Composition and Mandate of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA)
The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) was inaugurated on the 30th of November 2001 by Heads of State of the original three East African Community Partners States.
It is one of the several organs of the East African Community (EAC), an Arusha-based regional bloc.
The legislative assembly works alongside other organs including the East African Court of Justice to deliver peace and prosperity to East African people.
Composition of the East African Legislative Assembly
The East African Legislative Assembly is constituted as follows:
- 9 Elected Members from each of the 7 EAC Partner States, totaling 63.
- 9 Ex-officio Members who include Ministers of each Partner State responsible for regional cooperation.
- The Secretary General of the EAC and the Counsel to the Community are also Ex-officio Members.
- Assistant Ministers may participate in the Assembly when Ministers are not present.
- With the recent admission of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the membership now stands at 72.
The composition of the East African Legislative Assembly is spelled out in articles 48 and 50 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC.
Members are elected by the parliaments of their respective countries. These members, however, are not members of those parliaments.
The composition of the East African Legislative Assembly dominated conversations in the aftermath of Kenya’s 2022 general election.
At the center of the controversial election of members were Miss Winnie Odinga and Mr. Kennedy Musyoka Kalonzo.
Being daughter and son to Kenya’s former prime minister and vice president respectively, their elections attracted scrutiny in light of their parents’ stature in Kenya. The two were, however, elected to represent Kenya in the regional parliament.
Mandate and functions of the East African Legislative Assembly
The legislative organ of the East African Community has an array of functions that include;
- Considering, debating, and approving the EAC budget.
- Working in coordination with parliaments in partner states to address matters relating to the Community.
- Consideration of annual reports that may touch on finances and activities by the Community, as well as any other report coming from the Council of Ministers.
- Discussing all matters pertaining to the Community and making recommendations to the Council for implementation.
- Establish any committee or committees as it deems necessary and formulate operating procedures for these committees.
The East African Legislative Assembly is an empowered institution that works through committees that deal with specific clusters of issues. These committees include;
- The Accounts Committee;
- The Committee on Legal, Rules, and Privileges;
- The Committee on Agriculture, Tourism and Natural Resources;
- The Committee on Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution;
- The Committee on Communication, Trade and Investment and
- The Committee on General Purpose.
The Committees have the responsibility of overseeing the implementation of the EAC Development Strategy in the special areas of cooperation that fall under their docket.