Fifth Meeting - Fourth Session - Third Assembly
Ladies & Gentlemen of the Press
EALA hereby notifies you of the commencement of the 5th Meeting of the 4th Session of the 3rd East African Legislative Assembly which takes place here in Dar es Salaam beginning today.
I wish to congratulate and thank H.E. Dr John Pombe Magufuli and the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania for the support rendered to the Assembly in making the Plenary Sitting possible. I also thank His Excellency for graciously delegating the Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, Rt Hon. Kassim Majaliwa, to deliver the State of the Community Address to EALA at the Special Sitting tomorrow.
I also extend my gratitude to the Speaker of the Parliament of Tanzania, Rt Hon. Job Ndugai for extending use of the Parliament of Tanzania’s attendant facilities to EALA during the period of the Plenary.
This is the second time that the 3rd Assembly is sitting in Dar es Salaam as part of the principle of rotation.
Notable business for consideration during the two week session include:
- The official opening and State of EAC Address by the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Kassim Majaliwa. The State of EAC Address is delivered annually and it espouses on the policies of the Community thus giving Organs and Institutions impetus and drive to strengthen integration.
- The consideration, debate and approval of various Reports of Committees of EALA.
- Debate on the EAC Disaster Risk Reduction Bill, 2012, which is a fundamental piece of legislation providing a regional framework for timely intervention in protecting people and the natural environment through comprehensive disaster risk reduction and management.
- Debate and possible enactment of the EAC Bill on Persons with Disabilities, 2015 and that of the EAC Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2016.
- Consider the petitions before the Assembly. We have received Petition from the Albinism Society and we shall look into their prayers just like we have done before for other petitions presented to the Assembly.
In 2015, we as an Assembly realized tremendous progress passing a total of 9 Bills, 13 Resolutions and 24 Reports. We are determined to further improve on our rating this year. Last week, the Summit of EAC Heads of State made far reaching pronouncements, which are very positive for the EAC integration.
One such initiative concerns that of promoting cotton, textile, apparel and leather industries in the region which shall spur the local industries and promote trade. In the long run, this shall contribute to significantly reducing poverty in our region.
Another initiative, of immense gain, is the launch of the International East African e-Passport which takes effect in January next year. It envisages the phase out of EAC and National Passports by December 2018. It thus means that as East Africans, we shall begin to see freer and easier movement and this is an important development.
It is absolutely necessary that we make mobile telephony services cheaper and convenient. We appeal to the Council of Ministers to move with haste and to finalise the framework for harmonised roaming charges including removal of surcharges for international telecommunications originating and terminating within the EAC. This shall be extremely good for the Business Community and the citizens.
At this juncture, let me also congratulate the Summit following the admission of Republic of South Sudan to the EAC Community which shall both strengthen and enlarge the EAC bloc. The EAC shall now have a wider geographical area just shy of India and a combined population of about 170 million citizens. The economic potential of the region is expected to be enormous and competitive.
On matters of democratization, I commend the people of the Republic of Uganda for turning out and peacefully participating in the electoral process during the Presidential and Parliamentary elections held on February 18th, 2016.
I wish to commend also the Republic of Rwanda for holding successful referendum in December 2015.
I similarly extend the Assembly's commendations to the United Republic of Tanzania following their successful Presidential and Parliamentary elections on 25th October 2015. I appeal for tranquil and peace during the forthcoming elections scheduled for the isles of Zanzibar on March 20th, 2016.
EALA held a successful 9th Inter-Parliamentary Relations Seminar, (Nanyuki Series) on Friday here in Dar es Salaam, where among other resolutions, participants urged EAC Governments to capacitate Electoral Management Bodies in the Partner States with adequate human and financial resources for them to manage and deliver credible electoral processes and outcomes. At the same time, participants urged Partner States to effect mechanisms to ensure that elections are not drivers of violence but the basis for accountable governance and sustainable peace.
Finally, I invite East Africans of all walks of life to closely monitor the proceedings of the Assembly closely during the period.
I thank you all for your kind attention.