The domestication of the East African Community (EAC) Mediation Agreement of 2000 is on track to facilitate payment of terminal benefits to former employees of the defunct East African Community.
This was revealed by the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs, Rebecca Kadaga during the plenary sitting held on Tuesday, 03 October 2023. “There is an enabling framework to facilitate the payment. The outstanding task is verifying the genuine claimants with involvement of all stakeholders to ensure that only legitimate and bona fide claimants are paid,” said Kadaga.
The EAC collapsed in 1977 when the community comprised of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
The Mediation Agreement was signed by the former partner states in May 1984 but according to Kadaga, attempts to domesticate it failed twice in 1990 and 2004, with none of the two Bills being presented to Parliament.
Kadaga said that between 2019 and 2023, the Ministry of East African Community Affairs has verified and paid a total of 586 claimants. “For 2023/2024, the ministry has so far verified 31 additional files worth US$93,533. Another batch of 1,297 files are being verified and upon conclusion of the audit exercise, a supplementary budget will be made to ask funds from the Finance Ministry to pay cleared claimants,” she added.
Kadaga added that 474 former employees of the defunct East African Airways have been fully paid, whereas 150 remain pending due to failure by the ministry and their lawyers to physically trace them. “The ministry has, in the process, encountered a series of challenges including lack of readily available, authentic and verifiable records as well as multiple claims by claimants that are not genuine,” she said.
Hon. Cecilia Ogwal (FDC, Dokolo District Woman Representative) tasked the EAC Ministry to establish payment timelines that will give waiting claimants hope.
Hon. Francis Katabaazi (NUP, Kalungu East County) tasked the Ministry to scale up efforts to recover money from Crown Agents which abdicated its delegated responsibility by government to pay claimants under the Mediation Agreement. Kiboga District Woman Representative, Hon. Christine Kaaya said the legal firm representing former employees of defunct EA Airways, Ssozi&Partner Advocates should develop mechanisms of tracing its clients so that they benefit from the payments.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.