, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 3 – Regional Parliamentary Speakers have lauded the launch of the East African Parliamentary Institute (EAPI) as timely, noting that it will help build the requisite capacity to deal with the emerging issues of regional Parliaments.
Speaking during the launch, the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi observed that it was a historic moment for the region.
The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Service Commission expressed hope that the Institute would be a one-stop-shop for training on parliamentary practices and procedures.
“We are presiding over young, dynamic, energetic and diverse Parliaments that require us to constantly think on our feet and to apply exceptional skills to navigate the sometimes-difficult Legislatures,” Muturi noted.
On his part, East African Legislative Assembly Speaker Martin Ngoga hailed the launch as an important occasion for the region which would highly contribute to the process of strengthening the East African integration process.
“The establishment of the Parliamentary Institute goes into the annals of history for it is not just an innovation of the regional Speakers, but it adds significant value towards strengthening the role of Parliaments in the integration process in line with Article 49 (2) and (65) of the Treaty Establishing EAC,” said Ngoga.
Addressing fellow Speakers and parliamentary staff at the launch, Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka noted that capacity development for Legislatures remained a critical component in ensuring effective service delivery to House leadership, Legislators, staff and the electorate.
“This launch responds to the need for harmonized training programmes and parliamentary practices in the member states. “This will also reduce the cost of training which is currently heavily skewed towards the West,” said Lusaka.
The decision to have EAPI hosted (on an interim basis) at Centre for Parliamentary Studies and Training (CPST) in Karen was arrived at in September last year by the Bureau of Speakers of the East African Community Parliament meeting held in Juba, South Sudan.
The future home of the Institute is expected to be known after the Council of Ministers of the EAC make a decision on the matter.
The establishment of this institute, whose plans have been ongoing for close to two decades, is expected to expand the region’s Parliamentary diplomacy and develop capacities for the East African Region to become a regional hub for Parliamentary training and leadership.
The economic significance of having Kenya host EAPI will boost its economy through direct injection of foreign exchange and creation of jobs. Each Partner State is expected to contribute $180,000 annually to run affairs of the institution.