Nairobi County Deputy Governor Njoroge Muchiri has pledged support to the drafters of the East Africa Community (EAC) Political Confederation Constitution.
Speaking during the National stakeholders EAC Constitution consultation forum at Safari Park Nairobi, the Deputy Governor said, as a county, Nairobi will continue to collaborate closely with the EAC because it is a vital partner in delivering services to the people.
He further highlighted progress made in the city in according citizens an opportunity to participate in decisions affecting them. He noted that Article 10 of the Constitution of Kenya and Section 115(1) of the County Government Act provides for public involvement and engagement in making decisions affecting them.
“As a Government, under the leadership of H.E Governor Sakaja Arthur Johnson, after being sworn in office, we embarked on a journey to correct a majority of the wrongs written by our predecessors and one of the resolutions we came up with was to involve “Wanjiku” fully in the decision-making process, from the initial stage to the very last stage of implementation.” He said
“Before we took an oath of office there was a lot of outcry for not involving the public, and where most people felt like they were only required to rubber stamp implementation of projects which they had little or no say about in terms of priority and allocation. I can confidently say that the scales have tilted, and even though the scope is wide, the number of successful Public Participation Forums we have conducted is a clear testimony that we are on the right track and we will not relent,” added Njoroge
In his remarks, the Chairman of the East African Community, Team of Constitutional Experts, Justice Dr. Benjamin Odoki stressed that the purpose of the Federation was to strengthen the integration of the seven partner Countries namely Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Justice Odek added that Citizens’ views and contributions would not be taken for granted to further strengthen the Community in the process of moving from an EAC treaty to an EAC Constitution.
Article 5 of The East African Community Treaty, bestowed the East African Community (EAC) with a core mandate to widen and deepen cooperation in political, economic, social and cultural fields, research and technology, defense, security, legal and judicial affairs among the partner states for their mutual benefit.
The Treaty further provided for integration through the establishment of a Customs Union, a Common Market, a Monetary Union, and ultimately a Political Federation.
Political Federation is the ultimate goal of EAC Regional Integration and the fourth pillar is further established on three pillars, namely: -common foreign and security policies, good governance, and effective implementation of the prior stages of Regional Integration.
During the 18th Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State Political Confederation was adopted as a Transition Model for the East African Political Federation.
The Summit further directed the Council of Ministers to constitute a team of Constitutional Experts and draft the Constitution for the EAC Political Confederation to be tabled in the succeeding Summit.
The event today brought together Members of County Assemblies and Members of Executive from the Counties of Nairobi, Machakos, Makueni, and Kajiado as well as Constitutional Experts, the Business Community, Religious Organisations, Academia, Media, and Special interest groups to fulfill their mandate as EAC citizens and Government Authorities in the drafting the EAC constitution.
The discussions will be conducted in 9 regions in the Country targeting participation from all 47 Counties.
Nairobi County’s 2nd in command observed that the constitutional development process needed to be guided by certain principles that would ensure inclusivity, transparency, and accountability, the need to have broad-based consultations with all stakeholders including civil society organizations, political parties, and citizens.
This would ensure that the views of all East Africans are taken into account in the constitutional development process.
In the same vein, the Deputy Governor highlighted the need to have clear timelines and a roadmap for the constitutional development process, to ensure that the process was not derailed or delayed by unforeseen circumstances.
This would provide certainty to all stakeholders on when they can expect to see progress towards the establishment of a political confederation, and finally, the need to have an independent body tasked with overseeing the constitutional development process.
The teams present submitted their joint written Submissions from the issues contained in the National Public Background Paper.
The Nairobi County team was represented by the Office of County Attorney, Finance, Boroughs and Sub-County Administration, City Culture Arts, Tourism, ECD, and Vocational training.