The bill is set to be presented to the EAC Council of Ministers for review and endorsement in the near future.
The two-day meeting was presided over by EAC deputy secretary general (DSG) in charge of political federation, Beatrice Kiraso.
Opening the session, Kiraso said the conference aimed at
ensuring that the draft presented a balance in the crucial areas of fundamental human and legal rights, accountability, gender equality, constitutional matters and member-state laws.
The seminar further sought to help synchronize statutes and constitutions of EAC member states to ensure consistency and balance in matters pertaining to human rights.
Delegates dwelt on corruption and ethics, rule of laws and the distribution of political power in member states.
“One cannot speak about good governance if there are laws that violate human rights in a member state or (if) there is rampant corruption that negates accountability,” said Kibaso.
She further cited political conflicts, lack of the rule of laws, interference among the different pillars of government (especially between the executive and the judiciary) as some of the factors keeping the EAC from making progress on good governance.
Political bickering was also seen as a sticking point in good governance debates, especially the question of whether members of parliament in Tanzania and Uganda should be allowed to serve in ministerial positions, according to the DSG.
According to Kibaso, political federation will not come easily to East Africans because there are many fundamental issues on which there is disagreement, all of which boils down to the question of good governance.
She added that EAC member states will have to resolve political conflicts, eliminate corruption, establish proper democracy and resolve security and defence matters before they are able to support Pan-East Africa political parties.
Furthermore, she called on EAC citizens not to worry about whether they’ll see any benefit from full federal integration, saying it will allow greater economic, cultural and social integration, creating many more opportunities for local residents, particularly in the area of employment.
This sentiment was echoed by one Rwandan representative, who said that discussions such as the shared draft bill on good governance would expedite development in member states.
Another stakeholder and deputy director in Tanzania of East African Affairs, Amani Mwatonoka, specifically asked Tanzanians to view the process with a more positive outlook because the draft protocol would bring the country noticeable progress in the area of public governance.
This is the third and last such conference, according to Kibaso, as the protocol draft bill would be presented to the EAC secretariat in Zanzibar on June 8, this year.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN