EACSOF developed a proposed framework for strengthening EALA – CSO collaboration, which was developed with representatives from each national chapter including 2 meetings in Arusha during November 2013 and Nairobi during Feb 2014. This initiative builds on the already existing EAC – CDF (Consultative Dialogue Framework)
On May 26, 2015, Arusha, Tanzania: EACSOF delegation paid a courtesy call on the EALA Speaker, Rt. Hon Daniel F. Kidega and presented the proposed collaboration framework. The EALA Speaker noted that the EAC Treaty had placed a premium on the role of the civil society in the integration process. “We are keen to work more closely with the civil society. This is not a favour but a responsibility. My Office shall thus critically look at the proposed framework, propose amendments and see how we can link up together more effectively”, Rt Hon Kidega said.
The Secretary General of EACSOF, Zaa Twalangeti, said as the anchor of the civil society, EACSOF was committed to ensuring EALA’s work is ‘felt on the ground’.
“Under the envisaged collaboration, EACSOF hopes that an institutional structure with clear linkages at national and regional level shall be established and that with it, a fora for continuous dialogue between the parties will also be realized,” Mr Twalangeti remarked.
The areas of engagement include participation in the EALA Plenary Sessions and in the annual regional meetings such as the Inter-Parliamentary Relations Seminar (Nanyuki Series), engagement with EALA National Chapters and the establishment of an annual CSO-EALA (Speaker’s) Forum where ideas and best practices are exchanged. EALA has held several public fora and outreach activities in the Partner States in a bid to connect with the citizens of East Africa and hear their voices in the integration agenda. Jane Munyoki, Council Member, Kenya, said the proposed civil society- EALA relationship would boost policy and legislative initiatives. She stated that civil society was keen to contribute to research and thus enhance the work of the regional Assembly. Aimable Mwananawe from Rwanda said the role of civil society in strengthening integration was vital as envisaged and provided for under the EAC Treaty.
EACSOF Secretariat is following up on the way forward on the Draft CSO-EALA Engagement Framework which has been submitted to the EALA General Purpose Committee.