Joint East African Legislative Assembly parliamentarians, Kenya Chapter, and the National parliamentary Committee on Regional Integration held a one day sensitization programme on the East African Community Integration process for Lamu County stakeholders in Lamu, where leaders agreed to fully support the EAC treaties, Institutions and Organs.

They further agreed to seize opportunities as stakeholders in the integration process that may arise from the Integration journey. Lamu Governor Issa Timamy, in his opening remarks said counties, particularly those lying at our common borders with Kenya’s neighbors were significant stakeholders in the integration process and that the country can only reap full benefits of the EAC Integration if the border counties were involved in the integration journey.

Kenya is a signatory to the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community that came into effect in the year 2000. The State Department of East African Affairs under the ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism has the mandate of coordinating matters on East African Community (EAC) integration, among others. The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), which is one of the Organs of the EAC, has EALA Chapters in each of the five EAC Partner States, which work in close collaboration with ministries responsible for EAC affairs in the promotion of EAC integration.

The EALA Kenya Chapter has therefore been active in sensitization and awareness creation on EAC integration in general and specific ally on the Mandate and role of EALA. EALA Kenya Chapter County sensitization is laying emphasis on creating awareness on the benefits and opportunities that Kenyans could take advantage of in the regional integration process to improve their well being. EALA is also keen to engage County leadership on matters that could be taken to regional assembly for legislation or that could be articulated in the regional assembly to inform regional integration policy.

Governor Timamy called for public, private participation in the entire EAC integration process, saying programmes that transcend Kenya’s border and being implemented within the counties that border the country’s international borders should be fully beneficial to the residents. The Governor pointed that he plans to move a motion in his county so that fifteen per cent of the revenue that will be generated from the LAPPSET project under construction in his County should be ploughed back for the benefit of his residents.

Hon. Joseph Kiangoi of EALA said the earlier EAC collapsed ten years after it was formed because the leadership then did not involve the masses. After the revival of the current EAC, he added, several treaties; Customs Union, Monetary Union, have been signed to bind the Five-Member States.

The current chair of the EALA Kenya chapter Hon. Saoli Ole Nkanai said since the formation of the EAC, three objectives have been achieved, namely; the establishment of the EAC Customs Union, the EAC Common market; and the Monetary Union. Joint infrastructure development projects undertaken, e.g. Namanga/Athi River Road, and the free movement of stocks.

Mr. Nkanai enumerated other achievements within the EAC member states such as Capital markets development and cross-listing of stocks, Harmonization of the EAC axle load limit and reduction of national trade barriers.

Director of Political Affairs in the State Department of East African Affairs Mr. David Njoka said some of the achievements include Development of an EAC Regional Peace and Security Strategy; Establishment of for a for chiefs of police, Directors of CID and Directors of Operations and Intelligence and surveillance to combat cross border crime.

Butere M.P Andrew Tobosso, and EALA member Hon. Mumbi Ng’aru, said the EAC had so far established the East African Court of Justice, harmonized the procedures for granting work permits, and the regular EAC For a on harmonization of regional policies on Democracy, Governance, Human Rights and anti-corruption matters.

The public hearing forum was also addressed by the Lamu County Commissioner Mr. Frederick Ndambuki, Deputy Governor Eric Mugo, and several EALA, National Assembly parliamentarians, who stressed the importance of peace stability for business to thrive.