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OPENING REMARKS BY RT. HON. SEN. DAVID EKWEE ETHURO, EGH, M.P SPEAKER OF THE SENATE OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA DURING THE FIFTH ORDINARY SESSION OF THE PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE FP-ICGLR

The Hon. Major General (Retired) Joseph Nkaissery, MGH: Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of the Interior and Coordination of National Government of the Republic of Kenya;

Rt Hon Pie Ntavyohanyuma; President of the Forum of Parliaments of the ICGLR; 

Speaker of the Pan-African Parliament, Hon. Bethel Nnaemeka Amadi;

Speakers of Parliaments of Member States;

His Excellency Ntumba Luaba, Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes; 

The Secretary General of the Forum of Parliaments of the ICGLR, Hon. Higiro Prosper;

Leaders of Delegations;

Honourable Members of Parliament;

Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic corps – representing Member States;

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;

Good morning!

It is with profound honour and privilege, that I welcome all of you to Nairobi, Kenya this morning, for the official opening of the Fifth Ordinary Session of the Plenary Assembly of the Forum of Parliaments of Member States of the International Conference in the Great Lakes Region (FP-ICGLR).

On behalf of the Parliament of Kenya in general, the Senate of the Republic of Kenya who are hosting this important Conference and on my own behalf, permit me in our Kenyan fashion and indeed what has now become an African way of welcoming guests - I say Karibuni Sana. Karibuni Kenya. Please feel at home.  

Excellencies, Honourable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen

The Forum of Parliaments of Member States of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (FP-ICGLR) is an inter-parliamentary organisation which brings together Parliaments of 12 Member states which include the Republic of Angola, the Republic of Burundi, the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Uganda, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, the Republic of Rwanda, the Republic of Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Zambia.

I am glad to note with satisfaction that the attendance for this Conference has been exemplary and most successful. I wish to note that we have received over 100 delegates and participants from 11 of the 12 Member States and other invited guests. Zambia is not officially represented in this Conference because they are conducting their Presidential elections this week.

 

Honourable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen;

The establishment of the Forum of Parliaments of Member States of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (FP-ICGLR) was premised on the recognition that the ecologies and peoples of these countries were uniquely and highly interconnected and therefore any measure of political instability and conflict in any one of these countries would have considerable regional impact and thus concerted efforts were required in order to promote sustainable peace and development.

Indeed we are all witnesses of the myriad situations of turbulence that have been generated by multiple underlying factors within and beyond the Great Lakes Region which continually call for our attention as leaders, unity of purpose as inhabitants, concerted and collective effort of all who care about the well-being and progress of the peoples of the Great Lakes Region.

Honourable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen;

It is important to note that the 2015 Plenary Assembly will focus on three (3) main topics which were selected in accordance with the programmes provided for in the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region signed in December 15, 2006 in Nairobi Kenya by the Heads of States and Government of member States of the ICGLR and the current security situation in parts of the Great Lakes Region.

Honourable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen;

What is the goal of this Conference?

Five primary objectives have been enlisted for the Fifth Ordinary Session of the Plenary Assembly of the FP-ICGLR as follows:-

1.  To inform Parliamentarians about the current political, security and humanitarian situation in the ICGLR;

In particular, the recent developments on the political, security and humanitarian situation in Central African Republic, in the Republic of Sudan, in the Republic of South Sudan and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be discussed and consequent resolutions adopted;

2.  To support efforts made by the government of conflict-affected Member States for the prevention and the resolution of conflicts;

3.  To encourage National Parliaments of Member States of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region define and adopt the legal mechanisms designed to fight against illegal exploitation of natural resources and minerals;

4.  To encourage the Parliaments of the member States of the ICGLR to further policies and programmes promoting youth employment through the development of basic infrastructure and the promotion of investment in the region;

5.  To Strengthen the Forum’s internal capacity.

Expected from this Conference

During the course of the two days, it is my expectation that we will openly & actively contribute and benefit immensely from the presentations and discussions, which will focus on but not limited to the following:-

·        The role of Parliaments of Member States of the ICGLR in the fight against the illegal exploitation of natural resources;

·        Issues relating to youth unemployment, infrastructure development and investment promotion in the Great Lakes Region;

·        Supporting parliamentarians of the ICGLR member states in consolidating peace processes and national reconciliation in the troubled Member states;

·        Ensuring that the mechanisms of transparency and minerals certification are enhanced;

·        Adopting the resolution on the construction and renovation of border infrastructure in the Great Lakes Region;

·        Ensure that the results of the surveys on the domestication of the ICGLR’s legal instruments by member States are known, adopted and transmitted to the Governments and Parliaments of the Member States of the Great Lakes Region;

·        Consideration and adoption of the 2015-2016 action plan and budget;

·        Review and Adoption of the resolutions and decisions of this Fifth Ordinary Session;

·        Decision of the venue and date of the Sixth Ordinary Session of the Plenary Assembly of the FP-ICGLR; and

·        Adoption of the Nairobi Declaration at the end of the Fifth Ordinary Session of the Plenary Assembly.

Excellences, Honourable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen

Some challenges facing Kenya arising from acts of terrorism and insecurity

Permit me to briefly share with you a sketch about our own situation.

The Republic of Kenya has been faced with a huge challenge arising from heinous acts of terrorism. Terrorism as you all know is the new face of insurgency and is indeed a fast-growing regional and global phenomenon. Terrorism has cost Kenya dearly in terms of developmental resources which are diverted to contain its spread and repercussions as well as loss of property and innocent lives.

As you may know, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta rightly suggested recently, that the problem and challenge of terrorism is not only for Government and its institutions to resolve, but for the entire society, communities, civil society, the Media, Faith and county leaderships.

It is hence imperative that we now shift focus to total resolution not merely containment.

Kenya has for long been regarded and offered a safe haven for our neighbouring troubled countries, the effects of which come with huge costs. It is our expectation that this conference will frankly discuss these emergent realities and matters so that ultimately we are able to collectively own, initiate, adopt and execute sustainable solutions.

We strongly believe that with the support and solidarity of member States, Governments working with the people, we shall be able to forcefully address these problems of insecurity and conflicts around our Great Lakes region and truly embark on sustainable development.  

Honourable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before I conclude my remarks and call upon the next Speaker, permit me to share the inspiring message made by the President of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan, while addressing the World Economic Forum in Abuja on 7-9th May, 201 he stated and I quote…“The African Continent is rising. We must ensure that our poorer and vulnerable neighbours are carried along. We must ensure that there is maximum inclusiveness through creating opportunities for themselves.”

Further, Lyndon B. Johnson, one of the most visionary of the United States of America’s Presidents (1908-1973) often played down past & minor setbacks and inspired his people thus; and I quote...“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose”

I strongly believe that we have the necessary will and capacity to accomplish our set goals and together can achieve remarkable success, if we focus and work more robustly.

I therefore urge all member states of the International Conference of The Great Lakes Region to continually embrace the spirit espoused by these 2 great leaders.

Finally, I want thank you all once again for making time to attend this important Conference.

It is now my pleasure to invite the Secretary General of the Forum of Parliaments of the ICGLR, Hon. Higiro Prosper to deliver his address.

Thank you and God bless you.

 

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