Speaking shortly before the legislators passed the protocol, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi said partner states are also required to protect funds of the community against attachment, theft and any other form of interference by executives and administrators.
“With this protocol, assets and properties of the EAC shall remain under the community. It will also standardize the status, privileges and immunities of community employees,” the minister noted.
Prof Kabudi explained that in the case of a dispute, the protocol insists that partner states will settle disputes through mutual understanding, and when not able to resolve, the dispute will be referred to the East African Court of Justice.
In the event of the community collapsing, partner states would be required to use Articles 145, 146, 147 and 149 of the Treaty for the EAC, he stated, elaborating that Article 145 provides conditions for withdrawal of a member, Article 146 sets out the suspension of a member and Article 147 provides for expulsion of a member.
“We have built a strong community. It is our responsibility to ensure it remains strong,” he said, underlining that countries which joined the community after it was established by three founding members signed the Treaty of Accession which binds them with the EAC Treaty. Those which joined later are Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.
He however said all the retirees of the collapsed community were paid through deed of settlement. He said the government paid 117bn/- to all the 31,831 EAC retirees.
“Under deed of settlement the retirees were required to file their complaints within six months, and no one showed up. Some 5598 retirees emerged and filed a court case claiming to have not been paid the sum of 2.15trn/-. The court ruled in favour of the government knowing all the former EAC workers were paid,” he stated.
Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Salome Makamba said as the House passed the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities which includes protection of employees, the government has to pay all the former EAC retirees.
Makamba said the protocol is crucial since provides protection to persons working in the community. It was vital that the countries put in place an arrangement for handling of assets if it came to pass that the community collapses, she asserted.
Objectives of the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of the East African Community (EAC) were approved by the 16th ordinary summit meeting in February 2015. The protocol itself was signed by ministers responsible for East African Cooperation in April 2019.