KIGALI - The Second East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) will be held in Kigali for a whole month starting next week, on September 11, officials have confirmed.
According to Augustin Habimana, the Director of Communication at the National Assembly, the regional legislative arm will start its activities on September 7 working in committees, but plenary sessions will start on 11, a function that is expected to be presided over by the President.
The assembly, which is rotational among member states, takes place quarterly. The last one was held in June in Nairobi.
It is the second one to be attended by Rwanda’s nine representatives in the regional legislature
Habimana said that during their one month stay in Kigali, the lawmakers will, engage in different activities.
“One will be the plenary sessions; the other activity will be observing the parliamentary elections while the other one will be attending a joint parliamentary meeting that will bring them together with MPs from member states,” said Habimana.
He said that the plenary sessions will be held at the parliamentary buildings while the joint parliamentary meeting which is known as Nanyuki IV will be held at Kigali Serena Hotel.
When contacted for a comment, the Minister for the East African Community, Monique Mukaruriza, said that this meeting will give a chance to several members of the regional body to get first hand experience on Rwanda.
“We shall have a chance of showcasing what our country has achieved regarding the implementation of integration policies in the little time we have been members of the East African Community,” Mukaruriza said by telephone.
Rwanda, together with Burundi, entered the EAC in July last year, joining the three original member states; Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
The minister said that the reason it was decided to rotate the assembly was to allow the population get acquainted with what is going on in the region with regards integration.
“It will be of great value to Rwandans as we are in the process of sensitizing the population on the fast tracking of the East African Political Federation,” said Mukaruriza, who is also the current chairperson of the EAC council of ministers.
President Paul Kagame is the current Chairman of the regional bloc.
On whether Rwanda would not miss out on the joint parliamentary session following the dissolution of her parliament in the run up to the forthcoming elections, Habimana said that Rwanda and Burundi, unlike other member states, have two chambers (Lower chamber of Parliament and Senate) and any of the two can take part.
According to the programme of the assembly, from September 12 to 16, the 45 regional parliamentarians will attend the elections as observers.
“They will observe how democratic our elections are and we expect them to learn from them,” said Mukaruriza.
The parliament elected Rwanda’s representatives to the EALA and the country made history in the region by having the majority of them women.