East African Integration Law Academic Trip To Arusha
On February 19, 2020, the East African Integration Law class embarked on a trip to Arusha. The aim of the trip was to visit the Namanga One-Stop Border Post and the East African Community (EAC) headquarters to observe and understand the practical elements of their functions beyond what is taught in the classroom. It was also an opportunity to ask questions about the actual implementation of EAC law in the face of political and social considerations that continually affect the relationship between partner states, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.
After being cleared to enter Tanzania, a customs officer on the Kenyan side, Mr. John Mutisya, gave an insightful presentation detailing the daily activities at the border. The students were taken through the procedures that cargo from the partner states and other states undergoes upon arrival. A few students were fortunate enough to analyse the machines that scan cargo through the Electronic Cargo System, which uses radiation technology to scan trucks so as to confirm that their contents match the mandatory manifest that must be produced. Mr. Mutisya also explained the consequences of smuggling illegal substances into the country. The class then had the opportunity to ask questions around the relationship between EAC law, and integration and border activities, after which we went on to Arusha.
The following day, the class made their way to the EAC headquarters, and were greeted by Mr. Bobi Odiko, Senior Public Relations Officer of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) who had been very instrumental in the planning of the trip and was host for the visit. After brief introductions, Mr. Odiko proceeded to make a presentation on the EAC, its history, the pillars of integration, the challenges and successes it has had so far.
During the presentation, the class asked questions leading to several in-depth discussions on emerging issues around the integration model of the Community. The students received several compliments about their level of understanding of the intricacies of the EAC and the issues at stake.
The students were also introduced to a Kenyan member of EALA, Hon. Kennedy Kalonzo, to discuss the role of EALA. He spoke on the history of EALA, how members are elected and the current affairs discussed in the parliament. He encouraged the students to take part in policymaking since the voice of youth is vital for the future. The students were also introduced to the Ugandan member of EALA, Hon. Mukasa Mbide, who told them about his experiences at EALA and the matters he has dealt with at the East African Court of Justice (EACJ). He led a discussion on the need to empower the court and the secretariat to promote independence of the bodies within the EAC. The visit ended with a photo session and a presentation of copies of the Treaty of the Establishment of the East African Community. The visit ended the next day at around midday, when the class departed for Nairobi.
This article was written by Annette Muindi, Malcom Kibati, Caroline Kihara and Patricia Ouma.
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