Kigali, 5 April 2011
President Kagame today met with members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) at the conclusion the 4th Meeting of the 4th Session of the 2nd EALA that began on 28 March at the National Parliament.
During the meeting, President Kagame urged the parliamentarians to continue efforts to establish a unified East African Community;
“As parliamentarians, you make the laws because you realize they serve a common purpose of achieving a unified East African Community. For that to happen, countries must share best practices, experiences and together overcome the challenges we currently face. The tasks are not easy; the cost is high, but it is our job to find solutions to these challenges.” said President Kagame.
In response to a question on the role of EALA in ensuring delivery of promises to the people of EAC, President Kagame gave the example of Rwandan officials who sign performance contracts, making them accountable to those they serve. He emphasized that East Africans too should be able to hold to account leaders of the regional bodies, such as EALA, that are put in place to represent them.
Addressing the press after the meeting, EALA Speaker, Rt. Hon. Abdirahin H. Abdi, described the meeting as insightful, and said that President Kagame encouraged members to engage in open dialogue with the different levels of leadership in the EAC;
“The key message from President Kagame was that we have a foundation and therefore have something that we are building on. Also, that as we move forward, we should not just look at the negatives but also the positives and see how we can build on these. Where we think things are not going well, we should speak out so that they are put on the right track.”
President Kagame also spoke of the importance of recognizing the accomplishments of the EAC, giving as an example the establishment of a customs union, and urged EALA parliamentarians to keep in mind the many hurdles that still lie ahead as the region works towards meaningful integration
President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi, earlier today addressed the East African Legislative Assembly in his capacity as the current Chairman of the EAC Summit.