Arusha — The new speaker for the East African Legislative Assembly, Ms Margaret Zziwa, recently got more than she had bargained for when she decided to take a walk in the streets of Arusha.
The head of the Third Regional Assembly apparently tried to introduce herself to the ordinary residents, as the new speaker for the EALA but what she received in response were series of blank stares from Arusha residents who apparently seem to have no idea about what EA legislative assembly is.
"And that is happening in Arusha where the EALA is based, furthermore the City is seat for the East African Community, yet its people do not know anything about the regional parliament or secretariat," stated Ms Zziwa who hails from Uganda.
The 'Daily News' embarked on a fact finding mission on why the regional parliament or terms related to EALA were still Greek to most residents.
"I have never heard of it," said Mama Pendo Joseph, a trader at the Central Market area, pointing out that the National Assembly seating in Dodoma is currently reading its fiscal budget and everybody knows, wondering how the other 'alleged' parliament of East Africa makes itself known to the public.
EALA sessions which usually take place at the chambers located on the 6th floor of the Ngorongoro wing of Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) complex are conducted by stealth not allowing ordinary people to attend.
And even if they did, the language used; English, may leave many local people here in the dark."English is the official language of the community," explains the Deputy Secretary of the EAC (planning and infrastructure), Dr Enos Bukuku, adding that the regional assembly is thus compelled to conduct sessions in the foreign language.
The East African Legislative Assembly is an organ of the East African Community; established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.
The Assembly has a Membership comprising nine members elected by each Partner State; ex-officio members consisting of the Minister or Assistant Minister responsible for the East African Community Affairs from each Partner State; the Secretary General and the Counsel to the Community.
Currently, the Assembly has 45 elected Members; and 7 ex-officio members totalling to a membership of 52, twenty of whom are female.
The Assembly is the legislative organ of the Community which also liaises with National Assemblies of the Partner States on matters relating to the Community; debate and approve the budget of the Community and consider annual reports on the activities of the Community, annual audit reports of the Audit Commission and any other reports referred to it by the Council.