The EALA Speaker Rt Hon. Daniel Fred Kidega held respective bilateral meetings with the Speaker of the Parliament of South Sudan, Rt Hon. Magok Rundial and the Speaker of the Burundi National Assembly, Rt Hon. Pascal Nyabenda on the side-lines of the on-going 134th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Lusaka, Zambia. The meetings discussed on matters of mutual interest between EALA and the respective Parliaments in particular and on regional integration in general.
In his meeting with the Speaker of the Parliament of South Sudan, the Speaker said EALA welcomed the expansion of bloc and said plans were underway to build the capacity of the Parliament ahead of the accession to the Treaty.
“While we appreciate the steps been taken by the Republic of South Sudan to sign the accession Treaty, we want to meet with legislators of South Sudan soon so that the Members are fully briefed”, Speaker Kidega remarked.
He said EALA had previously enjoyed cordial relations with the Parliament of the Republic of South Sudan and added the admission of the new Partner State to the bloc would further cement the goodwill.
“We are looking forward to the increased number of Members of EALA from South Sudan and in this regard, therefore, we welcome consultations and engagements”, he added.
On his part, Rt Hon Rundial said his country was elated to be part of the EAC family.
“In accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, there is a legal procedure of bringing the accession before the National Assembly. This is going to take place, and upon approval of the House, the President shall then write the letter of accession,” he said.
The 17th Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State held in Arusha early this month designated the Chairperson, Dr John Pombe Joseph Magufuli to sign the accession with the Republic of South Sudan.
It is expected that the Parliament of South Sudan shall thereafter elect nine Members under Article 50 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC and the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament (South Sudan) to EALA.
Meanwhile, while meeting with the Speaker of the Burundi National Assembly, Speaker Kidega said EALA continued to appeal for peace to prevail in the country and urged legislators in Burundi to strive for stability.
The EALA Speaker also briefed his counterpart from the Burundi National Assembly on EALA’s recent debate on the petition brought before the House by regional civil society groups under the aegis of the Pan-African Lawyers Union (PALU).
Rt Hon. Kidega further termed the recent appointment of Liberat Mfumukeko, an East African of Burundian origin as the new Secretary General of the East African Community, as a vote of confidence by the Summit of the EAC Heads of State.
He remarked that a visit to Burundi by Members of the Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution Committee and himself (EALA Speaker) would take place shortly.
In his response, the Speaker of the Parliament of Burundi, Rt Hon. Pascal Nyabenda stated that his Parliament was keen to see progress in the country.
In the delegation was the Deputy Speaker, Hon Anicet Niyonzima, Hon Constantin Niyonzima, Hon Benoite Nizigiyimana, Hon Asha Karafan, Hon Venant Ruhuna and Hon Lydia Irakoze.