NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 15 – The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) is scheduled to hold a two-week sitting in Nairobi beginning Monday.
The session will discuss crucial legislative business to the East African Community integration dispensation. Members will also interact and share experiences with the Kenyan Parliament, leaders and the general public.
“This third meeting expects to debate on the reports of the various Committees of EALA, pose questions to the Council of Ministers and move bills and resolutions key to the integration process,” a statement from EALA said.
EALA members will also undertake onsite visits to institutions of the EAC as part of their oversight activities.
“As part of the initiative to network with the National Assemblies in the Partner States, EALA shall on the sidelines, further, engage Kenyan parliamentarians in an interactive seminar and hold a workshop on parliamentary practices,” the statement further said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to address a special EALA sitting on Tuesday.
EALA is the legislative organ of the East African Community.
It has legislative functions as well as oversight of all East African Community matters. It launched its strategic plan in 2012 which is expected to go a long way in firmly entrenching EALA as the epitome of the Community’s democracy and unity.
The meeting comes amid frosty relations after Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete complained of being sidelined by the so called ‘ coalition of the willing’ which comprises Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.
President Kikwete’s claims comes after Presidents Kenyatta, Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame and Salva Kiir held a series of meetings this year, the latest being October 28 in Kigali where they discussed and agreed to start implementing several issues including infrastructure projects, the political federation and the single customs territory.
The four leaders signed a host of protocols and agreements in Kigali, including free movement of goods and persons, infrastructural development and transformation into a single customs union.
The pacts were signed on the sidelines of the three-day Transform Africa summit to which Tanzania’s Kikwete affirmed that he and his Burundi counterpart Pierre Nkurunziza were never invited to.
“They call the tripartite ‘the coalition of the willing’. My question is ‘who, then, is not the willing in the EAC integration process?’ Why don’t they invite us to see if we are willing or not?” Kikwete posed two weeks ago during his address to the Tanzanian Parliament.
He said he was asking himself countless questions on why Tanzania is being sidelined.
“Is there a conspiracy to push Tanzania out of the EAC? Is it that my counterparts from Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda hate me personally? It is difficult to even imagine the answers,” President Kikwete posed.
“I might be wrong, but my guess is that we are being sidelined because we insist that we should not jump key integration steps such as the Monetary Union for the political federation. But in this and all other issues we have the EAC Protocol to back us,” he noted.