Regional Legislators now to use Burundi Sessions in pushing for EAC Treaty Review

The East African Legislative Assembly wants the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community reviewed and amended as it was written when the EAC comprised only three member states.

EALA in its Fifth Assembly has been requesting the Summit as well as the Council to review the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community, which was published in 2001.

The Treaty came into force when the Community consisted of only three Partner States; Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

According to the Regional Parliament, currently sitting in Bujumbura, a review of the Treaty is necessary to align the document with the growth and changes that have so far taken place in the Community.

The East African Community has seven members at the Moment, with the addition of Rwanda, Burundi, South-Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It is also being anticipated that around this time next year, Somalia is going to be the eighth Member of the EAC.

Key among amendments of the Treaty being targeted by the Assembly is the full implementation of the directive to include Kiswahili and French as official languages of the Community.

This amendment is expected to improve and ease aspects of communication in the Assembly.

Meanwhile the Burundi President, Evariste Ndayishimiye, says Heads of the East African Community Organs and Institutions need to work hard to address factors that limit or constrain the construction of a larger EAC internal market.

President Ndayishimiye, who is the current Chairperson of the EAC Heads of Summit, points out that this is the only way to ensure an increase in the region’s share of global trade and economy.

The Burundi Head of State was presiding over the official opening of the Third Meeting of the First Session of the Fifth East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) at the National Assembly Buildings in Bujumbura, Burundi.

He called for the full facilitation of the EALA, the elected representative body of the Community, to fully play its oversight mandate.

Regarding the low rated visibility of the EAC in the region, Ndayishimiye tasked Members of the EALA to sensitize East Africans, members of the private sector and the civil society regarding the achievements that have so far been made.

Especially in achieving the pillars of integration which are the Customs Union, Common Market, the Monetary Union and other steps that will be undertaken to attain political federation.

The Speaker of the EALA, Joseph Ntakirutimana, acknowledged the role being played by Burundi through the leadership of President Ndayishimiye in promoting peace by playing a leading role in supporting peace in Somalia, Central African Republic and the DRC.

As the Chairperson of the EAC Summit, he is also supporting the AU- mandated Nairobi peace process in restoring peace in DRC. The Speaker encouraged the Summit Head to continue to seek a permanent solution to the conflict in DRC.

The Speaker of the National Assembly of Burundi, Gelase Daniel Ndabirabe, promised that during his tenure, he would collaborate with EALA to ensure that the pillars of integration unlock the great opportunities that exist for the EAC.

EALA has been impressing upon the EAC Council of Ministers to fully implement the Administrative of EALA Act, 2012.

It grants the EALA administrative and financial autonomy, a law which is expected to improve the efficiency of the Assembly in achieving its mandate.

The Regional Assembly sits in Burundi, from March 27 to April 7, 2023.

The EALA plenary and committee meetings take place in the National Assembly of Burundi Chamber.

Key among the business to be transacted by the Assembly include: EAC Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2023; the EAC Standardization, Accreditation and Conformity Assessment Bill, 2023; and various committee reports.

The Assembly will later carry out an on-spot visit to the Gatumba-Burundi/DRC Border to assess various aspects of the EAC Customs Union and Common Market pillars of integration.

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