Search for Kenya’s next EALA Representatives kicks off

The Process of looking for Kenya’s next set of representatives to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) kicked off in earnest this morning, October 26.

This follows the first meeting of the Joint Committee on the Selection of Members to the EALA.

The Joint Committee which was established by the two Houses is co-chaired by Immediate former EALA MP. and now MP for Kipipiri Constituency, the Hon. Wanjiku Muhia, and Makueni Senator, Sen. Daniel Maanzo.

The Election of Members to the East African Legislative Assembly is guided by the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community and the East African Legislative Assembly Elections Act, 2011. Articles 50 and 51 of the Treaty provide for the Election of Members of the Assembly and the Tenure of Office of Elected Members respectively.

Specifically, Article 51(1) provides that an elected member of the Assembly shall hold office for five years and is eligible for re-election for a further term of five years.

Further, the East African Legislative Assembly Elections Act, 2011, provides for the election of Members to the Assembly while Section 4(1) of the Act outlines that the election of Members to the Assembly shall be conducted in accordance with the rules of procedure of the Legislatures of the Partner States.

Further, section 4(2) requires that Member States elect nine members to the Assembly. The election should be held within ninety (90) days before the expiry of the date of the outgoing Assembly.

With respect to who qualifies to be elected to EALA, Rule 3 provides that a person shall not qualify to vie for election unless he or she meets the requirements for election set out under Article 50(2) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community, Article 99 of the Constitution and section 22 of the Elections Act, 2011.

A person shall be deemed qualified to be elected a Member of the Assembly by the National Assembly of a Partner State if the person-

(a) is a citizen of that Partner State;
(b) is qualified to be elected a member of the National Assembly of that Partner State under its Constitution;
(c) is not holding office as a Minister in that Partner State;
(d) is not an officer in the service of the Community; and
(e) has proven experience or interest in consolidating and furthering the aims and objectives of the Community.

Article 50 of the Treaty provides that the National Assembly of each Partner State shall elect, not from among its Members, nine members of the Assembly, who shall represent as much as it is feasible, the various political parties represented in the National assembly, shades of opinion, gender and other special interest groups in that Partner State, in accordance with such procedure as the National Assembly of each Partner State may determine.

In Kenya’s case, however, the election of these representatives is carried out by the bicameral Parliament.

Following the meeting of the Joint Select Committee on Election of Members to EALA, interested persons now await notification by the Clerks of the Senate and the National Assembly on the nomination dates and the rules governing the election.

Candidates will be expected to liaise with their preferred political parties for nomination, while those interested in vying as independent candidates may submit their applications to either Clerks.

The nine Legislators are expected to report to Arusha, the seat of the regional legislature by 20th December, when the life of the current EALA comes to an end. Already, all the Member Partners save for Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo have elected their representatives to the regional assembly.

The East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) is the independent legislative arm of the East Africa Community (EAC), established under Article 9 of the EAC Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. EALA membership comprises of nine (9) members elected by each partner state.The Assembly plays a critical role in the furtherance of the EAC objectives.

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