The 8th Inter-Parliamentary Relations Seminar (Nanyuki Series), was officially opened this morning by the President of the Rwanda Senate, Rt. Hon Bernard Makuza.
In his remarks, Rt Hon Makuza called on EALA and the National Assemblies to strengthen their relations and to effectively collaborate to tackle the underlying conditions that give insecurity and terrorism a chance.
“Parliamentarians and all stakeholders must step up real and collective efforts, to enhance mindset, awareness, and contribute to develop policies and legislations to effectively prevent all violent tendencies, negative and destructive ideologies”, Rt Hon Makuza stated.
The President of the Rwanda Senate called on stakeholders to go the extra mile to provide opportunities for the youth as a strategy to combating terrorism. This he noted, includes providing education, employment and real opportunities for the young people.
|The Speaker of EALA, Rt. Hon Margaret Nantongo Zziwa makes her remarks|
Rt. Hon Makuza noted that Rwandans were today re-building the country and had embraced good governance as a pre-requisite to development. “Twenty years ago, under the visionary leadership of H.E. Paul Kagame, Rwandans commenced on the process of re-building the country after the Genocide against the Tutsi”, Rt Hon Makuza said.
“Drawing from this experience, I would like to emphasize that security and peace must be focused on as a foundation for our achievements and aspirations. That is why I want to stress especially that we the leaders, have the duty to prevent and to fight the root causes of insecurity and terrorism, genocide ideology and its denial in the region, in all their forms of manifestations”, he added.
The seminar themed: “Insecurity and Terrorism as Threats to EAC Integration: How Can EAC Develop a Common Position” is organized by EALA in conjunction with the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA).
|The President of the Rwanda Senate, Rt. Hon Bernard Makuza delivers his speech|
It brings together an estimated 250 participants drawn from Partner States National Assemblies, EALA, academicians, high ranking Government officials as well as other regional stakeholders.
In her remarks, the Speaker of EALA, Rt. Hon Margaret Nantongo Zziwa called for concerted efforts to ensure the region is secure.
“The unwarranted attacks in the region should be a wake-up call that as a region we need to be vigilant at all times and that containing terrorism and ensuring peace must assume greater importance and significance in the agenda of Regional Economic Communities,” she said.
Rt Hon Zziwa urged the Partner States to ratify the Protocol on Peace and Security in order to ensure its effective implementation. So far, only the Republics of Rwanda and Uganda have ratified the Protocol.
|Group photo opportunity|
The Speaker challenged the region to look inwards and go the extra mile towards enhancing good governance as envisaged under article 23 of the Treaty for the establishment if the EAC.
“I believe that there is clear correlation between security and governance interventions in terms of cause and effect. Of essence hereunder, are a number of fundamental areas including promoting rule of law and access to justice, adhering to democratic principles and strengthening of electoral processes and protection and promotion of Human Rights,” Speaker Zziwa said.
In his keynote remarks, Prof Pascal Mihyo, Executive Director of the Organisation for Social Science in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA), an Addis based think-tank remarked that terrorism was threatening integration and that it was necessary to efficiently find adequate solutions.
“Let us not tolerate terrorism, you can smell it….you do not need to see it, just confront it”, Prof Mihyo said. Prof Mihyo noted that terrorists continue to use Africa as a launch pad to attack their historical enemies who are largely from the West.
“We need to strengthen security systems and check on our porous borders among other areas”, he said. Prof Mihyo cited Eco-terrorism and bio-terrorism as new emerging forms. At the same time, radiological weapons including uranium, plutonium and cobalt are been used as dirty bombs in the quest to spread fear.
Dr Godwin Murunga of the African Leadership Centre stated that legislation was vital to contain terrorism.
Other presentations to be delivered during the two day seminar on the Status of Security in the EAC region by Dr. Adams Oloo, of the University of Nairobi, a presentation on the Role of Parliamentarians and stakeholders in ensuring peace and security in the EAC region and statements by leaders of delegations from the Partner States’ Parliaments.
The seminar aims at promoting functional relations between EALA and the National Assemblies as envisaged in Article 49 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC.
It is anticipated that Members of the National Assemblies will be provided with an opportunity to appreciate the progress made so far in the EAC integration process and therefore the issues discussed will subsequently find their way to be agendas for National Assemblies.