The East African Community Inter-Parliamentary Games have come to a close in Juba, South Sudan, with Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, joining South Sudan’s, Vice President, Dr James Wani Igga, and other regional dignitaries for the closing ceremony.
Tayebwa hailed the games as a panacea to deepening the East African Community integration, and that allowing South Sudan to host the competition was a mark of confidence in the country’s capabilities.
“Once we go back home, let each of us move a motion to congratulate South Sudan for hosting the games, because they defied the biases and prejudices that the media has labeled on South Sudan. I congratulate South Sudan…this successful event is a vote of confidence in the new nation and a vindication of our Speakers who chose South Sudan to host the games,” he said at the ceremony held at Freedom Hall, Juba on 1 December 2022.
Tayebwa emphasized the centrality of the games in ensuring a faster, more sustainable regional integration.
“Particularly through sports…it is worth noting that the games are one of the mechanisms for strengthening relationships and integration among partner states,” he said.
Hailing the competition as historic, Vice President Wani, said the games are a sure way to strengthen integration.
“This historic sports were indeed very valuable and some people even compared it to the Olympics; these games have been enjoyable and remarkable. This goes a long way towards uniting the people. These games will contribute in cementing peace and unity not only in our region but the whole EAC,” he said.
Host Speaker, Mr. Jema Nunu Kumba, hailed the Speakers’ Bureau, the East African Community forum responsible for the games, for allowing the newest African nation to host the games.
“Today marks a significant milestone as MPs from EAC congregate on this auspicious occasion of the award night of the EAC games; we are truly one people with one destiny. I thank the Speakers Bureau for trusting the SSD with hosting this event despite the negative narrative against South Sudan in the media,” she said.
She added: “Integration is progressive; we continue to build on the gains we have achieved so far; we should exploit the opportunity offered to us by sports.”
Although the actual awards were deferred due to ongoing tallies and compilations, Uganda got the better of the games, winning all but one game in football and basketball.
In athletics, the team is expected to be declared the best overall, after running the show at the Buluk Stadium in South Sudan, with multiple gold and silver medals from the various competitive categories.
In golf, Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, had an impressive showing in Nairobi, Kenya, giving Uganda a comfortable position in the final performances.
In darts, NUP, Nakawa East MP Ronald Balimwezo and his PWD counterpart Mr Mpindi Bumali (Ind.) made their rivals rue their participation in the competition, where the two reigned supreme.
Besides losing some bouts in volleyball to Kenya, the team still maintained its dominance in Juba, where the raging temperature didn’t derail their ability to emerge victorious in the competition.