Kigali, 16 April, 2013

President Kagame has today said that Continental unity and integration are the best insurance for Africans against denial of ability to play rightful role in the world. President Kagame stated this while addressing a special session of the first sitting of the fifth meeting of the first session of the third EALA Assembly in Kigali. President Kagame said the Process East African integration is advanced, and told the people of East Africa that at this juncture, they can only move forward because they is no option of turning back:

“It is crucial that decision making and oversight mechanisms become more responsive to aspirations of East African citizens. We must move fast on the creation of a single customs territory to facilitate trade across the region as well as we ensure commitments on the free movement of people, labour and services are urgently addressed. We must increase the level of intra-African trade and investment and extend integration across the continent.”

President Kagame called on African to work together more closely in order to harness the immense opportunities available to them for to boost economic growth and earn them a stronger voice on the international arena.

“We have the world’s largest reserve of natural resources…we cannot permit others to benefit from these more than us. Today, Africa remains only place where people are warned about the consequences of their democratic choices. Today, Africa remains only place where people are warned about the consequences of their democratic choices. Africa is only place where lies are told about you and the right to reply is denied by those who teach freedom of expression. In these circumstances, we should be prepared to stand up for our own rights.”

In her address, the Speaker of the East African Assembly, Margaret Nantongo Zziwa thanked President Kagame his consistent, focused and soft spoken leadership that has enabled him to steer Rwanda from disaster to a formidable nation in the region. The Speaker said the people of East Africa chose to hold their plenary session in Rwanda so that they can join Rwandans as they commemorate the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

“Members of the East African Assembly consider Kigali their second home and it’s always a pleasure to be here where we enjoy not only security but the clean environment and a pleasant skyline. East Africa member states should emulate Rwandan policies, especially where matters of women are concerned.”

Passing a vote of thanks, Peter Mathuki thanked President Kagame for stopping the 1994 genocide and uniting Rwandans and instilling into them the spirit of working together to develop their nation.

“We cannot allow anyone to take away the gains we have seen, we must ensure they are sustained; it is up to us as East Africans to sustain the achievements we have made so far. We in Africa are ready to work with others in dignity, not with belief that some are superiors to others.”

Peter Mathuki thanked President Kagame for the home grown solutions in Rwanda which he said East Africa, especially his country Kenya, continues to learn from and emulate.

The Chairperson of the Summit of the East African Community Heads of State, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is expected in Kigali to deliver the annual State of EAC Address at a Special Sitting on Thursday, April 24, 2013.