The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has constituted a committee to investigate matters of genocide and genocide ideology in the region.
Bobi Odiko, the Assembly’s senior public relations officer, said the nine-member committee chaired by MP Judith Pareno (Kenya) was appointed during the recently-concluded sitting in Arusha, Tanzania, and is scheduled to visit partner states for meetings with stakeholders.
The committee’s first stop is Kigali this week.
MP Martin Ngoga, who is on the committee, said they have “three months within which to report to the Assembly.”
Ngoga said: “It is a very important step in the work of the Assembly. The question of the genocide ideology and denial is one that cannot be overlooked by our policy makers. It is a living reality in our region.”
“For all intents and purposes, we cannot wish it away but face it with concrete policies and strategies. What the Assembly has set out to do is a step in that direction, not an end in itself.”
The idea of such a study follows another resolution moved by MP AbuBakr Ogle (Kenya) and passed by the Assembly early last year condemning Genocide, its ideology and denial, lawmakers decided to conduct a study to assess the extent of Genocide ideology and denial in the then five partner states.
Terms of reference
In the course of their work, the lawmakers will be, among others, considering the likely security impact of genocide ideology and genocide denial in the region; considering ways and means of combating, outlawing and preventing genocide; studying and making recommendations on combating hate speech, genocide ideology, genocide denial and related matters in region.
They will also make proposals on how EALA and other EAC organs and institutions can provide leadership in the fight and prevention of genocide, including the development of instruments and institutional capacity in the Community.
They are also tasked with studying and recommending any other mitigation pertinent mechanisms possible.
The regional lawmakers are expected to visit Rwanda and in particular, institutions including the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), Centre for Conflict Management (CCM), Ibuka, and Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Gisozi.
They also plan to travel to regional countries before tabling their report during an EALA sitting in Kampala, Uganda, in January, next year.
Last month, MP Dr Odette Nyiramilimo, chairperson of EALA’s Committee on General Purposes, told The New Times that the Assembly agreed to spend $450,000 (about Rwf356m) on the long-awaited study.
Dr Nyiramilimo, who chairs the Committee on General Purposes, said that already $200,000 was availed in this financial year’s budget and more will be disbursed, “when we get the supplementary budget around January next year,” to complete the task.