The East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) should reinforce its oversight mandate to ensure the region’s citizens enjoy the fruits of integration and in doing so contribute to the eradication of poverty, Burundi’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza has urged.
He made these comments on Tuesday while opening the Assembly’s two-week sitting in Bujumbura, Burundi.
He further urged the Assembly to increase collaboration with region’s national assemblies.
Nkurunziza said: “I am of the strong view that such co-operation will continue to make it easy for the East African Community to work together and in doing so, be able to achieve integrated and harmonious development.”
“We are all aware that EALA plays a key role in bringing the people of East Africa on board of the integration process, through the public hearings on bills and the Nanyuki Series that are conducted throughout the Region.”
The ‘Nanyuki Series’ is the moniker given for the regular Inter-Parliamentary Relations Seminars that often brings together more than 200 participants drawn from Partner States National Assemblies to discuss EAC matters including economy and security with the aim of promoting functional relations between EALA and the National Assemblies as envisaged in Article 49 of the EAC Treaty.
The 8th Nanyuki Series was held in Kigali last year.
Pledging peaceful polls
Speaking on the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections later this year, Nkurunziza thanked the East African Community (EAC) for its contribution towards ensuring the polls are held in a peaceful, free and fair manner.
Parliamentary elections in the country will be held on May 26 and Presidential elections a month later.
“In this perspective, I wish to commend the joint initiative of the EAC)and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) aimed at supporting the consolidation of democracy, reconciliation and tolerance among Burundians and political actors, in view to achieving transparent and credible 2015 Elections”, he said.
President Nkurunziza termed the launch of the Round Tables Programme on elections in Burundi on January 15 as “fundamental”. He said the occasion presented Burundians and eminent persons of the region with an opportunity to tackle issues related to elections and electoral processes in view to consolidating regional stability through peaceful elections in Burundi.
EALA will send a team as part of the EAC’s Elections Observer Mission when the country goes to the polls in May and in June.
“This is a period to secure the future of the country through the ballot box. Elections anywhere tend to stir uncertainty, and investors traditionally withhold decision-making until the aftermath”, said EALA Speaker, Daniel Kidega.