The conflict in South Sudan has taken centre stage at the ongoing Inter-Parliamentary Union of IGAD (IPU-IGAD) meeting in Addis Abba, Ethiopia, with member states calling on parliaments to complement the efforts by the African Union Heads of States to end the war, which has so far claimed over 300 lives.
The two-day conference of Speakers IPU-IGAD meeting also expressed concerned about the humanitarian toll on innocent people and the disruption of trade between South Sudan and the regional states.
In her remarks to the meeting July 18, the Speaker Parliament of Uganda, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, was apprehensive of the instability in South Sudan having a potential to destabilise the region if not addressed appropriately.
“We should show our commitment to engage with Parliaments from IPU-IGAD to assess on-spot the situation in South Sudan, and also show support to the South Sudan people,” Kadaga said.
Ms Kadaga also welcomed the African Union’s move to introduce the African passport, saying it was worthy of support by member states and that it would bring about free movement of people in the continent. So far, two countries, Rwanda and Mauritius have implemented it. The plan for a single passport for Africa is part of the African Union’s 2063 Agenda.
Speaking at the same forum the Secretary General of the IPU-IGAD Mohamed Adam Mohamed Ismail noted that: “Without peace, there cannot be any development or integration and the objective of IGAD cannot be achieved easily.”
On his part Hon. Abadulla Gemeda, the Speaker of the House of the Peoples’ Representatives of Ethiopia, and also President of the Executive Council of IPU-IGAD noted it was important for the Union to act fast in responding to the crisis in South Sudan. Speaker Abadulla took a swipe at the International Criminal Court, which he said is increasingly becoming a threat to elected presidents in Africa by targeting them inappropriately. He cited the case of Presidents Omar al Bashir of Sudan and Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice-President Ruto of Kenya.
In regard to the challenges the region is facing such as terrorism, human trafficking, migration and deforestation, Speaker Abadulla urged parliaments to pass legislations to combat the problems. He also urged member states to pass laws and regulations to encourage investment in the renewable energy sector, which he said has a huge potential. He cited Kenya as one of the countries that have made commendable progress in embracing use of renewable energy.
The Protocol establishing IGAD Inter-Parliamentary Union came into force on 28th November 2007 after being ratified by IGAD member states.
The Conference of the Speakers of Parliaments of IGAD member states is the highest organ of the Union. Speakers from Parliaments of Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti attended the Conference slated for July 18– 19, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.