By Kampala Post Reporter
President Yoweri Museveni has strongly urged members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) to work for the fast-tracking of East African integration in order to guarantee the prosperity and future of wananchi of the region.
“When we talk of integration, then know that you are talking about the prosperity of East Africans – the ordinary people. Don’t go there to fight for Speakership. You go there to fight for the opportunities for East Africans who are engaged in production,” he said.
The President, who is the current Chairperson of the East African Community, was on Tuesday opening the 2nd meeting of the 1st session of the 4th East African Legislative Assembly currently sitting at Parliament in Kampala from 23rd January to 8th February 2018.
The six EAC countries include Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and South Sudan, which is a new entrant into EAC.
Mr. Museveni, who showed the EALA members a copy of Uganda Argus publication dated 05th June 1963, talked of an attempt by the then leaders of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, to establish the East African State and explained to them the values of realizing this move.
He pointed out that the prosperity of the people and the fraternity of wananchi of the region are closely similar or linked by language, culture and history. He added that other benefits include strategic security, better management of the shared natural resources, like Lake Victoria, and strong bargaining power with bigger world markets.
“This integration is about the future of our people,” he emphasized.
Mr. Museveni said issues of food insecurity as mentioned by Rt. Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, would not arise as Uganda today has a surplus of 5 million tonnes of maize that could be sold to people in the affected areas.
The Speaker of EALA, Rt. Hon. Martin Ngoga from Rwanda, hailed the cordial relationship existing between the regional Assembly and the Parliament of Uganda. He pledged to further strengthen that relationship.
The Speaker of Parliament of Uganda, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga voiced concern about climate change that has affected some areas of East Africa causing food insecurity.
Moving a vote of thanks, an EALA member from South Sudan, Dr. Ann Ito, who had her studies in Uganda at Kabasanda Primary School in Mpigi district and later joined Kings’ College Buddo, thanked President Museveni for his efforts to ensure peace in the region and also for supporting South Sudan in joining the East African Community.