All roads lead to Bujumbura as the 9th EAC Inter-Parliamentary Games Tournament (December 1-10th, 2018) commences. The Games themed: “Accelerating a people-centered EAC by connecting Parliamentarians and citizens through Sports” will bring together EALA and the National Legislatures. As at time of press, confirmation from the respective Legislatures was on-going – with some of the advance teams already in Bujumbura to acclimatize.
The Speaker of the Burundi National Assembly, Rt Hon Nyabenda Pascal, is expected to officiate at the commencement of the games and flag-off the ten-day extravaganza. The tournament takes place at the Prince Louis Rwagasore Stadium and other venues in the City. The tournament is to be preceded by a half-day Pre-Tournament Conference on December 1St, 2018, to nurture networking and bonding among the legislators.
A special football match pitting Hallelujah FC, associated with H.E. President Pierre Nkurunziza and an EAC Select side that features a mix of players from National Legislatures will be held at the Prince Louis Rwagasore Stadium on December 1st, 2018, ahead of the tournament kick-off.
The tournament disciplines include football, walk-race, netball, golf, athletics, tug-of-war and volleyball. Athletics which takes place at the Stade Olympique (in Nyabugete) will feature races in 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 metres, 800 and 1500 metres respectively for men and women. The 4x 400m relay and the 4x 100m races are also on the cards.
In football, defending champions, Parliament of Uganda will face stiff competition from the other Parliaments keen to dethrone them. Last December (2017), Parliament of Uganda won the title despite losing the last match (0-3) to an entire staff-side of the EALA. In men’s Volleyball, Parliament of Kenya who are the champs will have to put up a good fight with all Parliaments –going out guns blazing for the title. In women’s volleyball, all Parliaments are expected give themselves a good outing in a bid to dethrone, Parliament of Kenya. All games are expected to use the league format of play.
In athletics, Parliament of Uganda and Parliament of Kenya are the favorite in both male and female categories while Parliament of Tanzania, reigning champions in Tug-of-War, have similarly, promised fireworks.
The EAC Inter-Parliamentary Games is a key aspect building on relations between the EALA and the National Parliaments in the EAC region. The Games are held annually and on a rotational mode in the Partner States. Article 119 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community obliges the Partner States to promote close co-operation amongst themselves in culture and sports, with respect to the promotion and enhancement of diverse sports activities among other areas.