Since 2002, the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) and AWEPA have implemented programmes to develop EALA’s capacity in the region. EALA was founded in 2001 and functions as the legislative organ of the East African Community (EAC). EALA has 52 members, 45 of whom are elected to their position (nine from each of the five Partner States) and seven ex-officio members. The 3rd Assembly was inaugurated in June 2012 and seeks to consolidate the achievements of the 1st and 2nd Assembly: to maintain a regional presence and engage with legislative and development concerns in East Africa. The EAC’s integration agenda gives EALA this mandate, as specified by the EAC Treaty.
In line with the vision of a prosperous, competitive, secure and politically united EAC, the programme aims to contribute to accelerated, harmonious and balanced development and continued democratisation in East Africa. The programme seeks to empower EALA to effectively fulfil its legislative, representative and oversight mandate, particularly in matters related to improving the EAC integration process and increasing cooperation among EAC Partner States in political, economic, social and cultural fields. Such activities are geared toward the mutual benefit of the EAC Partner States and their citizens. The programme seeks to implement legislation that is important to EAC integration, which would be mutually beneficial for the Community and the Partner States. Another goal of the programme is that the EAC inhabitants are made aware of the integration process and its role in their lives.
The enactment of EALA’s mandate:
- enhanced EALA’s legislative role and improved oversight;
- effectively reached out to and represented civil society;
- effectively connected with the National Assemblies of Partner States as well as other African and non-African Parliaments.
Moreover, the 2nd Assembly concluded their legislative and oversight work on reports and bills in the form of public hearings, auditing of laws, EAC auditing and site visits, interaction with civil society and interaction with National Assemblies through the Speakers’ Bureau. The 3rd Assembly focused on building the capacity of the standing Committees in order to enact a smooth transition, since strong Committees are essential to the effectiveness of a Parliament in implementing its powers.