East African Parliament selected a Somali woman for the first time as a member.

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The East African Parliament has the first time among its members a Somali woman, Fatuma Ibrahim from the Somali inhabited region of North Eastern Kenya.

Before she was selected for this position, Faduta Ibrahim who has Masters in Agriculture Extension from University of Reading in UK was one of the human rights activists, and a former women representative seat in Wajir County.

Ibrahim spoke to BBC Somali service describing what the assembly is all about and how they conduct their affairs.

“The work of the regional parliament is to produce laws meant for the East African Community, to make follow up and supervise on decisions reached by the country presidents especially on the laws. We also represent the countries we hail from. Most of its motions are what was agreed between the countries” said Ibrahim.

When asked about the members of the assembly and what tasks they perform, she responded as carrying out normal house business similar to other parliaments.

“The assembly has 10 members representing the six member countries who deliberate matters and after their passage, they will be submitted to the presidents of member countries for final approval” Ibrahim said

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) is a sub-organ of the larger East African Community, being the legislative arm of the Community. Members are sworn into five-year terms and are elected by the legislatures of each country.

Nine elected members from each country and seven ex officio members make up the membership of the East African Legislative Assembly.  To make sure there are women represented, there are 2 female members from Kenya, 3 from Tanzania and 4 from Uganda.

Ex officio members include the ministers from each country responsible for regional co-operation, a Secretary General, and a Counsel to the Community.

Country members include Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan.

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