Zanzibar President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein is today scheduled to open the two-week session of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).
It is the Second Meeting of the Fifth Session of the Third Assembly. Briefing reporters about the sitting here yesterday, the EALA Speaker Mr Daniel Fred Kidega, said the members were happy to be in the islands and have hailed Dr Shein's acceptance to address them.
Mr Kidega said the 45 EALA members are expected to discuss and pass three key bills—the EAC Counter-Trafficking in Persons Bill 2016, the EAC Polythene Materials Control Bill 2016 and the EAC Gender Equality and Development Bill 2016.
He said the EAC Counter- Trafficking in Persons Bill 2016, seeks to provide a legal framework, develop common measures, strategies and programmes to the prevention of trafficking in persons and the perpetrators of such actions.
“Taking historical perspectives of this place, there can never be a better place other than Zanzibar to pass the proposed law. We seek to end this practice of our people, particularly young girls are taken abroad on the pretext of finding job, but end up being enslaved,” the Speaker said.
He added that EALA condemned the people behind the suffering and torture of young women abroad, as he appealed to the partner citizens and Ministry of foreign Affairs to work with ambassadors in respective region to ensure the EAC citizens, economically vulnerable, are in safe hands and in difficulties repatriated back home.
The EAC Counter-Trafficking Bill is being debated at a time when the region and the globe are reeling from major effects of counter-trafficking in persons, as most of the victims have travelled to find jobs abroad.
The EAC Polythene Materials Control Bill 2016, moved by Ms Patricia Hajabakiga, aims at providing a legal framework for the preservation of a clean and healthy environment through the prohibition of manufacturing, sale, importation and use of polythene materials.
While the EAC Gender Equality and Development Bill 2016 from Ms Nancy Abisai, sets out to make provision for gender equality, protection and development in the Community.
It seeks to consolidate and harmonise the various commitments on gender equality that have been made at regional, continental and international levels in the context of the EAC.
Mr Kidega informed reporters here that House is also expected to discuss a number of reports from committees including Communication, Trade and Investments; Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution and the Committee on Legal, Rules and Privileges; and Agriculture, Tourism and Natural Resources.
He urged them to take a critical role in forming and educating people about EAC” rated the best regional block in Africa, because the members of the assembly cannot reach the 140 million people without media commitment.
EALA sittings are held under the principle of rotation in line with Article 55 of the EAC Treaty. EALA meets at least once in every year at its headquarters in Arusha.