Members of Parliament converge in Dar es Salaam for the EAC games
As the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Senior Challenge pitting National Soccer teams start in Nairobi, Kenya on December 3, 2017; all roads similarly lead to Dar es Salaam for the 8th EAC Inter-Parliamentary Games planned for 2nd to 11th December, 2017.
The regional games —themed “Integrating Citizens and Strengthening Inter-Parliamentary Relations through Sports”—bring together the National Parliaments of Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya and Uganda. Parliament of Rwanda and the Transitional National Legislative Assembly of South Sudan have sent their apologies while at the regional Assembly (EALA), staff shall participate as a guest team at the ten-day tournament.
Team Kenya is entering the games as the defending champions in both Volleyball and Golf and as runners-up in Tug-of-War and Athletics. Kenya recorded the commendable performance at the previous edition of the games that were held in December 2016 in Mombasa, Kenya — when the Kenyan parliament played host to the games.
Machakos Town MP, Hon Victor Munyaka has taken charge of the Athletics Team while the new Kakamega Senator, Sen Cleopas Malala has taken charge of the Football Team.
The Volleyball Team is led by seasoned international sportsman and Webuye West MP, Hon Dan Wanyama who is the Volleyball captain, while the Golf team is steered by Kieni MP, Hon Kanini Kega. Luanda MP, Hon Christopher Omulele is the captain for the Tug-of-War squad.
On the other hand the Netball Women’s Team boasts of TransNzoia Woman Representative, Hon Janet Nangabo at the helm, while Volleyball Women’s Team —who were the runners-up in the last games — are being led by Malindi MP, Hon Aisha Jumwa. Newly elected Deputy Speaker, Hon Moses Cheboi will lead the Kenyan delegation on behalf of National Assembly Speaker, Hon Justin Muturi. He will be accompanied by Bunge FC Chairman and Kanduyi MP, Hon Wafula Wamuninyi.
The Parliament of Kenya sports team — comprising both Members of Parliament and Staff — have been training hard and is upbeat about its performance at the regional games.
“I urge Members to take this opportunity [recess] to take part in the on-going trainings in sports disciplines of their choice every Tuesday and Thursday at the Public Service Sports Club along Mara Road, Upperhill from 6.30 am to 9.00 am…It is my desire to see Parliament of Kenya form formidable teams and win trophies,” Speaker Muturi said in his Communication to the House, early November.
Tanzanian Parliament Speaker, Hon Job Ndugai is expected to officiate at the official opening of the ten-day event that will take place at the Main Stadium in Dare salaam, the adjacent Uhuru Stadium in Temeke District as well as the Jakaya Kikwete Youth Stadium at the City Centre. The tournament will be preceded by a half-day Pre-Tournament Conference on December 3rd, 2017, to nurture networking and bonding among the legislators.
The tournament will for the first-time feature a walk-race —a newly introduced sporting discipline. Other disciplines include football, netball, golf, athletics, tug-of-war and volleyball. Athletics will feature races in 100 metres, 200 metres, 400 metres, 800 and 1500 metres respectively for men and women. The 400 x 4 relay is also on the cards.
In football, defending champions, Uganda will face stiff competition from the other Parliaments keen to dethrone them. Last year Uganda beat Burundi 7-6 in penalties during a scintillating final played at the Mbaraki Sports Ground, Mombasa, to reclaim the trophy.
In men’s Volleyball Kenya who are the defending champions will have to put up a good fight with all Parliaments—going out guns blazing for the title. In women’s volleyball, all Parliaments are expected give themselves a good outing in the absence of the trophy holders Rwanda. Last year Rwanda were declared champions after beating Kenya two sets to zero (25-19 and 25-19).
In Netball, Uganda is expected to renew rivalry with the hosts Tanzania whom they beat last year 38-29 to retain the title for a second year running. The third place went to Burundi who beat EALA 30-19.
In Athletics, Uganda emerged overall winners after capturing gold in a majority of the races including Tug-of-War for both men and women categories, while Kenya bagged the Golf trophy. On the other hand Burundi was feted as the most disciplined team in the entire tournament.
The EAC Inter-Parliamentary Games is a key aspect building on relations between the EALA and the National Parliaments in the EAC region. The Games are held annually and on a rotational basis in the Partner States.