This 20th October 2013 the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has launched activities for the 2nd Meeting of the 2nd Session of the 3rd Assembly at Kigobe (Bujumbura). The main objective was to inform people about the activities of EALA during that meeting.-By Yves Didier Irakoze
According to Hon. (Dr) Margaret Nantongo Zziwa, the Presenter of the Press Conference, H.E. President Pierre Nkurunziza opened the Plenary Meeting in 22nd October 2013 by emphasizing that the time had come to fully embrace the philosophy of “One People, One Destiny” so that the integration agenda becomes fully operational and achieved. He called upon EALA MP’s to come up with bankable resolutions and solutions that make a difference to the People of the region. “The President put forward the need to fully implement the Common Market, in particular, including emphasis on the free movement of people, labor and services that are yet to be fully or evenly implemented across the region. He stated that a number of challenges exist as the integration process is progressing and Partner States have to resolve the outstanding issues,” states the Presenter. Hon. Speaker (Dr) Margaret mentions that the EALA summit has got a privilege to see the President Pierre Nkurunziza launch the strategic Plan (2013-2018) that has the following main activities: EALA’s main administrative autonomy, capacity and efficiency; negotiations for the EAC pillars of integration, EALA’s corporate image, institutional status, growth and development; capacity building in regional parliamentary practices; effective, sustainable and result-oriented communication and sensitization on EAC integration and the robust and effective monitoring and evaluation. “EALA also benefited from a crucial Seminar on Peace and Security. The EALA urged the Council of Ministers to promote Kiswahili language as the lingua franca of the Community as per article 131 of the EAC Treaty so that it may uphold Africanness as an entity,” she declares.
Next, she adds that the Assembly has moved resolutions such as the motion for the resolution urging the International Criminal Court (ICC) to defer the criminal cases against the President and the Deputy President of Kenya; a motion for the resolution of the Assembly to condole with the Government and the people of Kenya over the loss of lives in the tragic Westgate Mall attack and the EAC Council of Ministers to expedite the establishment and ratification of a mechanism for effective implementation of decisions made in areas of peace and security and a resolution to mark the International Day of Democracy on September 15, 2013.
Two important questions addressed by journalists
One of the journalists has asked why some countries like Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya organized a summit at Entebbe without the participation of Burundi and Tanzania. Shem Bageine, the Ugandan Minister of EAC Affairs has explained that it is common that 2 or 3 countries can meet to talk about their common interest. It doesn’t mean that other countries are excluded or isolated.
Another journalist has raised the question of Burundians chased from Tanzania. Minister Bageine mentions that there are not only Burundians who have been chased but also Ugandans, Congolese, Zambians and Rwandans. Since we haven’t yet ratified the treaty pertaining to common market and free movement of people to live in EAC countries it will be difficult for people to establish freely in a country; they have to respect the law of the host country since we haven’t yet reached the step of EAC Federation expresses Minister Bageine.