Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Rwanda and South Sudan are yet to confirm their participation in the East Africa Inter-parliamentary games, with just three weeks left to kick off. Uganda is scheduled to host the games slated for December 7 to 18, 2019.
The competition brings together participants from the six national parliaments, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, and the East Africa Legislative Assembly-EALA.
Ideally, delegations from the six national parliaments and EALA constitute a 24-man joint planning committee to ease communication and coordination of activities. This year’s Joint Planning Committee chaired by Gideon Thoar Gaptan, one of South Sudan’s EALA representatives, and Ugandan Legislator Susan Nakawuki is in Uganda to make final touches on the security, as well as the readiness of the facilities and the teams.
The committee held its first meeting in May in Dar-Es-Salam, Tanzania, the second meeting in Nairobi, Kenya in August and the third meeting in Kampala this week. But representatives from both countries have skipped all preparatory meetings for the annual competition.
Gaptan says that the committee is committee is concerned that the two countries have continued to shun the preparations, yet they have not stated whether or not they will participate in the games this year. He, however, downplayed reports that Rwanda’s nonattendance could be linked to the ongoing border closure dispute between Uganda and Rwanda.
He states that it is important that all the member states participate to fulfil the aim of the games which include showcasing regional unity, creating collaboration between the EALA and the national parliaments and establishing networks for citizens among others.
The games will take place at Mandela National Stadium, Namboole, Lugogo Indoor Stadium and Kampala Capital City Authority –KCCA’s Phillip Omondi Stadium in Lugogo.
The Participating teams will battle for a total of 495 medals in eight disciplines. These include basketball, golf, football, athletics, netball, tug of war, walk race and volleyball. Also, Persons with Disabilities will participate in the games, mainly in darts, in the spirit of inclusion.
Meanwhile, Masindi Woman MP, Jalia Bintu says that the committee has decided that each team will feature only two parliamentary staff and the rest MPs so that MPs can showcase their talent and capability in the eyes of citizens and their voters.
Bintu, the manager of Uganda’s Women’s team says that the rules apply for games that require more than five players.
Daniel Wanyama a representative from the Kenyan National Assembly told Uganda Radio Network that the two countries can even show up for the games without prior confirmation, because it is not a do or die affair but rather for the purpose of deepening regional integration. Wanyama, as head of Kenya’s sports club, says that his delegation will have 200 people.