The 22nd Ordinary Summit of the East African Community Heads of State in Arusha, Tanzania assented to the Lake Victoria Basin Commission Bill of 2019 into an Act on the 22nd of July 2022.
The formulation of the LVBC Bill (2019) was people-centered evidenced by citizen consultations and deliberative sessions by the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA). LVBC in consultation with EAC Secretariat provided technical inputs to the Act’s formulation process.
The LVBC Act (2019) now sets the Commission to a legal status body with corporate identity and personality. As a governance instrument, the LVBC Act reinforces the Protocol for the Sustainable Development of Lake Victoria Basin (2004) and the overall policy document—the EAC Treaty (1999) as thereafter amended.
In operational terms, according to LVBC Legal Officer, David Mlote, “with the Act, LVBC may acquire, hold and dispose of movable and immovable property; sue and be sued in its corporate name.” LVBC secretariat staff based in Kisumu, Republic of Kenya cheerfully welcomed the news, noting it is a major milestone towards institutional strengthening among other benefits.
The Commission’s Legal Officer added, “The LVBC Act of 2019 also means the Commission can now directly sign financing agreements and directly engage Development Partners in its individual capacity – making the process of acquiring funds shorter and easier.”
The Commission is further mandated to have regulations to better operationalize the act in tandem with other existing legal instruments.