal framework at regional and national level for timely intervention in disaster situations and to protect the people and the natural environment affected by disaster through comprehensive disaster risk reduction and management.

The Bill which was due for the 3rd reading at the 4th meeting of the 2nd Session in Kampala, Uganda in January 2014, but was yet adjourned at the request by the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers.

As per the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly, after its first Reading, the Bill was referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Tourism and Natural Resources for scrutiny. The Committee subsequently scheduled public hearings on the Bill in the EAC Partner States in order to enlist more holistic views from the stakeholders of the Bill.

In December 2010, EALA Committee on Agriculture Tourism and Natural Resources held key discussions with a delegation from the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).

The meeting was called to raise awareness within the legislature on the importance of disaster risk reduction as an instrument for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. EALA and UNISDR further agreed to collaborate to develop a model legislation which can be used to support the efforts of the EAC Partner States in building disaster resilience in East Africa.


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