Rwandan president calls for addressing challenges in East Africa

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Rwandans President Paul Kagame on Tuesday urged the East Africa Community (EAC) to address challenging issues, such as insecurity, bad governance and corruption, while concerting its integration efforts.

Kagame's remarks were contained in a speech read for him by Rwandan Senate President Bernard Makuza in Kigali at the opening of the sessions of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), a legislative organ of the EAC.

Kagame reiterated that all East Africans must eradicate the "business as usual" mindset and strive towards strengthening integration, according the speech.

Kagame urged East African countries to involve citizens in the integration process for tangible benefits.

He called on East African countries to facilitate the implementation of the regional common market protocol through relevant legislations, saying any delay would cost citizens a number of opportunities.

EALA Speaker Daniel F. Kidega noted that East Africans were interested in seeing more tangible benefits from integration through the various integration pillars.

"With regards to the Customs Union, we are glad the Summit is pushing for the operationalization of the Single Customs Territory to streamline and enhance clearance of goods," Kidega said.

Meanwhile, Kidega said that the Assembly was concerned about the current situation in Burundi.

"Many lives have been lost, others maimed, peace disrupted, property damaged and the economy destabilized following the rapid escalation of violence and the instability over the last few months. The situation is worrying and could be dire and grave," Kidega said.

"I have recently had the opportunity of meeting with the President of the Senate of Burundi and called upon him to rally the country's legislators to go above and beyond the call of duty in restoring stability," Kidega said.

The speaker also urged the EAC to seek alternative mechanisms for funding.

Over the next two weeks, the East African lawmakers would debate the EAC Forest Management and Protection Bill, and the EAC Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Bill, among others. Endi

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