Rwanda, Kenyan legislatures seek deeper cooperation

Speaker of Senate of Kenya Keneth Lusaka (left) exchanges documents with the President of Rwanda Senate, Bernard Makuza, after signing the MoU in Kigali. Courtesy.

The Senates of Kenya and Rwanda Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will help enhance bilateral relations between the people of both countries.

Bernard Makuza, the president of the Rwandan Senate, and his visiting Kenyan counterpart, Kenneth Lusaka, concurred that their countries enjoy strong relationship and so a cooperation agreement between the two legislatures will go a long way in cementing these ties.

“In order to further deepen our friendship, there is no better time than now to explore opportunities from the parliamentary cooperation between our Houses,” Lusaka said.

“Parliamentarians are now more than ever stepping outside their legislative chambers to speak directly with their international counterparts,” he added.

According to the MoU, both Houses shall develop administrative initiatives, including conferences, forums, information seminars, staff attachment programmes, workshops, exchanges and international events that promote examination and exchange of information on key bilateral issues and fundamental work and procedures.

They shall also collaborate in their mutual interests in regional, continental and international multilateral parliamentary bodies.

“Today marks a new beginning for the Senate of the Republic of Rwanda and the Senate of the Republic of Kenya. The commitments expressed in the MoU is an indication of the futuristic aspirations that we as leaders hold for our institutions,” he stated.

“I look forward to implementing the MoU and enjoying the benefits of solid friendship”.

Though he said that there was good pace in terms integration in the region, he added that there was need for more efforts to make it seamless, adding that if the regional countries have a very strong economic block, they can trade among themselves.  

“We even need to intensify our businesses, for example. Why do we take our coffee to, say, Europe, why do we take our sugar to say America, when you can bring it to Rwanda? Rwanda can also export a lot of things to Kenya, Tanzania and other neighbouring countries,” he said.

Makuza said that they want, among other things, to partner on having one voice on matters of importance to the people of the two countries at international parliamentary forums, and seek to exchange experience and expertise to further their operations.

“We want to utilise the power of advocacy achieved through parliamentary diplomacy. We meet in various international forums bringing together parliaments from Africa and European countries and other parts of the world such that there are issues that are discussed,” Makuza said.

“And when there are agreements like these countries have an agreed upon written clause that they base on to endorse each other so that the voice of Africa, Kenya or Rwanda be heard,” he indicated.