The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) on Thursday, malady http://deltadiner.com/wp-content/plugins/nextgen-gallery/products/photocrati_nextgen/modules/nextgen_data/package.module.nextgen_data.php held a one-day Inter-Parliamentary Relations Seminar on the theme: “Poverty and Good Governance” in Nairobi.
The Speaker of the Kenya National Assembly, pill Rt Hon Justin Muturi opened the Seminar, often referred to as the Nanyuki Series, saying that, poverty, inequality and governance were inseparably related.
“Without good governance, bad policy choices will be made, the people would neither have voice nor power and the economy may likely deteriorate,” Rt Hon Muturi said.
The Speaker reiterated that poverty and inequality weakens the political processes and promotes deficient governments. He reiterated the importance of good governance, saying it ensures the participation of the poor in decisions that affect them and empowers them to get their views on the policy agenda.
“This gives voice to the people in the policy processes especially on poverty issues, it is a necessary and progressive step in an attempt to promote and sustain growth development and socio-economic transformation”
The Inter-Parliamentary relations Seminar was attended by Parliamentarians from the Parliament of Burundi, Parliament of Rwanda, Parliament of Kenya, Parliament of Uganda and the East African Legislative Assembly. Apologies were received from the Parliament of Tanzania.
In his remarks, the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, Rt. Hon Daniel F. Kidega, remarked that for the region to prosper, it was necessary to reduce poverty and create more opportunities.
Accordingly, 7 out of the 10 persons you see walking out there in the streets are jobless, while another 6 out of 10 live in informal settlements. The largest population, the youth, constitute about 8 out of 10 persons and their age range is below 30 years.
The inflows in terms of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) also rose from $2.6 Billion in 2013 to $ 4 Billion in 2014. The value of total intra-EAC trade rose from USD 1.8 Billion in 2004 to USD 5.1 Billion Dollars in 2015 representing a significant growth of 190 percent.
“The economic boom seems not to have translated in equal measures with income generation and employment opportunities. Poverty seems to be on the increase in the region with the gap between the rich and the poor widening. The concentration of wealth has remained largely unchanged over the years”, Rt Hon Kidega said.
He remarked that unemployment was a key factor often leading to increased crime, radicalization and terrorism and cited insecurity as one of the issues further compounds the misery of inequalities.
“We could be setting ourselves up for failure should we fail to mop up weapons and silence the guns in some of the Partner States in the region. Peace and security duly enables citizens to enjoy their freedoms and are a panacea to development”, he said.
The EALA Speaker called on Parliaments to unite in a bid to contain the challenges been caused by poverty.“I want to emphasise building a united front devoid of political affiliations in the struggle to contain poverty. I say so candidly because poverty and impoverishment can take advantage of conditions of exclusion, injustice, unresponsive leadership to further depress the wretched populace. Poverty does not delineate who supports Government or who is sponsored by Opposition in Parliament,” he added.
The representative of European Parliamentarians with Africa, Lord David Chigdey reiterated the collaboration between AWEPA and EALA and said the organization remained committed to the partnership.
“AWEPA highly values the close partnership we have built with the EALA since 2002, one year after EALA’s inauguration. Our cooperation has been built on trust and mutual respect. As a result, we continue to be able to jointly run successful programs that benefit East Africa’s citizens”, Lord Chigdey said.
He cited some of the areas of collaboration as hat including the arena of sustainable development goals.Lord Chigdey reiterated AWEPA’s belief in the notion that strong Parliaments at the national and regional levels lie at the heart of Africa’s long-term development, and thus at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Delivering the key note address, Prof Augustus Nuwagaba termed inclusive growth as a key roadmap to sustainable peace and prosperity.
While making recommendations, the Seminar called on the EAC Heads of State to re-assess the economic policies and make them conducive to empowering citizens to participate fully in economic, political and social affairs. They further want increased co-operation in the exchange of ideas on how to design policies and strategies that success stories in Africa and abroad have used to reduce poverty within short period.
The Seminar further tasks Members and the National Parliaments to increase cohesion in Parliaments and develop frameworks that support inter-party collaboration and collective action. In addition, it is important to enhance public hearings in order to support more participation, accountability and transparency. The issue of building trust is essential with the participants calling on the institution of Parliament to find ways of enhancing trust.
EALA in particular is been called up on to stem the tide of recurrent conflicts which have negatively contributed to poverty cycles in the East African Community Member States.
“It is important to increase awareness and sensitization efforts to mobilize support for East Africa Community affairs and regional integration”, a section of the report says.
Further, the need to broaden the outlook of the impact of poverty on crime, terrorism and radicalization and adopt common regional strategies for addressing factors that fuel such problems are key in stemming poverty and inequality.
On their part, East African political parties were called upon to assess linkages with voters and increase citizen participation in their activities. The participants want the parties to do away with elite capture and become more accountable to their members and the grassroots. This is a way of increasing professionalization and reducing the personalization or ethnicization of leadership.