EAST AFRICAN LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

 

From its inauguration on 30 November 2001 until it was dissolved in November 2006, and the swearing in of the Second EALA on 5th June 2007 to date, the EALA successfully established itself into a strong and effective regional legislature and registered a number of achievements. The presentation of these achievements is outlined here below around the mandate and functions of the Assembly through legislation, oversight, and through membership to and participation in activities of other bodies.



1.     Legislative Function


As the legislative organ of the East African Community the core mandate of the Assembly is to legislate on all matters relating to the operationalisation of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.


(a)     Laws Enacted


In pursuance of this function, the First EALA enacted the following laws during its term in office:



i.            The Community Emblems Act (No.1) 2004.

ii.            The East African Legislative Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act (No.2), 2004.

iii.            The East African Community (Appropriation) Act (No.3) 2004

iv.            The East African Community Supplementary Appropriation Act, 2005

v.            The Acts of the East African Community Act (No.5), 2004.

vi.            The Laws of the Community (Interpretation) Act (No.6) 2004.

vii.            The East African Community Customs Management Act (No.1), 2005.

viii.            The East African Community Competition Act, 2006.

ix.            The East African Community Standardization, Quality Assurance, Metrology, and Testing Bill, 2006

x.            The East African Community (Appropriation) Bill, 2006

xi.            The East African Community Competition Act, 2006

xii.            The Lake Victoria Transport Management Act, 2007

xiii.            The Summit (Delegation of Powers and Functions) Act, 2007

xiv.            The East African Community Joint Trade Negotiations Act, 2008

xv.            The Inter- University Council for East Africa Act, 2008

xvi.            The East African Community Budget Act, 2008

xvii.            The EAC Emblems ( Amendment) Act, 2008

xviii.            The EAC Customs (Amendment) Act, 2008

xix.            The Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight (CASSOA) Act, 2009



The Assembly also debated and approved the EAC Budgets for the Financial years 2002/2003; 2003/2004; 2004/2005; 2005/2006; 2006/2007; 2007/2008; 2008/2009; and 2009/2010



(b)     Private Members’ Bills



The EALA published and introduced in the House the following Private Members’ Bills:



i.                The East African Joint Trade Negotiations Bill, 2003

ii.                The Inter-University Council for East Africa Bill, 2004

iii.               The East African Community Immunities and Privileges Bill

iv.               The East African Community Budget Bill, 2004

v.                The East African Community Wildlife and Tourism Bill, 2008

vi.                The East African Community Election Bill, 2008





2.     OVERSIGHT FUNCTION

The EALA effectively exercised its oversight role through the following activities:


(a)     Questions for Oral Answers



Rule 17 of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly provides for EALA priority questions to the Council of Ministers relating to matters of the Community. The EALA has asked a total of fifty priority questions on the implementation of the Treaty, which were duly answered by the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers.



(b)     Resolutions



The EALA adopted the following resolutions for implementation by the Council of Ministers:-



Ø      A Resolution seeking to establish practical working relations between the Secretariat, the Assembly and the Court, adopted in February 2003 in pursuance of Article 14 (3) and Article 66 of the Treaty

Ø      A Resolution seeking the appointment of an East African Peace Committee for Uganda with the mandate to bring to an end the violence in Northern Uganda in May 2003, in pursuance of Articles 123 and 124 of the Treaty


Ø      A Resolution seeking to enforce the directive of the Summit to the effect that in matters pertaining to participation in WTO and ACP/EU, the EAC Partner States should negotiate as a Bloc, adopted in May 2003 in line with Article 74 of the Treaty

Ø      A Resolution to urge organs of the EAC to work towards the realization of the objectives and goals of co-operation, adopted in January 2002

Ø      A Resolution of the Assembly to urge the Summit to appoint the President and other Judges of the East African Court of Justice and to determine their comprehensive Terms And Conditions  of  Service.

Ø      A Resolution of the Assembly to urge the EAC Council of Ministers to upgrade the positions of the Counsel to the Community, the Clerk of the Assembly and    the Registrar of the East African Court of Justice to executive level positions in the structure of the EAC.

