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FOURTH MEETING – FIFTH SESSION – SECOND ASSEMBLY BY RT. HON. ABDIRAHIN H. ABDI – SPEAKER, EALA

By East African Community (EAC)
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ARUSHA, Tanzania, April 16, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- FOURTH MEETING – FIFTH SESSION – SECOND ASSEMBLY BY RT. HON. ABDIRAHIN H. ABDI – SPEAKER, EALA

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press

I welcome you to the media briefing convened to notify you of the 4th Meeting of the 5th Session of the Second East African Legislative Assembly scheduled to take place here at the Kenya National Assembly from today, 16th April, 2012 until 27th April, 2012.

On behalf of the Assembly and on my own behalf, allow me to salute His Excellency, Dr. Mwai Kibaki, President of the Republic of Kenya, the Government and the citizens of the Republic of Kenya for accepting to host EALA. We thank President Mwai Kibaki for accepting to address us tomorrow, 17th April, 2012 at 09.00 am. EALA appreciates the wise and able leadership of President Kibaki in steering Kenya and the EAC as the current Chairperson of the Summit of the EAC Heads of State to greater heights.

We thank our host, the Speaker of the Kenya National Assembly, the Rt. Hon. Kenneth Marende for granting us access to the Parliament and for extending to us the use of various facilities for this Session. This is the last meeting EALA is holding in Nairobi, Kenya, as the 2nd Assembly - given that its term officially ends on 4th June, 2012.

Over the two weeks, the Assembly shall thus conduct the following business:

• The Address by H.E. President Mwai Kibaki at the Special Sitting tomorrow, 17th April, 2012 at 10.00 am.

• The EAC Customs Management Act (Amendment) Bill 2nd and 3rd Reading

• The EAC Community Emblems (Amendment) Bill, 2012 – 2nd and 3rd Reading

• The EAC HIV and AIDS Prevention and Management Bill 2012 – 2nd and 3rd Reading

• The EAC Conflict Management Bill 2011, 2nd and 3rd Reading

• The East African Community Election Bill 2012, 2nd & 3 Reading

• The EAC Human Rights Bill 2nd & 3rd Reading

• Pose questions to the Council of Ministers, debate and adopt various Committee Reports, Motions and Resolutions.

It is important to note that the laws enacted by the EAC have the full force of law and take precedence over similar laws in the Partner States on matters related to the Community.

As we begin the process of winding up the 2nd Assembly, notable successes have been recognized during its life. These include enacting over 35 pieces of legislation, three times more than that of its predecessor, bringing the Assembly closer to the people by institutionalizing rotational Sittings in the Partner States and increased and focused oversight of programs and projects to ensure the Community remains on track.

EALA is also cognizant of the outstanding challenges the Community is juggling with. Such include the bottlenecks faced in the process of transacting business including Non Tariff Barriers, challenges of implementing the Customs Union and the Common Market and the slow-uptake of the agenda of the EAC in the national policy frameworks. We shall continue collaborating with all the Council of Ministers and other stakeholders and in carrying out of our mandate as stipulated by the EAC Treaty to ensure the economic bloc is strengthened.

The media in the region has lately been churning out stories related to the forthcoming elections of Members. I want to confirm that all Assemblies within the Partner States have commenced the process of electing new Members to the regional Assembly. The on-going process in all Partner States is by far, the most competitive in the history of the Assembly in recent times reflecting upon the growing stature of EALA.

We are confident that all the Partner States shall complete the exercise smoothly in time to enable the inauguration of the third Assembly on 5th June, 2012. I want to wish all my colleagues and other interested persons who want to serve in the 3rd EALA all the very best of luck.

Having served as Speaker of this distinguished Assembly, I shall also be stepping down and handing over to a duly elected Speaker in the next forty nine days when my tenure ends. It is only fair to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues, the Members of the 2nd Assembly for their efforts in ensuring EALA meets its mandate. I am also grateful to the media with whom we have closely continued to interact.

Finally, I appeal to the media as the Fourth Estate to follow and cover our proceedings during this period and to disseminate the necessary information to the various publics thus propagating the regional integration process.

I thank you for listening to me.