EAST AFRICAN LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY


Article 49 of the EAC Treaty establishes EALA as the legislative organ of the Community.  Like most legislatures EALA has as its core functions legislating, oversight and representation. Article 49 further states that EALA:

  • Shall liaise with the National Assemblies of Partner States on matters relating to the Community;
  • Shall debate and approve the budget of the Community;
  • Shall consider annual reports on the activities of the Community, annual audit reports of the Audit Commission and any other reports referred to it by the Council;
  • Shall discuss all matters pertaining to the Community and make recommendations to the Council as it may deem necessary for the implementation of the Treaty;
  • May for purposes of carrying out its functions, establish any committee or committees for such purposes as it deems necessary;
  • Shall recommend to the Council the appointment of the Clerk and other officers of the Assembly;
  • Shall make its rules of procedure and those of its committees

The Assembly may also perform any other functions as are conferred upon it by the Treaty. As noted above, EALA is empowered to make its own Rules of Procedure and to constitute Committees. EALA maintains seven standing committees: Accounts; Agriculture, Tourism and Natural Resources; General Purpose; House Business; Legal, Rules and Privileges; Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution; and Trade Communication and Investment. EALA may also appoint Select Committees as needed. The composition and leadership of each of these Committees is equally shared among the Partners States.[1]

There are 45 Members[2] of EALA indirectly elected for a five-year (renewable) term by their respective National Assemblies (although not from within the National Assemblies), and five ex-officio Members.[3] Article 50 of the Treaty requires that EALA’s Members “represent as much as it is feasible, the various political parties represented in the National Assembly, shades of opinion, gender and other special interest groups in that Partner State”.[4] As such, EALA members come from diverse backgrounds such as business, NGOs, retired civil servants and Members of the National Assemblies. Aside from the latter, most have little or no parliamentary (or political) experience. The current staff compliment at EALA is 23, 13 at professional level and 10 in the general staff category.

[1]
Currently committees are comprised of around 15 members with the exception of the business committee which has 12 members.

[2] Nine from each member state. Members can be re-elected for a second term.

[3] The ex-officio Members include one Minister from each partner state responsible for East African Community Affairs (currently there are five Ministers), the Secretary General of the EAC and the Counsel to the Community.  They may participate in debates but have no right to vote in the Assembly.  The Ex-officio Members report to EALA on the implementation of the Treaty and any other issues of interest to the Partner States.

[4]
Article 50 of the Treaty also requires that an MLA (a) is a citizen of that Partner State;(b) is qualified to be elected a member of the National Assembly of that Partner State under its Constitution; (c) is not holding office as a Minister in that Partner State; (d) is not an officer in the service of the Community; and (e) has proven experience or interest in consolidating and furthering the aims and the objectives of the Community.