Regional speakers eye EAC’s organ slot

SPEAKERS with regional assemblies have reiterated the bureau’s commitment of becoming another East African Community (EAC) organ.

East African Speakers Bureau chairperson Jemma Nunu Kumba said here recently that the speakers were still eager to feature as an EAC’s organ.

“The speaker’s bureau isn’t formalised yet as an organ of the EAC but we are in the process of pushing for that,” said Ms Kumba, who also doubles as the speaker of the South Sudanese National Assembly when she paid the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) a courtesy call.

She assured the EAC of further engagements with its organs as it mulls over plans of incorporating with the regional economic bloc.

“We need to tighten our integration to realise our dreams as EAC,” she urged.

Ms Kumba further commended the EACJ for all the cases determined, noting regional Parliaments work of the Court in ensuring justice in the EAC Integration.

In his rejoinder, EACJ President Justice Nestor Kayobera observed that many cases filed at the regional court could have been avoided if partner states and particularly the speakers had knowledge of the court’s mandate.

“No country has ever opposed our decisions but it is still important to acclimatise with EACJ’s functions and jurisdictions,” Justice Kayobera insisted.

According to the EACJ President, the regional court has handled more than 700 cases since its inception, with 107 cases still pending.

He disclosed that the court had decided a number of cases against the Governments, such as Cases on the Appointment of Members of the East African Legislative Assembly among other cases.

Justice Kayobera strongly emphasised that the Court belonged to East Africans, deeming the visit as a crucial step in understanding the cases.

The EACJ is composed of a total of 11 Judges, that is six in the First Instance Division and five in the Appellate Division.

He added that the Republic of South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo cannot appoint Judges to the EACJ Appellate Division until the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community is amended to allow more Judges be appointed to that Division, as new Member States join the Community.

The EAC is home to an estimated 283.7 million citizens, of which over 30 per cent is urban population. With a land area of 4.8 million square kilometres and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 305.3 billion US dollars, its realisation bears great strategic and geopolitical significance and prospects for the renewed and reinvigorated EAC.

As one of the fastest growing regional economic blocs in the world, the EAC is widening and deepening cooperation among the partner states in various key spheres for their mutual benefit. These spheres include political, economic and social.

At the moment, the regional integration process is in full swing as reflected by the encouraging progress of the East African Customs Union, the establishment of the Common Market in 2010 and the implementation of the East African Monetary Union Protocol.

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