A Critical Appraisal of the Accountability Mechanism of East African Legislative Assembly
Abstract: Democratic accountability requires that governments must first be known and popularly accepted, with citizens empowered to effect change by preventing subjugation. This paper analyzes the role of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) in ensuring accountability within the East African Community (EAC). In an attempt to dispel the criticism levied against the Assembly about its functionality, this paper reviews various literature the concept of accountability, as well as the role of parliamentary institutions, with a specific focus on the accountability function. The paper presents how different relationships coupled with the responsibility to provide information, and enforceability cumulate into practice of accountability. The paper then seeks to establish how EALA has ensured accountability in its activities and functions. From its study, the paper finds the Assembly exercises its accountability and oversight functions through sensitization campaigns, administration of public petitions, parliamentary question and answer sessions, and inter-parliamentary sessions. However, despite having undertaken a pro-active role in ensuring accountability within the region, conscious efforts must be undertaken to enforce and implement its recommendations.
Key Words: Accountability, East African Legislative Assembly, East African Community, Democracy, Governance Transparency, parliaments