• The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has called on Burundi to dialogue noting that it is key to resolving the issues in the country.

    The EALA Speaker Rt Hon Daniel Fred Kidega said that resolving the crisis will help the country to tackle some of the existing challenges such as poverty.

    He said this in a bilateral meeting with the Speaker of the Burundi National Assembly, Rt Hon Pascal Nyabenda on the sidelines of the just concluded 134th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Lusaka, Zambia.

    The meeting discussed among other things matters of mutual interest between EALA and the Burundi Parliament in particular and on regional integration in general.

    Mr Kidega said EALA continued to appeal for peace to prevail in Burundi and called on legislators in the country as the peoples’ representatives, to strive for stability. Commending the role of the Summit of EAC Heads of State, he remarked that “home-grown solutions were instrumental in ensuring stability in the country and in the region.”

    Further, Kidega termed the recent appointment of Liberat Mfumukeko, an East African of Burundian origin as the new Secretary General of the East African Community, as a vote of confidence by the Summit of the EAC Heads of State.

    The two speakers also discussed briefly on EALA’s recent debate on the petition brought before the House by regional civil society groups under the aegis of the Pan-African Lawyers Union (PALU).

    Burundi found itself in crisis after Pierre Nkurunziza announced that he would run for a third term in April 2015. After winning the elections in July 2015, stability and security in the country continued to deteriorate.

    According to the EALA Speaker, Members of the Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution Committee and himself (EALA Speaker) would visit Burundi in the near future.

    On his part, the Burundian Speaker stated that his Parliament was keen to see progress in the country.

    In a separate bilateral meeting, the EALA Speaker also engaged the Speaker of the Parliament of South Sudan, Rt Hon Magok Rundial. Kidega said EALA welcomed the expansion of the bloc, adding that plans were underway to build the capacity of the Parliament ahead of the accession to the Treaty.

    He noted that even as plans are being put in place to sign the accession Treaty, there was a need to meet with legislators of South Sudan soon so that the Members are fully briefed.

    “We are looking forward to the increased number of Members of EALA from South Sudan and in this regard, therefore, we welcome consultations and engagements”, he added.

    The Speaker of the Parliament of South Sudan noted that his country was elated to be part of the EAC family.

    It is expected that the Parliament of South Sudan shall thereafter elect nine Members under Article 50 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC and the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament (South Sudan) to EALA.

    According to Article 50, the Members must not be Sitting Members of Parliament of South Sudan and shall in as much as is feasible, represent the various political parties in the National Assembly, shades of opinion and special interest groups in the Partner State.

    Recent reports by the United Nations and Amnesty International have shown that the militias (both pro and anti- government) are taking advantage of the ranging war to commit atrocities including rape, killing, destroying and keeping other people’s property as well as abducting young girls.

    Now that South Sudan is part of the larger EAC, residents in the country and East Africans, in general, are waiting to see how this will help to bring about peace and prosperity in the Africa’s youngest nation.

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