Tayebwa elected to Bureau of OACPS - EU Parliamentary Assembly

LUANDA, ANGOLA - The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, has been elected member of the Bureau to represent East Africa to the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) - European Union Joint Parliamentary Assembly. 

Tayebwa was elected during the 64th session of the OACPS Joint Parliamentary Assembly and Constitutive Sessions of the OACPS-EU JPA happening in Luanda, Angola, between 17 and 21, February 2024.

Tayebwa will be representing Mauritius, Seychelles, Djibouti, Comoros, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. 

Key among others, Tayebwa said he will focus on the implementation of the Samoa Agreement which has replaced the Cotonou Agreement that had been running for over 20 years. 

"We shall be engaging strongly with the European Union coalition's to deal with climate change, gender parity, energy transition, human rights, peace and conflict resolution, and democracy which are cornerstones of the international framework," he said. 

Tayebwa promised that he will be a voice of the Global South focusing on the unfair trade practices including unfair trade restrictions, which are coming from the European Union.

"We shall engage the EU on energy issues and renewable energy. We must be able to exploit our resources without damaging the environment, but also Africa, which is contributing only three per cent of global emissions cannot be the one paying the price and receiving the heaviest penalties, when it comes to energy transition," he added. 

"We are going to be five members from Africa that are going to be negotiating with the European Parliament on these issues, and I hope that if we can remain focused from a pan Africanist perspective, then we should be able to engage the European Parliament and achieve much more," he added.

Hon. Martin Peters Owino, from Kenya said Tayebwa will ably represent the East African region. 

"I think with him heading the East Africa regional section, we will be much stronger and we want him to bring us together, first of all communicate effectively that we may discuss issues before they come to the floor when we have the sessions. In that way, we may have articulated very well what is affecting us," he said.

"One thing that he (Tayebwa) said which I want to repeat here in the assembly, is that this kind of regionalising African states should not be used to weaken our stand as an African continent. We should turn that kind of strategy into strength. We may start from issues with trade imbalances, democracy, and other issues that affect us,” he said. 

The OACPS-EU JPA brings together an equal number of elected MPs from the ACP states and Members of the European Parliament. 

The Chief Opposition Whip, Hon. John Baptist Nambeshe, said Tayebwa's election comes with huge opportunities for Uganda and the region. 

"Our region grapples with unique challenges that will require aggressive negotiators like the Rt Hon. Thomas Tayebwa, to be on that team to unite Africa because already there are signs of causing rifts for Africa to divide us. So, we are now in three different categories of Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific but with the likes of a formidable team, where the Rt. Hon Thomas Tayebwa is going to be part, they will help to unite us," he said.