EALA MP confident regional assembly will pass gender, plastic bags Bills

From left: East African Legislative Assembly
From left: East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) MP Nancy Abisai, EALA Speaker Daniel Kidega and Society for International Development Deputy Managing Director Arthur Muliro during the launch of the State of East Africa in the Political Economy of Inequalities report on July 26, 2016. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

An East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) MP is confident two Bills on gender and plastic bags will be passed regional lawmakers resume sitting in Kampala, Uganda.

The Bills are 2016 EAC Gender Equality and Development Bill and the 2016 EAC Polythene Materials Control Bill.

The proposed gender law seeks to ensure gender equality, protection and development in the community.

The plastic bags Bill aims to provide a legal framework for preserving a clean and healthy environment by prohibiting the manufacturing, sale, importation and use of polythene materials.

EALA Kenya chapter chairperson Nancy Abisai said the Bills will go for second and third reading.

“We hope to pass the gender Bill when it comes to the floor of the House. It has gone through public participation and so it has already followed the due process,’’ she said on the sidelines of the legislators sensitization meeting at St Stephen ACK Hall in Marsabit County on Monday.

EALA is set to hold its session in Kampala later this month.

Women participation

Article 121 of the treaty that established the EAC recognises the significant contribution that women make towards socio-economic transformation and sustainable growth and the importance of full participation of women and men in the economic and social development of partner states.

She said the Bill seeks other aspects apart from representation such as health.

“People think the Bill is just about representation. It’s not. It has a lot more that is why it called EAC Gender Equality and Development Bill, ’she said.

The Bill was introduced during a sitting held in August 2016 in Arusha, Tanzania.

Kenya and Uganda, have been opposing the enactment of the Polythene Materials Control Bill not only on the basis that plastic bags are widely used for packaging but also on the argument that it would lead to massive loss of jobs and investment running into billions of dollars.

“We said we need to be given timeframe to help companies to reduce the percentage of plastic bags. We don’t want to affect employment within the industry. We hope when it comes up all the proposals that we have brought will be listened to,’’ she said.

EALA comprises representatives from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.