The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has passed a resolution calling for the setting up of chapter offices in each East African Community partner state to enable better co-ordination, improved linkages and consolidation of processes of the assembly.
Passed during a session Zanzibar, on Wednesday, the resolution says this would also ensure increased access by citizens of the six partner states and other critical stakeholders to the assembly.
The motion, moved by MP Abubakar Zein (Kenya), also points to the need to enhance interaction between the assembly and national institutions, particularly parliaments.
Martin Ngoga, one of Rwanda’s representatives to the regional assembly, told The New Times that the idea waspremised on the belief that such offices would help take EALA closer to the people.
“The offices would help in coordinating different activities we undertake in partner states and serve as points where citizens would engage with EALA members on different matters,” said Ngoga.
Earlier, during debate, MP Nusura Tiperu (Uganda) said the move would enable the current assembly to leave behind a strong institution for new members who will be joining in June 2017 when the current team wraps up their five-year mandate.
Tiperu said: “The assembly needs to be proactive and needs to come up with appropriate proposals and standards required to enable it to scale its services and to handle matters more effectively and efficiently.”
MP Dora Byamukama (Uganda) said the majority of the Ministries in charge of EAC affairs were no longer stand-alone dockets and thus communications to the line ministries was difficult.
MP Abdullah Mwinyi (Tanzania) said that due to the structure of the Tanzanian Parliament, there were currently no offices set aside for EALA.
At the moment, members of EALA co-ordinate activities through their respective Chapters, which have loose structures.
Some chapters, including Rwanda’s, have offices in their respective countries but members said this needs to be formally replicated across the bloc and the offices facilitated to have tangible impact.
Each member state is represented by nine members.
Meanwhile, Odda Gasinzigwa, the former Minister for Gender and Family Promotion, was yesterday sworn in as a new member of EALA, having been elected the previous day by Rwandan national parliamentarians to replace Christophe Bazivamo, who was in June appointed EAC deputy secretary general in charge of finance and administration.
Also sworn in yesterday during the assembly’s session in Zanzibar is Burundi’s Jean Marie Muhilwa, who replaces Hafsa Mossi, who was assassinated in the Burundi capital of Bujumbura in July, at EALA.