Tayebwa vows to engage EU on unfair trade restrictions after being elected to bureau of OACPS

18 Feb 2024

LUANDA, ANGOLA— Uganda’s Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa has been elected member of the bureau to represent East Africa to the Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) – European Union General Assembly. 

Tayebwa was elected during the 64th session of the OACPS Parliamentary.

Assembly and Constitutive Sessions of the OACPS-EU Joint Parliamentary Assemblies happening in Luanda, Angola, between 17 – 21.

Tayebwa will be representing Mauritius, Seychelles, Djibouti, Comoros, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. 

Key among others, Tayebwa said he will  focus on the implementation of the Samoa Agreement which has replaced the Cotonou Agreement that had been running for over 20 years. 

“We shall be engaging strongly with the European Union coalition’s to deal with climate change, gender parity, energy transition, human rights, Peace and Conflict Resolution, and democracy which are cornerstones of the international framework,” he said. 

Tayebwa promised that he will be a voice of the Global South—focusing on the unfair trade practices including unfair trade restrictions, which are coming from the European Union.

“We shall engage the EU on energy issues and renewable energy. We must be able to exploit our resources without damaging the environment, but also  Africa, which is contributing only 3% of global emissions cannot be the one paying the price and receiving the heaviest penalties, when it comes to energy transition,” he added. 

“We are going to be five members from Africa that are going to be negotiating with the European Parliament on these issues, and I hope that if we can remain focused from a pan Africanist perspective, then we should be able to engage the European Parliament and achieve much more,” he added.

Martin Peters Owino, the Kenyan MP said Tayebwa will ably represent the East African region. 

“I think with him heading the East Africa regional section, we will be much stronger and we want him to bring us together, first of all communicate effectively that we may discuss issues before it comes to the floor when we have the sessions. In that way, we may have articulated very well what is affecting us”.

“One thing that he(Tayebwa) said which I want to repeat here in the assembly, is that this kind of regionalizing African states should not be used to weaken our stand as an African continent.” “We should  turn that kind of strategy into strength. We may start from issues with trade imbalances, issues of democracy, and other issues that affect us. So, I want to say to my friend congratulations and work so hard for the people of East Africa in this regard.”

The OACPA-EU Assembly brings together an equal number of elected MPs from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states and Members of the European Parliament. 

Opposition Chief in the Ugandan Parliament, John Baptist Nambeshe said Tayebwa’s election comes with huge opportunities for Uganda and the region. 

“Our region grapples with unique challenges that will require aggressive negotiators like the Rt. Hon Thomas Tayebwa to be on that team to unite Africa because already there are signs of causing rifts for Africa to divide us. So, we are now in three different categories of Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific but with the likes of a formidable team, where the Rt. Hon Thomas Tayebwa is going to be part, they will help to unite us.”

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