25 March 2019

Kenya and Rwanda Senates Sign MOU to Deepen Parliamentary Cooperation

Nairobi — Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka has completed his four-day visit of Rwanda which realised the signing of Memorandum of Understanding that will see the Senates of the two States help enhance bilateral relations between the people of both countries.

Lusaka and his host, Rwandan Senate Speaker Bernard Makuza concurred that their countries enjoy strong relationship and so a cooperation agreement between the two legislatures will go a long way in cementing these ties.

"In order to further deepen our friendship, there is no better time than now to explore opportunities from the parliamentary cooperation between our Houses... Parliamentarians are now more than ever stepping outside their legislative chambers to speak directly with their international counterparts," he added.

Lusaka noted that Parliamentarians were now, more than ever, stepping outside their legislative chambers to speak directly with their international counterparts.

"This MoU provides a solid framework for cooperation between our institutions where we undertake to among other aspects, foster inter-parliamentary co-operation in legislative and technical matters in thematic areas," said Lusaka.

"Developing initiatives for the strengthening of the capacity of parliamentary staff in our respective legislatures enhances the quality of output made by parliamentarians."

According to the MoU, both Houses shall develop administrative initiatives, including conferences, forums, information seminars, staff attachment programmes, workshops, exchanges and international events that promote examination and exchange of information on key bilateral issues and fundamental work and procedures.

They shall also collaborate in their mutual interests in regional, continental and international multilateral parliamentary bodies.

On his part the President of the Senate of Rwanda, Bernard Makuza said that they want, among other things, to partner on having one voice on matters of importance to the people of the two countries at international parliamentary forums, and seek to exchange experience and expertise to further their operations.

"We want to utilise the power of advocacy achieved through parliamentary diplomacy. We meet in various international forums bringing together parliaments from Africa and European countries and other parts of the world such that there are issues that are discussed," he said.

"And when there are agreements like these countries have an agreed upon written clause that they base on to endorse each other so that the voice of Africa, Kenya or Rwanda be heard," Makuza indicated.

Both Speakers were optimistic that the relations between the two national legislatures would flourish and be in tandem with the Executive-led warm relations exhibited by their countries' Presidents.

During the visit that included a meeting with President Paul Kagame, Speaker Lusaka noted that there was good pace in terms integration in the EAC, adding that there was need for more efforts to make it a seamless, strong economic block, where member states are able to trade among themselves.

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