President Kibaki opens EALA sitting / Urges re-focus of energies on the integration process

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 17, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — President Mwai Kibaki today opened the fourth meeting of the fifth session of the Second East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) at the Kenya National Assembly, Nairobi, Kenya.

In his speech, President Kibaki urged the region to focus its energies on the integration process in order to ensure the fulfillment of the citizens’ desires.

The President pleaded for the removal of Non-Tariff Barriers so as to spur trade and called for effective communication of policies agreed upon across the region to enable the seamless flow of goods and services.

“Free movement of goods and factors of production continue to face NTBs. Collectively, we must do more to remove the bottlenecks,” the President remarked

He noted that the Summit of the Heads of State shall consider progress with regards to the Single Customs Authority initiative among other areas at its forthcoming sitting in Arusha on April 28, 2012.

On peace and security, the President maintained that stability in the neighbouring Somalia, South Sudan and the Sudan was crucial to the EAC region.

“I appeal to my brothers, the Presidents of the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan to amicably sort the imminent dispute that may reverse gains in the region,” President Kibaki said.

He hailed the forces from Burundi, Kenya and Uganda currently involved in the on-going mission to bring peace to Somalia, saying that the country was now at a defining moment to move ahead after close to twenty years of internal strife.

All the three countries have recently submitted their applications for consideration to join the economic bloc.

In attendance were Members of EALA, Parliamentarians, EAC Secretary General, representatives of the diplomatic corps, government officials and other stakeholders. The EALA Plenary which runs from today to April 27, 2012 is the last one to be held in Nairobi by the current Assembly.

In his welcome remarks, the Speaker of EALA, Hon. Abdirahin Abdi, hailed President Kibaki and the citizens of the Republic of Kenya for their efforts and steadfast contribution towards the realization of the objectives of the EAC.

The Speaker appealed for the speedy uptake of the Common Market Protocol which he noted, spelled out tangible benefits to the citizens of the EAC. He urged the Summit of the Heads of State to prioritise the implementation of the Protocol.

“Almost two years on, Your Excellency, the unexploited potential of the region remains. I humbly petition you as the Chairperson of the Summit to reach out to your colleagues in the Summit and to impress upon them to cause the uptake of the Common Market Protocol within the respective Partner States,” the Speaker said, pledging EALA’s support towards legislation supporting the pillar.

Rt. Hon Abdi said the country was on the verge of transformation stating the new constitutional dispensation was revolutionary and progressive. The Speaker termed the recent discovery of oil in Turukana in Northern Kenya as worthy and said the region would immensely benefit.

The Speaker, whose tenure ends with that of the term of the 2nd Assembly on June 2012, reiterated the Assembly’s EALA’s commitment to collaborate with stakeholders of the Community towards the EAC dream of a united East Africa.

‘The in-coming Assembly shall be charged with consolidating the gains made by the First and Second Assembly and taking the integration process to the next level. The next Assembly shall no doubt need an expanded mandate as the region moves to fast-track the Monetary Union and sets the basis for the Political Federation,” Rt. Hon Abdi remarked..

Over the next two weeks, the Assembly shall debate the following Bills:

•    The EAC Customs Management Act (Amendment) Bill, 2011

•    The EAC Community Emblems (Amendment) Bill, 2012

•    The EAC HIV& AIDS Prevention and Management Bill, 2012

•    The EAC Conflict Management Bill, 2011

•    The EAC Election Bill, 2012

•    The EAC Human Rights Bill, 2011

Various motions, reports as well as resolutions deepening and widening the integration agenda are also to be moved and adopted at the two week plenary.

EALA Member, Hon. Dora Byamukama moved a vote of thanks applauding President Kibaki and the Kenya National Assembly for the continuous support to EALA. Hon Byamukama thanked President Kibaki for fulfilling the Presidential address and termed the content vital and educative.

“The speech today was relevant and insightful and addressed relevant issues,” Hon Byamukama remarked, thanking the Head of State for his hospitality, reliability and availability.


East African Legislative Assembly (EALA)

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