The two-week-long East African Community (EAC) Inter-Parliamentary Games came to a successful end in Kigali, Rwanda on Monday, 18 December 2023.
The closing ceremony that took place at Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village was climaxed by the award of medals in recognition of the best East African parliaments and outstanding individual performances in the annual sports tournament that kicked off on 08 December 2023.
Uganda, who were the defending champions from last year, once again emerged as the overall winner of the 13th Edition of the EAC Games.
In athletics, Uganda was the overall best performer with a cumulative 36 medals, 23 of which were gold medals, eight silver, and five bronze. Tanzania and Kenya settled for the second and third positions respectively.
Captained by Hon. Moses Magogo (NRM, Budiope East County), Uganda’s Parliament football team was crowned champions of soccer after an unbeaten campaign with a maximum of 15 points, scoring a record 32 goals and conceding only two.
The golf team led by the Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa emerged the best ahead of other EAC parliaments with 270 and 268 points for men and women respectively.
The men’s basketball team, captained by Hon. Mwine Mpaka (NRM, Mbarara South Division) took the winner’s trophy, while the women’s team settled for the second position behind Tanzania.
The women’s volleyball team took the first slot, while the netball side took the second spot after Tanzania who emerged as the best.
Uganda also scooped several medals in tug of war and darts bringing home a total of seven trophies.
The Chairperson of the Joint Planning Committee of the EAC Games, Hon Francine Rutazana lauded the hosts, Rwanda for the conducive environment for the member states to participate in the games, adding that this year’s tournament has been a success with high levels of compliance to rules.
“The disciplinary committee received only three cases [of indiscipline], this is a surprising tournament because, in the last tournament, there were at least five cases of indiscipline reported every day. This means that there has been more compliance to the rules and there is need to maintain the spirit,” Rutazana said.
In his remarks, Deputy Speaker, Tayebwa urged East African countries to use sports to build bridges for peace and cohesion.
“Let us make sports part of our lifestyle because our work is so stressful, we sit for long hours… Sports can help us build our countries, liberate families, and build friendships,” Tayebwa said.
He is also hopeful that the 14th edition of the EAC Games that will be hosted in Nairobi, Kenya will bring on board all the East African countries.
“We must make EAC work, we have no option. Our forefathers have done their part…In the next tournament, I hope all East African countries will participate,” Tayebwa said.
Hon. Tulia Ackson, the Speaker of Tanzania’s National Assembly and also the Chairperson of the Bureau of Speakers of the EAC challenged East African parliamentarians to enhance youth participation and address pushing African problems.
“As parliamentarians, you need to make youths part of the decision-making process in your countries. Let us also work together to ensure we have People with Disabilities in our parliaments and also advise our governments on issues of poverty, climate change and environmental degradation,” she said.
The Inter-Parliamentary Games tournament is an annual sporting event that brings together members and staff of various parliaments in the EAC.
The tournament is a key aspect of building relations between the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) and EAC National Parliaments in line with Article 49 (2)(a) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. EALA mooted the idea in 2001 to enhance interaction with the EAC Partner States and as a mode of sensitization and popularization of the integration process.