Kenyans should be allowed to elect EALA MPs directly
According to the Treaty that established the East African Community, it is the preserve of only the elected MPs of the EAC member states to elect the representatives. But it is high time the method and formula for electing the EALA MPs should be relooked at, to allow the citizens to directly elect their regional representatives.
When citizens are given a chance to elect them directly, the process becomes less political. Political interests are now at play. If citizens elect them, the process will be more objective and deserving individuals will be given a chance to serve in the regional Parliament.
At the moment, Kenya is entitled to nine slots in the EALA, meaning should citizens be allowed to elect MPs directly, a new formula will have to be applied, so that all the regions are represented. For instance, Parliament can decide and say that the political parties should nominate candidates from the eight former provinces, then these candidates will campaign for votes across the country as opposed to the case now, where the electors are only the Senators and the Members of the National Assembly.
The one remaining seat will either be reserved for the youth, women or people with disabilities.
The EALA has not had sittings for months now, due to political differences between Jubilee and the then Cord (now NASA) and maybe if Kenyans were electing them directly, there could not have been the stalemate that has paralyzed the activities of the assembly.
The EALA plays a critical role in laws and polices aimed at the integration of the EAC region. Previous assemblies have had challenges here and there. The EAC governments should commit themselves to the activities of the EALA, especially in funding it. Kenya has been done its best in meeting its financial obligations. During his inauguration, President Uhuru Kenyatta came out clearly on his commitment to the integration of the region – socially, economically and politically – and therefore the next crop of EALA MPs should ensure these aspirations are implemented.
There are unfounded fears among some member- states over the political merger and these should be among the MPs’ agenda.
There is an ambitious proposal that in future we should have one President for the EAC region and the MPs who will be elected next week should start addressing those fears that threaten a smooth integration.