There is need for the East African Community (EAC) to work closely with cross-border communities to ensure proactive measures are employed in responding to conflict such as providing rapid response, investigation and dispute resolution at community level, lawmakers say.
This was among the recommendations highlighted yesterday as the East African Legislative Assembly Committee on Regional Affairs and Conflict resolution (RACR) presented a report on an oversight activity undertaken last month on the Kenya-Tanzania border.
Presenting the report, MP Mike Sebalu (Uganda) said there is need to conduct joint meetings among pastoral border communities to sensitise and enhance their understanding of EAC integration.
The committee’s February 19 to 22 public hearings on the pastoral communities of Longido, in Tanzania, and Kajiado in Kenya, was in the context of the Common Market Protocol.
“There is an urgent need for EAC partner states to balance security of tenure and land as an asset or resource for economic development of the cross-border pastoral communities,” Sebalu added.
MP Martin Ngoga (Rwanda) said: “We should treat this report as a sample of what is happening in all EAC border communities. We need to consider similar oversight activities on other borders as well.”
According to Ngoga, there is a kind of disconnect as grassroots administrators of border communities are clearly not working together to address issues.
Tz MPs’ no-show frustrates Assembly
The report, however, could not be adopted as only two MPs; Shyrose Bhanji and Kessy Nderakindo, of the nine Tanzanian lawmakers were present – a minimum three must be present for a full quorum – forcing Speaker Daniel Kidega to adjourn the session.
A majority of the Tanzanian lawmakers travelled back home over the weekend – most to attend the ruling party congress – but failed to make it back to Kigali on time for this week’s first plenary yesterday.
Also postponed was debate on the EAC Polythene Materials Control Bill, 2016, a key matter on the Kigali sitting.
The Assembly has been consulting internally on how to proceed after regional business leaders last week asked for more time for further consultations on the Bill.
The Bill seeks to provide a legal framework for the preservation of a clean and healthy environment through prohibition of manufacturing, sale, importation and use of polythene in the region.