East Africa: Ministers Plan to Amend Treaty as DR Congo Joins Bloc

The admission of the Democratic Republic of Congo into the EAC has triggered amendments to the Treaty establishing the bloc, including proposals to change its decision-making process.

The 44th Extra Ordinary Council of Ministers held on November 21, and chaired by Kenya’s EAC minister Aden Mohamed pitched plans to amend sections of the Treaty to accommodate the DRC.

According to Mr Mohamed, the Council recommended the review of the Consensus Protocol to the Summit to make it easier for EAC meetings to take place.

“According to the EAC Treaty, it was written for three countries. Consensus made a lot of sense for Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. But since then, more countries have joined,” he said.

The Council has now proposes that decisions of the summit will be by consensus, failing which by a two-thirds majority will carry the day.

The Ministers also recommended that the rules of procedure of the summit and the council should be amended to enable a quorum of two thirds of the members of the summit and council.

There are also proposals on how the budget of the community will be funded. Arrears were about $33 million as of April 2020.

The council also proposed a reduction of the number of East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) MPs from each country from nine to five.

But the move has already met stiff opposition from a section of the MPs who are opposed to the council’s decision.

“The Summit has not given anyone powers. Even the Council of Ministers cannot propose amendments to the Treaty unless the Summit gives them a directive,” said Denis Namara, chair of the Eala General Purpose Committee on budget.

Kenya’s Eala MP Abdikadir Aden termed the move as malicious.

“I have seen claims that it is costly to run EALA. It is absolute fabrication. I chaired the budget committee and the amount allocated to EALA is only a fraction of the total EAC budget,” said Aden.

“EALA takes away a very small portion of the total EAC budget. When the community’s budget is at $110 million, EALA is about $16 million and now it is $13 million, we are talking of a percentage of less than 16 at any given time.”

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