The East African Legislative Assembly is conducting a 14-day assessment tour of the region’s transport corridors.
The lawmakers formed two teams each touring ports and border posts on the Northern and Central Corridors to assess operations. The teams will also visit the and the East African Community (EAC) institutions in the member countries.
The team inspecting the Northern Corridor began its tour at the Mombasa port in Kenya before heading for the capital Nairobi and thereon to Uganda and Rwanda.
The other team kicked off its tour of the Central Corridor in the semi-autonomous Tanzanian island of Zanzibar. The team will then proceed through Tanzania to Burundi and Rwanda.
“This tour will enable the assembly to get feedback and recommendations from citizens on their perception of the EAC integration process,” said Wanjiku Muhia, an Eala MP from Kenya. She is leading the delegation along the Central Corridor.
While in Zanzibar, the team visited the East Africa Kiswahili Commission (EAKC), one of EAC organs. The commission was established in 2015 to promote the use of Kiswahili as the region’s lingua franca.
“Communication is very essential in promoting the regional integration that’s why we are calling on the Secretariat to reduce the bureaucracy in order for the commission to realise its activities,” said Kenneth Simala, EAKC’s Executive Secretary.
Due to funding constraints occasioned by lack of remittance of money by some member states, services and operations of the EAC Secretariat and its organs have been crippled.
“Without being prejudicial to the findings of this tour we are however aware that there are challenges which include weak institutions that lack capacity to enforce sanctions against partner states that fail to implement the [EAC] protocols,” Ms Muhia said.
EAC integration has been hindered by non-tariff barriers and lack of commitment by member states in implementing common regional projects.
EAC member states are Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.