Arusha in Tanzania must be sharing one characteristic with Las Vegas in America – secrecy. It appears that what is seen and heard in Arusha remains in Arusha, in sync with the unofficial motto of Vegas.
For while the general portrayal of the Arusha-based East African Legislative Assembly, EALA, is that of a not-too competent, wasteful group, it now emerges that there is a lot of great work being executed by its MPs.
Over the weekend in Uganda, for instance, the ruling party resolved to maintain the same members it sent to the EALA five years ago for the new term, giving the reason for this as “their exceptional performance”.
And that is official, stated in the document released by the party after its process to choose members to send to Arusha.
Yet, on Monday, Parliament Speaker Anita Among poured out her country’s frustration to the judges of the East African Court of Justice over the unfair treatment inflicted on Uganda by some East African Community member states in naked disregard of the existing protocols governing trade in the common market.
Uganda’s frustration with the non-application of EAC’s protocols is separately shared by other member countries in the economic bloc.
The same day Uganda’s Speaker was lamenting, EAC Secretary-General Dr Peter Mathuki hailed the government and people of the Democratic Republic of Congo for speedily concluding the internal and constitutional processes to ratify the Treaty of Accession and depositing the Instrument of Ratification well ahead of the schedule with him.
DRC’s Foreign Affairs MInister Christophe Lutundula Apala Pen’ Apala handed over the instrument in Arusha two and a half months ahead of schedule!
In August, Arusha’s august House will thus be joined by the seventh team sent by the august House of Kinshasa.
The expanded EALA will embark on another phase to deliver the dream of nearly 300 million citizens who constitute one of the poorest mass groups of the world.
Yes, international indicators list Burundi and South Sudan as the poorest nations on earth, with DR Congo as the worst place to be for women and girls.
The six dozen legislators so carefully picked by the elected legislators of the seven national parliaments of East Africa will, over the next five years, use their exceptional abilities to create conditions that will lift us from those shameful assessments.
Fortunately, the cream of East Africans going to Arusha next month will be legislating and exercising oversight for one of the world’s resource-richest regions. So their work should be easy.
The East African Community is an economic community, which makes the coordination and utilisation of resources for the benefit of its people its main reason for existence.
The cream of East Africans heading to Arusha soon will have, at the back of their minds, the enormous wealth in the region lying astride the Equator from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean that can be jointly harnessed to uplift the lives of about 300 million people, and the change can be noticeably attained over the five years.
The seven EAC members are separately attaining different levels of advancement, this being done in silos. It can be safely assumed that the reason the seven parliaments are selecting some of the best brains in their countries to go join colleagues in Arusha is to optimise the efforts in their countries for the rapidest development possible.
We have marvelled at Tanzania’s testing its electric railway, so we don’t have to sing about Addis Ababa’s light electric rail anymore. Just imagine if such compartmentalised projects are instead done jointly by the seven-member states!
The EAC would be the world model for clean energy transportation, since all the resources required for this are within the region. We trust that the realisation of these dreams will be accelerated by the new energy of the cream team starting work in Arusha next month.
Buwembo is a Kampala-based journalist. E-mail:[email protected]