Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) in the country for the 4th Session of the Second East African Legislative Assembly, yesterday, kicked off their activities, discussing the EAC draft Protocol on Good Governance.
They will also discuss two other bills before they begin their session on March 29.
The talks on these legislations is taking place in a three-day workshop between the regional lawmakers and other stakeholders in the region.
Other bills to be covered in the workshop include the draft EAC Bill of Rights and the draft bill on conflict prevention and management.
Once passed, the draft protocol on good governance will set standards for EAC member states to observe in order to promote good governance. Among these, is the adherence to the rule of law, accountability, transparency, respect to human rights, gender equality and equal opportunities.
In her opening remarks, the Minister for EAC affairs, Monique Mukaruliza affirmed Rwanda’s commitment to the integration processes and that the country is already practicing most of the standards set by the EAC protocols.
She said that Rwanda remains determined to lead the fight against corruption by championing accountability and transparency, while at the same time strengthening political and democratic institutions.
“Rwanda is also committed to promoting peace and security not only in the country but also in the region because we know that without peace and stability, integration efforts would be nothing,” Mukaruliza said.
The Minister said that Rwanda is committed to promote good governance and people’s rights, as well as the prevention of conflict. The 3 drafts bills, Mukaruliza said, will go a long way in promoting good governance and peace in the region, at the same time foster development.
The EAC Deputy Secretary General, Beatrice Kiraso, called for the member states to fast track the political federation as it will be vital in checking political processes and legislations among partner states to bring about good governance.
She noted that the future of the political federation remains in balance because some states are scared of surrendering part of their sovereignty to make one collective state, which can be efficiently run.
Kiraso said that the draft instruments are in line with the fundamental principles provided for by the EAC treaty and a number of them have been subject to national consultations to include the collective views of different stakeholders.
“I appeal to you (EALA members) to help partner states understand that integration in any form, whether economic, social or political, is a political process and cannot be left in the hands of government civil servants drawn from ministries,” Kiraso said.
She said that if the EAC is to move through the critical stages it is at including the implementation of the common market, negotiating the Monetary Union, harmonizing and standardising political processes, then the multi level tedious and long processes must be avoided.
According to the EALA Speaker, Abdirahin Haithar Abdi, over the next two-weeks, the Assembly will conduct its Plenary and Committee Sessions during which several issues on the region will be tabled.
President Paul Kagame is expected to open the session while President Pierre Nkurunziza as the chairperson of the EAC summit will also address the session.
He noted that EALA has taken centre stage in the integration process by providing the required legislative framework and oversight to ensure the integration agenda continues to be a priority.
“The involvement of East Africans in the process is fundamental given the fact that it is very much “a people centred process”. He said
“As such, the Assembly has and will continue to engage the citizens of the region and taking their comments into account when enacting legislations,” he added.
EALA is the legislative organ of the East African Community.