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East African Legislative Assembly Press statement

By East African Community (EAC)
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ARUSHA, Tanzania, November 16, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Second meeting – fifth session – Second Assembly

(by Rt. Hon. Abdirahin Haithar Abdi – speaker EALA)

Ladies & Gentlemen of the Press: I welcome you all to this press briefing convened to notify you that the 2nd Meeting of the 5th Session of the Second East African Legislative Assembly shall take place at the Burundi National Assembly here in Bujumbura from 15th November 2011 to November 30, 2011. In addition, there are a host of other activities marking the climax of the 10th Anniversary celebrations taking place at the same time.

On behalf of the Assembly and on my own behalf, allow me to salute His Excellency, President Pierre Nkurunziza for accepting once again to host the EALA in Burundi and to address us on Thursday, November 17, 2011.

The Assembly is proud of the wise and able leadership of President Nkurunziza who has continued to steer the Republic of Burundi to greater heights. His tenure as the Chair of the EAC Heads of State has also been marked with tremendous progress. We recall the important State of the EAC Address he delivered in Kigali, Rwanda on April 5, 2011 that focused on a number of areas key to strengthening the integration process.

We also thank the Speaker of the Burundi National Assembly, Rt. Hon Pie Ntavyohanyuma, for granting us access to use the Parliament of the Republic of Burundi. We hail the existing warm and cordial relations between Burundi National Assembly and EALA.

By holding its Plenary and other activities here, EALA, shall also extend to its Members an opportunity to interact with citizens of Burundi.

The Sitting expects among others to debate on the following Bills:

• The IUCEA Amendment Bill (2nd & 3rd Reading)

• The EAC Trans-boundary Ecosystem Management Bill, 2010 – 2nd Reading and 3rd Reading

• The EAC Polythene Materials Control Bill (2nd & 3rd Reading)

EALA shall also receive a number of reports for consideration, Motions and Questions. In addition to the Plenary, EALA is also holding a number of activities marking the 10th Anniversary celebrations. They include the sixth Inter-Parliamentary Relations Seminar, known as the Nanyuki Series and the Inter-Parliamentary Soccer tournament.

The theme of the Nanyuki series which takes place on November 28-29, 2011 is the 'Role of the Legislature in achieving a Political Federation'. The Nanyuki series shall be attended by Speakers from the regional and continental Parliaments including those from the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Parliaments among others. Members of the National Assemblies of the Partner States, top EAC government officials and Members of the diplomatic corps shall also be in attendance. Very important topics on the subject matter of Political Federation shall be addressed.

On its part, the Inter-Parliamentary Soccer Tournament 2011 pits the soccer teams from the National Assemblies and the EAC/EALA team in a week-long tournament which commences on November 22, 2011. The Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania is defending the trophy having beaten Uganda in the finals in Arusha, Tanzania last year.

EALA has since April 2011 held a number of activities marking the celebrations. in the Partner States. EALA has held Tree-planting activities in Rwanda and Tanzania and the activity continues in all the Partner States up to 2012. We also held a very successful EALA 10th Anniversary Symposium on June 30, 2011 - July 2, 2011 in Arusha on the theme A decade of Service towards a Political Federation. The Nanyuki VI thus builds up on the Symposium.

EALA is using the 10th Anniversary Observance to reflect on the various achievements (and challenges) realized and appraise its own effectiveness as a Regional Assembly as it sets the mood for the next decade. All meetings and events are open to the press. We thus welcome you to fully participate and cover the meetings and events.

The EALA activities run concurrently with other EAC meetings in Bujumbura including the inaugural lake Tanganyika Investment Conference, the Council of Ministers meeting and the 3rd EAC/GIZ Media conference. The Summit of the EAC Heads of State is scheduled for November 30, 2011.

The Assembly now frequently meets in all Partner States as per the provisions of Article 55 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC. We continue to enact legislation and provide oversight to ensure the integration agenda remains smooth. The Assembly will continue to involve the citizens of the region using various means such as public hearing workshops, consultations and visitations. EALA shall ensure it integrate and takes into account public views as we enact legislation which take precedent over the similar laws in the Partner States on matters related to the Community.