East African Parliamentary Institute Launched
The East African Community and Kenya in particular, today celebrated a great milestone as Speakers and their representatives from the regional legislatures met in Nairobi to witness the launch of the East African Parliamentary Institute.
Speaking during the launch, the Speaker of the National Assembly, who is also the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Service Commission, Hon. Justin Muturi, noted that the launch of the institute was timely and would help build the requisite capacity to deal with the emerging issues at the regional Parliaments.
“We are presiding over young, dynamic, energetic and diverse Parliaments that require us to constantly think on our feet and to apply exceptional skills to navigate the sometimes-difficult legislatures,” Speaker Muturi noted.
Speaker Muturi further observed that the launch was a laudable and historic moment for the region, adding that he hoped that the institute would be a one-stop-shop for training on parliamentary practices and procedures.
On his part, the Speaker of the East African Parliament, who was also the Chief Guest, the Rt. Hon. Martin Ngoga, hailed the launch as an important occasion for the region which would highly contribute to the process of strengthening the East African integration process.
“The establishment of the Parliamentary Institute goes into the annals of history for it is not just an innovation of the regional Speakers, but it adds significant value towards strengthening the role of Parliaments in the integration process in line with Article 49 (2) and (65) of the Treaty Establishing EAC,” said Speaker Ngoga.
Addressing fellow Speakers and parliamentary staff at the launch, the Speaker of the Senate, the Rt. Hon Kenneth Lusaka noted that capacity development for legislatures remained a critical component in ensuring effective service delivery to House leadership, legislators, staff and the electorate.
“This launch responds to the need for harmonized training programmes and parliamentary practices in the Member states. “This will also reduce the cost of training which is currently heavily skewed towards the West,” said Speaker Lusaka.
The East African Parliamentary Institute (EAPI) shall be housed at Parliament of Kenya’s Centre for Parliamentary Studies and Training (CPST), on interim basis. This follows a decision of the Bureau of Speakers of the East African Community Parliament reached out during the 12th meeting of the Bureau held in Juba, South Sudan, in September 2018. The future home of the institute is expected to be known after the Council of Ministers of the EAC make a decision on the matter. In the interim, the Bureau will act as the Board of Trustees of the institution.
The establishment of this institute whose plans have been ongoing for close to two decades, is expected to expand the region’s Parliamentary diplomacy and develop capacities for the East African Region to become a regional hub for Parliamentary training and leadership. 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.
Others present during the launch were the Vice President of Rwanda Parliament, Rt. Hon. Gakuba Jean d’Arc, a representative of the Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda and the East African Legislative Assembly, Speaker Emeritus, Abdirahin H. Abdi, under whose tenure the plan for the establishment of the institute was mooted.
Others were Parliamentary Service Commission Vice Chairperson, Hon. (Dr.) Naomi Shaban,
Commissioner Aaron Cheruiyot and the Centre for Parliamentary Studies and Training board