The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has rallied East African Parliaments to join hands to fight terrorism that has resulted into several deaths in the region.
Her call comes at a backdrop of a series of terror attacks in the horn of Africa countries in the recent past.
Kenya has particularly been a target of terrorism activities masterminded by the Alshabaab. In the latest attack, on June 15, at least 48 people were killed when more than 50 militants attacked Mpeketoni town in Lamu, 80 miles from the Kenya-Somalia border, with explosives and guns.
Uganda has also been on a high terror alert since the July 2010 attacks that left over 70 people dead and more so after the attack on Westgate mall in Nairobi last year.
But Kadaga observes a need for solidarity among the people, Parliaments and governments to curb the spread of terrorism. She made the appeal while addressing the East African Community Speakers Bureau meeting in Nairobi Kenya last evening.
“I would like to express solidarity with the government, the Parliament and the people of Kenya in relation to terrorist attacks which have bedeviled the country and affected all of us. As a region we need to support each other to ensure that terrorism does not take root in our region,” she said.
Although Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi are fighting a common enemy in the alshabaab, there has been little cooperation in terms of sharing intelligence on terrorism.
The countries have however agreed to implement a common anti-terrorism strategy to combat terror and other transnational crimes.
Kadaga expressed disappointment over the lack of clear linkages between Parliaments and the Community and observed a need to promote the ideals of the East African Community across the region.
“As Parliaments we have no opportunity to address the Council of Ministers or the Heads of State Summit on any matter. I am increasingly getting the feeling that the EAC Speakers’ forum remains hanging.
I note the reasons given by the Council of Ministers for rejecting the proposal to make it an Organ of the East African Community appear to be protectionist,” she added.
The East African Community Speakers Bureau brings together all Speakers of the EAC Member States.
The Nairobi meeting brought together Speakers Hon. Justin B.N. Muturi and Hon. Ekwee Ethuro of the Kenya Parliament and National Assembly and Senate respectively, EALA Speaker Hon. Margret Nantongo Zziwa; Hon. Anne Makinda Speaker of Tanzania, Rwanda’s Hon. Donatille Mukabalisa and the 2nd Vice-President of the National Assembly of Burundi, H.E. Hon. Kabura Francois.