EALA passes motion lauding state of EAC address / Applauds President Kibaki for a concise exposition of EAC Policy in speech
ARUSHA, Tanzania, April 18, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- EALA has today passed a motion commending the Chairperson of the EAC Summit of Heads of State, H.E. President Mwai Kibaki for the concise State of EAC Address delivered in January 2012.
The motion moved by Kenya's Assistant Minister for EAC, Hon Peter Munya on behalf of the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Hon Musa Sirma received overwhelming support on the floor of the House.
In the State of EAC Address delivered in Kampala, Uganda on January 25, 2012, President Kibaki urged Partner States to fully implement the Common Market Protocol to ensure citizens of the region reap all benefits. The President further called for the diversification of the region's economies noting that the EAC should constantly mechanise agriculture, industrialise and enhance tourism and the ICT among other growth sectors. The State of EAC Address which covered critical areas key to the integration process was delivered during the third sitting of the fifth Session of the Assembly.
During debate today, Hon Catherine Kimura called on the EAC in the 'mood and spirit' of the Address to institutionalize mechanisms ensuring 'free movement of food' in order to balance the food deficit and save the region from the effects of starvation. “I see no need why we appeal for food aid in times of crises whereas certain areas within the EAC realize over-supply of food. This matter, Mr. Speaker, should be urgently addressed”, Hon Kimura said.
She further called on Partner States to resolve the issue of cross-border tourism business which she said was hampered by Non-Tariff Barriers. The Member called for policies to ensure tour companies operated freely across the borders.
Akhaabi hailed the envisaged Information Communications and Technology (ICT) innovation in Kenya and Rwanda as fundamental components of development. He cited the envisaged ICT Park in Konza in Athi-River, Kenya as a tremendous novelty towards the transformation of the region.
On his part, Hon.Gen Mugisha Muntu urged Partner States to urgently address the correlation between agriculture and oil given the fact that four out of five Partner States (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi) had either discovered or remained on the verge of oil discovery. He noted that agricultural production in the oil rich countries had over the years dwindled - citing Nigeria and Angola as examples. 'We need to ensure a balance is maintained', Hon Muntu stated.
The Member urged the EAC to thrive on the culture of meeting set targets within the set timeframes if integration is to be fully achieved. “EAC shall only thrive if as a region we seek to achieve and remain committed to what has been agreed upon. We must stick to deadlines”, Hon Muntu said with reference to the delays in implementation of the Common Market Protocol.
Members called for peace and security initiatives to be jointly carried out. “A typical example should have been the mission in Somalia in which a joint military exercise would have been most ideal. Why did Kenya, Uganda and Burundi send separate troops? Hon Gen. Muntu wondered.
Minister Peter Munya however clarified that the three Partner States (Kenya, Uganda and Burundi) were engaged in the Somali initiative through the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and stated that the region was not averse to future joint exercises once a Protocol is in place.
The Assembly further called on the Council of Ministers to take its rightful place and to give direction on matters pertaining to integration. Hon Dan Wandera Ogalo remarked that it was time the Treaty was amended and any stages found to be clogging decision making expunged.
'I for one find the processes in decision making at the EAC flawed needing to be immediately addressed', the legislator remarked.
Parliament continues in the afternoon.