Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Committee on Legal, Rules and Privileges are in the country conducting public hearings on the upcoming Whistleblowers Bill.
They are meeting with legal experts in all EAC member states on whether incentives should be included in order to encourage people to come forward and point out wrongdoers.
In the absence of further information on the proposed bill, it calls into question the relevance of the bill for one simple reason; implementation.
The community has failed to compel member states to implement major instruments such as the common market protocol and free movement and establishment with some countries still maintaining road blocks.
It is therefore difficult to comprehend how giving incentives to whistleblowers should be the EAC’s priority yet other pressing matters are still on the drawing board.
Rwanda has its own Whistleblowers’ Act that has been in place for the last one year and it has provisions for giving rewards to those who come forth to give key information. What will happen if EALA strikes out that provision?
Another point is that the EAC is surviving on handouts from donors and it has yet to compel members to fulfill their obligations in time. It would have been wiser and financially logical if instead of holding public hearings on just one draft bill it could have combined others still in the pipeline.