Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo has requested MPs to back his proposal to summon Environment Minister Stanislas Kamanzi, over the failure of Nile Basin member states to sign the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA).
Ntawukuriryayo made the request while tabling a report he compiled from meeting Speakers of Parliament from the nine riparian countries of the Nile Basin held in Egypt last July.
The meeting aimed at calling on parliamentary speakers to push their respective countries to sign the CFA.
The pact seeks to seal the transition of the basin that has been existing for 10 years and would establish a permanent Nile River Basin Commission through which member countries will act together to manage and develop the resources of the Nile.
“During the meeting, Egypt turned up with a very big delegation that aimed at lobbying Speakers to convince their governments not to sign the agreement; this was their secret strategy,” said Ntawukuriryayo.
“Rwanda clearly sent out the message informing the participants that this agreement should be signed in the shortest time possible,” he added.
So far, seven out of nine Nile Basin countries have expressed interest in having the pact signed.
However, Egypt and Sudan have deliberately refused and at a certain point, blocked the progress towards the signing of the treaty.
The reluctance to adopt the pact arose from Article 14 (b) in the draft agreement that talks about the Nile water security.
The two governments of Egypt and Sudan fretted over the article and this issue has remained unresolved with both countries insisting on rephrasing it.
Besides, the two upstream countries want the 1929 Nile Treaty signed between the British and the Egyptian governments to be considered.
Recently, Minister Kamanzi said that the seven countries may consider signing the pact without Egypt and Sudan – a move that may deepen the controversy.