EALA to expedite the enactment of the EAC Youth Council Law

By Eddie Ssejjoba

The bill recognises that partner states have diverse laws and policies regarding the youth in their territories and therefore seeks to harmonize these laws and regulations in the community.

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The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) is pushing to expedite the enactment of the East African Community (EAC) Youth Council Bill 2017 into law to embrace the full participation of young people in the affairs of the region.
According to the Speaker of EALA, Martin Ngoga, the bill recognises that partner states have diverse laws and policies regarding the youth in their territories and therefore seeks to harmonize these laws and regulations in the community.
"Definitely, this law, which is similarly premised on Article 120 of the EAC Treaty, shall once enacted, take precedence over other national laws of the same context, advance and enhance the mainstream of youth issues in all development policies and programs in the community," the speaker stated in a speech read for him on Monday by Kennedy Musyoka, a member of the EALA at the opening of the second EAC Youth Leadership (YouLead) Summit 2018.
The five-day summit, which opened at the MS Training Centre for Development Cooperation (MS TCDC) in Arumeru district, Arusha Tanzania, was organised by EAC Secretariat in collaboration with MS TCDC and the German International Cooperation (GIZ).
This year's summit, with a theme, "Youth Political and Economic Inclusion: Scenario for Sustainable Regional Integration", attracted youth leaders from the six EAC partner states including Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and hosts Tanzania and civil society organisations.
According to Ngoga, EALA ‘is aware that in order to meet the needs of our young generation and to secure our long-term developments as the region, we need to make real investments in their training and employment'. He said the summit was another milestone in the integration agenda.
Dennis Namara, a Ugandan legislator said that EALA was aware that the youth were demanding for more participation in the activities of EAC and pledged that MPs would give them full support.
He noted that there were 17 institutions of EAC including boards, commissions, but there was no representation of young people and offered to push for its amendment to include youth representation.
"It is one of the areas that we need to amend the treaty since we are coming up with the EAC Youth Bill, we shall ensure we emphasize the youth mainstreaming within the EAC," he stated.
He added that cognizant that the youth constitute over 70% of the population in the region, they ought to allow them to be part and parcel of the integral process of the integration and advocated for them to have a stronger voice in the affairs of the EAC.
Ivan Atuyambe, the summit director called for the formulation of the EAC Youth Council, which he said would be different from the national youth councils in the various partner states.
 "At a regional level we do not have a platform where the youth have a political legitimacy, without that council, everything the youth discuss is not politically legitimate at a regional level because there is no formal structure for these discussions to take place," he stated.
To ensure this, he explained, they needed to ensure that there was a national youth council in every member state and through them, they would elect regional representatives.
He urged the delegates to advocate for the establishment of these councils in their respective states through which they will elect from among themselves delegates to the regional council.
The summit was attended by Jerry Muro, the District Commissioner of Arumeru                               
About YouLead:
It is one of the platforms initiated in 2017 and currently part of the structured youth engagement in policy and leadership processes of the EAC as provided by the Consultative Dialogue Framework, said Duncan Karari, the Communications Manager, GIZ.   
 According to Karari, the forum implements provisions of the 2016 EAC Youth Policy, priority 14, which mandates the EAC Secretariat to build networks and partnerships to institute an annual youth leaders' forum with the EAC Secretary General. Ends