10 June 2011

East Africa: Kenyan Laws Out of Sync With the EAC Protocols

Most laws in Kenya are inconsistent with the East African Community protocol and need to be reviewed. Deputy director for political affairs at the Ministry of East African Community David Njoka yesterday said that most Kenyan law refer to anyone outside Kenya as alien which is not consisted with the spirit of the EAC treaty.

He said the ministry was in the process of preparing a draft bill derived from 27 pieces of legislation already identified by the legal taskforce on the common market protocol. "Our Rapid Results Initiative on the fourth thematic entails undertaking a legal audit of EAC laws to assess their implications on the new constitution and improving internal efficiency and effectiveness of the ministry to improve service delivery," he said.

He pointed out the National Anthem and the Emblems Acts as part the statutes that were inconsistent with the protocol. He noted that the new constitution brought about a lot of changes that requires a review of the existing laws to be in line with the new law. Njoka was speaking during a one day sensitisation workshop on East African Community integration process at a Kakamega hotel.

The workshop was attended by East Africa Legislative Assembly members Gervase Akhabi and Clerkson Otieno Karan. Njoka said the ministry decided to conduct a second round of sensitisation on the integration process after realising the first round did not have an impact on the stakeholders and the general public. "This campaign is important because despite the earlier sensitisation efforts, it is apparent that there is still wide spread gap of information and knowledge on the integration process," said Njoka.

He said that many Kenya were not in a position to appreciate the opportunities, benefits and challenges of the integration process as well as their rights ad obligations as citizens of East Africa.

He explained that the biggest challenge is the huge information gap between EAC and partner State Governments on the one hand and EAC and the ordinary people on the other hand.

Akhabi said there is need for individuals to fully understand the integration process to avoid unnecessary conflicts like the ones that led to disintegration of the initial community. "People must be empowered with relevant information to be able to fully rip the benefits of the treaty," said Akhabi.

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