South Sudan government should create awareness on the East African Community (EAC) protocols among relevant stakeholders and the general public, a regional MP said.
The call emerged as South Sudanese legislators in the regional assembly (EALA) converged to assess status of the ratification and implementation of the existing EAC protocals and laws on Thursday.
Speaking at the meeting held in Juba, the Legal, Rules and Regulations committee chairperson in EALA, Ayason Mukulia Kennedy said one of their oversight functions is to assess the status of all protocols concluded by the EAC and the implementation of the laws of the community already in force.
“The main objective of this activity is to assess the reasons for delays in the ratification of concluded protocols and to assess the implementation of laws of the community by partner states,” he said.
The MP said South Sudan, which joined the EAC in April 2016, has so far ratified 14 protocols.
Before a state ratifies or accedes to a treaty in accordance with the provisions of the law of treaties, it has to complete some of the necessary procedures at the national level. These provisions are governed by national law or the constitution of that particular state.
Mukulia decried the low implementation of the protocols, saying it affects the country’s integration process.
“The method of implementation of protocols is a piece meal. They are not fully implemented and this affects integration process,” he stressed.
The lawmaker said more capacity building is needed in the country’s Ministry of Justice to ensure national laws conform to EAC protocals.
Mary Ajith, the Director for Legislative Drafting at the Ministry of Justice said South Sudan acceded to the EAC treaty by accession, becoming party to the treaty already in force among other states.
“This means South Sudan shall be bound by the treaty, all legislation and implement protocols, other agreements and policies,” she said.
The EAC is a regional intergovernmental organization of six partner states, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
In October 2019, EAC threatened to expel South Sudan over failure to pay its membership fee. All member states pay $8 million annually.
According to Article 146 of the EAC treaty, the summit may suspend a partner state from taking part in the activities of the bloc if that particular state fails to observe and fulfil the fundamental principles and objectives of the treaty including failure to meet financial commitments within a period of 18 months.