Ø      A Resolution of the Assembly Urging EAC Partner States to Ratify the Resolution of the Un General Assembly on the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities

Ø      A Resolution of the Assembly Urging the Partner States to Develop a Joint          Policy to Protect the Environment.

Ø      A Resolution of the Assembly Urging the EAC Heads of State Summit, through the Council of Ministers, to adopt a Common Position on ICTR Completion and Attendant Issues.

Ø      A Resolution of the Assembly to appoint a Select Committee to investigate the Circumstances under which the 4th session of the 2nd Assembly was suspended and the trend of the Financial Remittances from Partner States to EAC for the Financial Years 2007/2008 and 2008/2009.

Ø      A Motion of the Assembly Congratulating President Barack Hussein Obama on His Election as the 44th President of the United States of America and urging     Him to foster closer Economic and Political relationship with East Africa.

Ø      A Motion  of the Assembly urging the EAC Heads of State Summit, through the Council of Ministers, to Review Economic Partnership Agreement Negotiation (EPAs).

Ø      A Resolution of the Assembly urging for peaceful resolution of the Conflict in Migingo Island which has drawn Members of Partner States of the East African Community.

Ø      A Resolution of the Assembly urging the Summit to delegate its Powers and Functions under Article 9 (2) to the Council of Ministers to restructure and allocate responsibilities to individual Members of the Council on such Terms and Conditions as the Council may deem fit.



(c)     Standing Committee Activities




Rule 77 of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly provides for the appointment of relevant committees necessary for the efficient discharge of the Assembly’s functions, namely:-



i.                 to examine, discuss and make recommendations on all Bills laid before the Assembly;

ii.                 to initiate any Bill within their respective mandate;

iii.                to assess and evaluate activities of the Community

iv.                to carry out relevant research in their respective mandate

v.                 to examine policy maters affecting their subject areas

vi.                 to examine the Community’s recurrent and capital budget estimates; and,

vii.                to report to the Assembly on their functions



In order to fulfill this mandate, which constitutes the basis for the Committees to carry out specified functions, the committees effectively undertook to review, scrutinize, investigate, and inquire into the activities of the organs and institutions of the EAC. The committee reports tabled and discussed in the House during the term of the First Assembly included the following:



i.                   Accounts Committee

Ø      Report on the EAC Audited Financial Statements for the fiscal years 20001/2; 2002/3; 2003/4; 2004/5; 2005/6; 2006/7; and 2007/8

Ø      Report on Supplementary Estimates (Re-Allocations) for the Fiscal Year 2001/2

Ø      Reports on the Budgets of the East African Community for the Financial Years 2003/2004; 2004/2005;2005/2006; 2006/2007; 2007/2008; and 2008/2009



ii.                 Legal, Rules and Privileges Committee


Ø      Report on the Study and Review of the EALA Dress Code

Ø      Report on the proposed amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly

Ø      Report on the Review of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community

Ø      Introduction of the EAC Community Emblems Bill, 2003; the EALA (Powers and Privileges) Bill, 2003

Ø      Report of the Committee on Legal, Rules and Privileges on the Summit (Delegation of Powers and functions) Bill, 2007

Ø      Report of the Committee on Legal, Rules and Privileges on the proposed amendments to the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community

Ø      Report of the Committee on Legal, Rules and Privileges on the amendments to the Rules of the Assembly



iii.              Agriculture, Tourism and Natural Resources Committee


Ø      Report on the Lake Victoria Development Programme and the status of safety of navigation on the lake

Ø      Report on the EAC tourism marketing strategy for the region

Ø      Report on the resource based conflicts in the EAC region

Ø      Report of the seminar on the water levels of Lake Victoria

Ø      Report on Extractive Industries in the EAC region



iv.               Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution

Ø      Report on the review of the processes and stages of integration

Ø      Report on the modalities to gauge the views of the citizens of East Africa through a referendum for a political federation

Ø      Report on the steps so far taken in the harmonization of disaster management policies

Ø      Report on the status of co-operation in Defense matters in the EAC region.

