President William Ruto has recommended the updating of the East African Community (EAC) treaty that was established almost 25 years ago to conform to modern-day changes.

Ruto said that on Friday when he met the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Joseph Nkakirutimana, at State House Nairobi.

Joseph Nkakirutimana and William Ruto. PHOTO/STATE HOUSE

While applauding the EAC's progress since its inception, Ruto stated that it was time to revise the treaty to reflect modern-day changes.

He said the EAC started as a three-member bloc, comprising Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, but has since grown to seven members.

The countries that have joined the regional bloc later after its founding are Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"Somalia is likely to join after an assessment is completed. There is also a possibility that Ethiopia and Sudan could join the EAC," the president said.

President Ruto pointed out that the bloc must therefore build up the capacity required by such a huge regional bloc.

While responding to Nkakirutimana's request for a review of the EAC Treaty, Ruto agreed that the many developments that have taken place should be captured in the founding law.

"It is time to look at the treaty, especially over languages used at EALA (which is the legislative arm of EAC). Of course, Kiswahili will continue playing a very big role in the assembly," the head of state said.

The president also disclosed that work has begun on the need to give EALA financial autonomy, like regional parliaments.

Joseph Nkakirutimana. PHOTO/STATE HOUSE

Nkakirutimana thanked Ruto for the support the Kenyan EALA chapter gave him during his election.

"Kenya's vote was the most decisive during my election," he said.

He said the challenges facing EALA include a lack of an autonomous budget and temporary staff, some of whom have worked for 20 years.

Kenya EALA MPs Hassan Omar, Kanini Kega and Zipporah Kering accompanied the Nkakirutimana to State House, as did EALA Deputy Clerk John Mutega.

Also present during the meeting was WAC Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano