Public Communications Unit
The State Department of East African Integration escalated the integration sensitization through its Legal Unit to County executives, Members of County Assemblies, Lawyers and Border officers from Tana River, Kilifi, Mombasa, Taita Taveta and Kwale Counties.
The exercise, termed by the stakeholders as a vital step towards understanding of the critical role they played in the integration process is one of the many of its kind mounted by the State Department to advance the integration agenda.
Underscoring the importance of such engagements while opening the three day workshop on behalf of the Principal Secretary, Mr. Barrack Ndegwa, the State Department’s Integration Secretary, called on collaborative efforts for the benefit of a people.
Ndegwa enumerated the milestones so far made indicating that the challenges faced towards integration were surmountable hence the need to intensify such engagements. He further called upon concerted efforts especially by the County Assemblies to ensure consideration of the regional laws and policies in their oversight and legislative roles in their respective Counties.
The Members of County Assemblies were identified as key stakeholders with a clarion call to ensure they used their grass root influence to educate the electorate on the gains of an integrated EAC region.
The workshop extensively delved on matters of Cross Border legal practice with a challenge to lawyers to join their professional counterparts in Engineering, Accountancy and Teaching who already had adopted Mutual Recognition Agreement design. It’s encouraging to note through Law Society of Kenya that a draft had been developed and Law Societies of partner states were still consulting on the modalities of its implementation.
The Sensitization kicked off with a consultative meeting with the hosting Governor, Amason Kingi which tracked the progress so far made in EAC Integration in critical areas of co-operation.
Notably, the Head of Legal Unit, Ms. Rose Nyakwana explained that the harmonization of national laws where the initial twenty seven pieces of legislation had been subjected to public participation severally and several amendments effected in accordance to the views of the public.
She indicated that only four legislations had not been amended due to some concerns by stakeholders on their consistence with the implementation of the East African Community Common Market Protocol.
The delegation gave status of the four pillars of integration of great impact being the waiver of fees on work-permit across Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. Also noted was the progress made on Customs and Monetary Unions. The ultimate Political Federation was intensively discussed due to the nature of Kenyan devolved governments, unique in the region.
The Senior Assistant Director in Political Affairs, Ms. Judy Njeru who led the discussions informed that the Council of Ministers in March, 2016 recommended a Political Confederation a move supported by the Governor urging EAC to consider Counties as building blocks to East African Community Integration.
He made a passionate plea to the State Department of EAC Integration to purposefully engage the Counties since the Treaties were negotiated for purposes of implementation in the counties and other relevant institutions. Kingi requested for the quick fast tracking of the Bagamoyo-Horohoro- Malindi Road terming it as a key development project to the region.
The four day workshop ended with a commitment from all stakeholders to synergize their efforts in pursuit of a fully integrated region.