By Lusekelo Philemon
Members of the East African Legislative Assembly on Thursday called on Partner States to heighten the war against wildlife poaching, saying the sector is on the verge of extinction.
Kenyan EALA member Abubakr Ogle said that wildlife in the region were in danger of extinction.
“Only last week, two precious rhinos were killed at the Lake Nakuru National Park and there is need to provide adequate protection to wildlife,” Ogle said.
Tanzanian EALA member Shyrose Bhanji also described the situation as terrible, needing serious measures by the Partner States.
Countries in the region need to come up with a collective strategy to address the deadly challenge that threatens jobs in the region that are created by the tourism sector, she stated.
EALA members also commended the Chair of the Summit of EAC Heads of State, President Uhuru Kenyatta for an insightful delivery of the State of EAC address in Arusha, on Tuesday this week.
The House debated on the speech terming it concise and one that elaborated on key policy issues for the region.
The motion moved by the Minister for EAC, Republic of Uganda, Shem Bageine on behalf of the Chair of the Council of Ministers, Phyllis C. Kandie was widely supported by the legislators.
Bageine remarked that the speech had called for full and systematic implementation of the pillars of integration.
The minister termed the address as pivotal in addressing matters of integration.
“From this perspective, the president gave a broad, knowledgeable and insightful outline of the Community’s principal priorities and areas of focus.
This was well in line with the responsibility of the summit to give general directions and impetus as to the development of the Community," Bageine elaborated.
The region was eager to consolidate action on the Common Market Protocol and within appropriate time to commence on the implementation of the Monetary Union Protocol, he said.
The council was committed to strengthening the integration process and it would address perennial problems facing the process, he said.
The chairperson of the Council of the Ministers further informed the Assembly of EAC’s desire to complete on-going negotiations with COMESA and SADC on the free trade area projections.
During debate, Dora Byamukama congratulated President Uhuru Kenyatta for his appeal to the member states that regional security forces work more to curb the wildlife menace and said this would shore up tourism numbers.
“It is comforting to know the summit is concerned about the depletion of rhinos among other wildlife. This is commendable”, she said.
Abubakar Zein lauded efforts being undertaken by the summit towards removing non-tariff barriers especially reduced police roadblocks, to spur trade.
He remarked that the integration process should be people-centred, describing the summit’s desire to bring into force peace and security instruments as key.
“The decision to amend the treaty for the establishment of the EAC is worthy and I call upon the region when the time comes to strengthen the legislature and judiciary including expansion of the jurisdiction of the EACJ,” he urged.
Leonce Ndarubagiye rallied for strong structures and models of the political federation to be put in place to secure the future of the region. For his part, Ogle lauded President Kenyatta for his dynamism, saying his contribution to the progress at EAC was remarkable.
“Within one month of his election last year, the president issued a directive for the removal of 38 roadblocks between Mombasa and Malaba, a commendable step,” he said.
Dan Kidega hailed the people-centred approach of the president.
“He has a free will, interacts well with the members and the media,” he said.
As the last pillar of integration, political federation was a sure step of galvanising the gains of integration, he added.