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•The Keynote speaker, Hon Amanya Mushega:
•Distinguished Presenters and Panelists:
•Ladies and Gentlemen:
Allow me to express my sincere thanks to Makerere University Convocation for inviting Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung to be part of this symposium. I note that today’s symposium is second in a series of debates to be organized under the KAS-Convocation partnership after the first one that was held last March. KAS is convinced that discussions of this nature present an opportunity for facilitating dialogue and deepening our understanding of numerous issues in building a democratic and politically enlightened society in Uganda and the wide world.
I wish to point out that today’s topic is of special interest to us as an organization: the European Statesman Konrad Adenauer in whose name and legacy KAS was founded happened to be a strong believer in regional integration. In particular, Konrad Adenauer was among the first European leaders to initiate the idea of the European Union. We can proudly say that the great EU of today is a brain child of great leaders amongst who was Konrad Adenauer. On our part therefore, to participate in this debate is to continue the legacy of our beloved founding father.
I personally hold a strong belief that international blocks are essential in building frameworks for accelerating development. It is for example uncontestable that the EU has been a critical instrument in connecting and facilitating development within member European countries. The EU has in many instances used its economic potential to influence and promote democratic governance and the respect for human rights in member countries. I similarly envisage an East African Political entity with strong economic benefits that can be used as leverage in ensuring that democratization, good governance and human rights shrive in the region. In addition the accruing economic benefits within the regional block are anticipated to empower citizens economically and improve their quality of life. This in turn enables people to make objective choices in political and democratic processes such as elections. I am also convinced that the federation will be handy in enabling East African countries to enhance technical cooperation and develop best practices in dealing with many of the challenges of development such as unemployment, conflicts and diseases particularly HIV/AIDS and malaria.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is because of our strong belief in the relevancy of regional unity that KAS takes special interest in the success of the East African Political Federation. We shall continue making our contribution in different ways; for example, later this year, KAS will provide an exposure visit for selected members of the East African Legislative Assembly from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania to Germany and selected EU institutions. This will create an opportunity for EALA members to have practical experiences with the functioning of the EU and as well enable them to create networks and linkages that could be tapped for now and in the future to develop the EAC
It is my hope that today’s symposium is able to realize intended objectives and serves as another step closer to realizing the East African Political Federation.
Peter Girke, Country Representative KAS.