Kampala — Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has told a delegation of experts drafting the East African Community (EAC) Political Federation Constitution that legislators will require ample time to make their input on the establishment.
Led by Chief Justice Emeritus, Benjamin Odoki, the representatives from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and South Sudan met Kadaga and a cross section of legislators in Parliament on 03 May 2021 to consult on the EAC Federation.
Kadaga gave the team an assurance that lawmakers will discuss their proposals and report back.
"The 10th Parliament is winding up in a few weeks so it will be difficult for us to provide responses immediately. The 11th Parliament will undertake that discussion under the leadership of the Chairperson of EAC committee," said Kadaga.
She was however quick to add that the Federation should focus on addressing challenges of cross border trade, citing the recent incident in which the Kenyan government banned export of maize.
"The challenges of Uganda as a landlocked country need to be addressed, the Common Market is not working well. What will happen with the Federation," Kadaga said.
The Vice Chairperson of the EAC committee, Agnes Ameede pointed out funding gaps within member states saying such challenges need to be addressed by the Federation.
"Current funding is done by individual states and their budgets are above the funding," she said.
Justice Odoki explained that the proposed Federation is aimed at strengthening the EAC integration, politically.
"At present we are dealing with issues of the Customs Union, Common Market and monetary union. These are economic measures to strengthen integration, but what about that political level," he said adding that, "federation means we have a political entity uniting the states and being able to implement all these economic measures'.
Amos Wako, Senator Busia County and Attorney General Emeritus Kenya, said that the Federation builds confidence by enabling customs unions, common markets and monetary unions to work better.
"The Federation could also promote regular engagements between national parliaments and the East African Legislative Assembly thereby strengthening the national parliaments," he added.
Political Federation is the ultimate goal of the EAC Regional Integration, the fourth step after the Customs Union, Common Market and Monetary Union.
This is provided for under Article 5(2) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community and founded on three pillars: common foreign and security policies, good governance and effective implementation of the prior stages of Regional Integration.