Ø      Report on the natural resources based conflicts in East Africa

Ø      Report on the functional relations between EALA and the National Assemblies, pursuant to the Provisions of Article 49(2)(a) of the Treaty

Ø      Report of the Good Will Mission to Kenya following the aftermath of the Kenya General elections of December 2007

Ø      Report of the EALA/ Regional Affairs Committee delegation visit to Rwanda and Burundi August/September 2008

Ø      Report of the Conference on Causes of Conflict in the East African Region May 2009

Ø      Report on the networking visit to ECOWAS in Abuja, Nigeria August 2009



v.                 General Purpose Committee


Ø      Reports on the EAC Annual Reports for the periods 2000/1; 2001/2; and 2002/3 2003/4; 2004/5; 2005/6; 2006/7; 2007/8; and 2008/9

Ø      Reports on the EAC Annual Audit Reports for the financial years ended 30th June 2002; 2003; 2004; 2005; 2006; 2007; and 2008

Ø      Reports on the EAC Budgets for the Financial Years 2004/5; 2005/2006; 2006/2007; 2007/2008;2008/2009; and 2009/2010

Ø      Report on the EAC/UNIFEM Workshop on Gender Mainstreaming 2006

Ø      Report on the EALA Workshop on Gender Mainstreaming, May 2009



vi.               Communication, Trade and Investment Committee


Ø      Report on the status of infrastructure development in East Africa.

Ø      Report on the East African Parliamentary liaison Committee on trade visit to the European Union

Ø      Report of the public hearing workshops on the draft protocols on the East African Customs Union and standardisation, quality assurance, metrology and testing

Ø      Report on the East African Community Trade Negotiations Bill, 2003

Ø      Report on the Tour of the Customs border posts and port of East Africa

Ø      Report on the Standardisation, Quality Assurance, Metrology and Testing Bill, 2005

Ø      Report of the public hearing workshops on the East African Community Common Market, 2006

Ø       Report of the Committee on Communications, Trade and Investments on the Lake Victoria Transport Bill, 2007;

Ø      Report on the East African Community Customs Management (Amendment) Bill, 2007

Ø      Report on the East African Joint Trade Negotiations Bill, 2007

Ø      Report of the EALA public hearing workshops on the East African Community Common Market, February 2009

Ø      Report on the Tour of the Customs border posts of East Africa, August 2009



vii.            EALA Commission


Ø      Prepared and organised the legislative business and programmes of the Assembly

Ø      Nominated Members of the standing committees and one select Committee of the Assembly

Ø      Recommended for appointment to the Council of Ministers, Officers of the Assembly, namely: the Clerk; the Deputy Clerk; the Principal Clerk Assistant; the Sergeant-at-Arms; the Hansard Editor;  the Research Officers; the Senior Clerk Assistants; the Network Administrator; the Hansard Reporters; the Clerk Assistant; and the Accountant

Ø      Prepared and presented to the House the Report of the study tour of the European Parliament and the Belgium House of Representatives by Committee Chairpersons

Ø      Prepared and presented to the House the Report on the tour of the German Parliament and the Report on the Study Tour of the Lok Sabha (Indian Parliament)

Ø      Approved the EALA Budget for 2007/08 – 2009/10 prior to its submission to the Council of Ministers

Ø      Proposed a staffing structure for EALA and recommended appointment of staff to critical positions;

Ø      Prepared the legislative Calendar and Programmes of EALA




(d)     Select Committee

In line with the provisions of Rule 80 of the Assembly Rules of Procedure, the EALA appointed two Select Committees. The purpose of the first Committee was to investigate the resignation of the Clerk of the Assembly in February 2003. The Committee made a report of its findings to the Assembly in March, and after extensive debate, the report was adopted in July 2003. The second Committee sought to investigate the circumstances under which the 4th Session of the Second Assembly was suspended and the trend of the financial remittances from Partner States to EAC for financial years 2007/2008 and 2008/2009. The report was adopted with amendments in May 2009.