The Senate Vice President Bernard Makuza has called on leaders in the region to fight against denial of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda and the propagation of the genocide ideology.
Makuza made the remarks at the opening of the ninth EAC Inter-Parliamentary Relations Seminar which was organised by the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) in Entebbe, Uganda on Friday.
“Genocide ideology is a virus and the vaccine is the leaders in the region,” he told his audience that comprised of legislators from different national parliaments in the region and diplomats accredited to EAC countries.
The Senate President, who headed the Rwandan delegation at the seminar, called on the lawmakers to adopt regional protocols by harmonising laws that will spur business and good governance in the region.
This approach, Makuza added, is the best way of attracting foreign investments as well as positioning the community as a strong competitor with other regional groupings and international trade partners.
“In Rwanda we believe that achieving inclusive and resilient economic growth requires responsible public mechanisms to cater for the needs of the people and efficient provisions of social protection even for the most vulnerable to participate in development programmes,” he said.
EALA Speaker Margaret Nantongo Zziwa told the parliamentarians that East Africans still wonder why they are subjected to work permits and other charges yet the Common Market protocol is under implementation.
The principle of free movement of persons is contained in the Common Market Protocol agreed on by all the five EAC partner states that came into force in July 2010.
“By the time you leave this meeting, you will have picked crucial information that you should pass to our people in different places in East Africa like Nyamirambo (in Rwanda) and Mtwara (in Tanzania),” she said.
Uganda’s Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga called on national governments to stop over-taxing local investors yet favouring foreigner investors with huge tax incentives.
Florence Kajuju, a Kenyan Member of Parliament called on the EAC to be aware of the emerging global realities and enhance the participation of the private sector and civil societies in its activities.
“As leaders and representatives of the people, we cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that a lot needs to be done with more emphasis on the consolidation and strengthening of the long-standing political, economic, social, cultural and traditional ties and associations between the peoples of the region in promoting people-centred development,” Kajuju said.
The seminar, which is commonly known as Nanyuki VII among parliamentarians, is one of the avenues through which the EALA fulfils its mandate under article 49 (2) of the treaty to specifically liaise with national assemblies of the EAC partner states on matters relating to the community.