IUCEA wants law changed to reflect how regional bloc is governed

The Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA) is pushing for the amendment of its 2009 Act to be at par with the Common Market Protocol, and the EAC Treaty after it discovered contradictions that make implementation of new projects challenging.

At the heart of the dilemma is the fear that at any point, a person can challenge its operations before a competent court.

The IUCEA is particularly concerned that its Act does not fit its operations within the governance structure of the EAC. To begin with, its Act though amended in 2009, does not spell out how it relates with the Council of Ministers. Instead, the Act carries what could be a replica of the now repelled 1970 Act that governed the institution during the first EAC.

The EAC Treaty created institutions and departments each with procedures showing that they account to the Council of Ministers. These are: The East African Development Bank (EADB), Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation, IUCEA, Lake Victoria Basin Commission and the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

The laws governing the operations of these institutions are in line with the above requirement, by implication, directly linking them to the EAC governance structures.

“The salient issue is that the Act is still treating the IUCEA as an association and that is a serious shortfall if we were to follow the Act to the letter, we are answerable to the annual meetings of vice chancellors,” said outgoing IUCEA executive secretary Mayunga H.H Nkunya.

In spite of the collapse of the first EAC in 1976, IUCEA continued to operate as an association of universities as opposed to intergovernmental institution.
The 1999 EAC Treaty transformed it into an institution of the Community.

But the old laws relating to the appointment of staff have been maintained in the 2009 Act. While the Act states that the appointment of staff is done by the IUCEA executive committee, the protocol states that the governing body of IUCEA has the final word.

This is contentious in the sense that an executive committee cannot be a final decision maker.

“We saw the challenge and we started the amendments because really it is not good to be operating in a system that is flawed,” Prof Nkunya told The EastAfrican.