Member States Preach Unity as EAC Games Commence

The spirit of East African integration has been reincarnated during the inauguration ceremony of the 13th edition of the inter-parliamentary games.

The colourful opening ceremony that took place at Pele Stadium in Kigali, Rwanda on Friday, 08 December 2023, was attended by over 900 Members of Parliament and staff from six East African Community (EAC) member states and the regional parliament, the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

On behalf of the host country-Rwanda, Hon. Donatille Mukabalisa, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of Rwanda, expressed joy to the EAC for granting them a chance to host the inter-parliamentary games. She urged the participating member states to use the games to build bridges, unify and strengthen the EAC agenda. 
“As we enjoy our physical and fitness moments, let us not forget the oppressing challenges facing our community. Let us work together and make good use of this opportunity to compare notes and enrich each other with respective experiences and best practices,” Mukabalisa said. 

She added that EAC has great potential to achieve socio-economic transformation if member states galvanized their strengths. 

The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, who is the head of delegation of Uganda’s Parliament, reminded the participating EAC member states of the EAC Vision.
“Despite our ethnic diversity, we are united by one common vision and goal- a united East Africa…Under the leadership of our various Presidents, we are the torch-bearers of this dream and the onus rests on us to play our part in its thriving,” he said.


Tayebwa advised the participants to embrace the spirit of togetherness and brotherhood and front discipline, fairness and honesty during the games. 
“I have grown to learn that, sports teaches you character, it teachers you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose, it teaches you about life. Therefore, as we commit to participate in these games, let us embrace togetherness, brotherhood and sisterhood,” he added. 

Hon. George Odongo, Uganda’s EALA representative and head of delegation of the regional parliament team, underscored the achievements of EAC in facilitating interstate trade and movement of citizens and goods. 
“I call upon stakeholders to even make it better and may these games bring the true spirit of the East Africa,” he said. 

In the same vein, South Sudan's Speaker of the National Assembly, Jemma Nunu Kumba urged members states to not only win on the field, but use sports to reaffirm their commitment of building a peaceful and strong East Africa. 

The games officially kicked off on Friday with the host-Rwanda taking on EALA in a football fixture that ended in an entertaining goalless draw. 

Early on Saturday, Uganda’s volleyball team (women) led by Hon. Helen Nakimuli (NUP, Kalangala Woman District) crashed their Kenyan counterparts 3-0 in a one-sided match.

 In football, the much-anticipated game between Uganda and South Sudan was called off following a delayed verification process of players’ profiles.

The Inter-Parliamentary Games tournament is an annual sporting event that brings together Members of Parliament and staff of various assemblies of the EAC. The tournament is a key aspect of building relations between EALA and EAC National Parliaments in line with Article 49 (2)(a) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC.