By Joyce Namutebi
The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has started the process of drafting a constitution for the political federation and developing the East African Community (EAC) constitution.
During her budget speech, Phyllis Kandie, the chairperson of the Council of Ministers, said the community will also make a comprehensive evaluation of the performance of the customs union, common market and monetary unions and other EAC protocols.
She observed that the move towards deeper economic integration in the community has gained new impetus with the signing of the Monetary Union protocol at the last EAC summit in Kampala.
The protocol, she added, is a milestone outlining a ten-year roadmap towards a single currency by the year 2024. Partner states are expected to conclude the ratification process by July, 2014. She also added that the EALA is formulating stern legislations to stem increasing poaching of wildlife in the region, among other initiatives.
The strategy, she stressed, focuses on enforcing tougher penalties, strengthening joint collaboration on law enforcement and capacity building of local communities to work jointly with law enforcement to protect wildlife resources.
“Due to the increase in poaching, partner states have reiterated their commitment to re-enforce measures to protect our wildlife, Kandie said in the speech to EALA MPs. The speech was read by the Tanzanian deputy minister of EAC, Dr. Abdalla Sadallah Abdallah. Kenya’s wildlife service last week arrested two people after seizing a huge haul of ivory of at least 114 poached elephants in the port city of Mombasa.
The find of 228 tusks and 74 ivory pieces, together weighing well over two tones, is thought to be biggest of its kind in the city so far this year, the wildlife service said.
In January, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) had a Congolese businessman arrested in connection to ivory it believes was smuggled into the country. URA impounded the ivory but the man went to court claiming ownership of the impounded 832 pieces of ivory from Bweyogerere near Kampala and won the case.
Kandie said a Bill on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management has been drafted to provide a legal framework for intervention and assistance to protect people, property, livelihoods and the natural environment affected by both natural and man-made disasters. It is expected to be considered by Council in August 2014.
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