Bureau of Speakers of EAC endorse Kenya’s Bid to Host EAPI
_JUBA, South Sudan | 21st September_ – The Bureau of Speakers of the East African Community has today endorsed Kenya’s bid to host the East African Parliamentary Institute (EAPI).
While advancing Kenya’s proposal to host EAPI, at the 12th Meeting of the Bureau, Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon Justin Muturi and Speaker of the Senate, Rt. Hon Kenneth Lusaka noted that Kenya is best placed to host the institute.
“Parliament of Kenya is already home to the Centre for Parliamentary Studies and Training (CPST), which offers training to Members and Staff of Parliaments and regional assemblies,” said Hon Muturi.
“As a Community [EAC] we do not need to re-invent the wheel. By taking advantage of CPST – which has the requisite experience and infrastructure – upgrading the facility should suffice,” remarked Hon Lusaka.
Additionally the Bureau resolved that Kenya do house EAPI at CPST, in Nairobi pending a decision of the Council of Ministers of the EAC on hosting. Further, the Bureau - which will act as the Board of Trustees of the institution - agreed that EAPI be launched at the interim on 1st March, 2019 at CPST.
The Board directed the Secretariat to commence the process of recruitment for the position of Executive Director of EAPI who would begin putting in place relevant logistical mechanisms for the operationalization of the Institute.
The economic significance of having Kenya host EAPI will boost its economy through direct injection of foreign exchange and creation of jobs. Each Partner State is expected to contribute $180,000 annually to run affairs of the institution.
In September 2011, the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) passed the East African Parliamentary Institute Bill, 2011 which provides the legal framework for the establishment of the Institute.
EAPI aims at enabling beneficiaries better appreciate their role and place in the overall context of the Parliamentary system, leading to informed articulation of issues in relation to Parliamentary affairs.
In other developments surrounding the Speakers' forum, the Bureau approved that the Republic of South Sudan hosts the 9th Edition of the Annual Inter-Parliamentary Games from 30th November to 11th December, 2018. The Games now be hosted by South Sudan’s Capital Juba, while the Golf Tournament will be held in Uganda, a few days before the official kickoff of the games.
In regards to the agenda of the Bureau of Speakers being institutionalized into an organ of the EAC, the Bureau noted that the consideration which has been pending at the Council of EAC Ministers, should be escalated to the Heads of EAC Summit, during the Summit’s next meeting. The Summit is comprised of the Heads of State in the EAC Member Countries.
Responding to Burundi's concerns over the use of English as the only EAC official language, the forum observed that for faster integration, there is need to amend the Treaty so as to admit other Languages such as French, which is the National Language in Burundi. The EAC Treaty provides for English as the official language, while Swahili is the Community’s Lingua Franca.
The Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Rebecca Kadaga, called upon her colleagues to enhance collaboration among partner states by extending invitations to major Parliamentary and National functions in their respective countries.
The forum also observed a moment of silence in honour of the victims of the Ferry accident at Lake Victoria, even as Speakers Muturi and Lusaka, individually shared their sympathies with the families of the victims, when they met the Speaker of the Parliament of Tanzania, Hon. Job Ndugai, on the sidelines of the meeting.