Thomas Tayebwa Takes the Helm as East Africa’s Representative to OACPS-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, has been chosen as a representative of East Africa to the Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) – European Union Joint Parliamentary Assembly Bureau.

Tayebwa’s appointment took place during the 64th session of the OACPS Joint Parliamentary Assembly and Constitutive Sessions of the OACPS-EU JPA held in Luanda, Angola, from 17th to 21st February 2024.

Tayebwa will serve as the envoy for Mauritius, Seychelles, Djibouti, Comoros, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi.

Among his primary objectives, Tayebwa emphasized his dedication to the implementation of the Samoa Agreement, replacing the longstanding Cotonou Agreement spanning over two decades.

“We will actively engage with coalitions from the European Union to address critical issues such as climate change, gender equality, renewable energy transition, human rights, peacekeeping, and democratic principles, all of which constitute fundamental pillars of the global framework,” Tayebwa stated.

Tayebwa pledged to advocate for fair trade practices, challenging unjust trade restrictions imposed by the European Union.

“We will initiate discussions with the EU concerning energy policies and renewable energy sources. It is imperative to harness our resources responsibly without compromising the environment. Additionally, Africa, contributing a mere three percent of global emissions, should not bear disproportionate burdens or penalties in the energy transition process,” he emphasized.

“As one of the five African representatives negotiating with the European Parliament, I believe that a focused, pan-African approach will enable us to engage effectively and achieve significant progress,” Tayebwa added.

Hon. Martin Peters Owino, representing Kenya, expressed confidence in Tayebwa’s ability to effectively represent the interests of East Africa.

“His leadership in the East Africa regional section will undoubtedly strengthen our collective stance. We expect him to foster cohesion and facilitate pre-session discussions to ensure thorough articulation of our concerns,” Owino remarked.

“One crucial point raised by Tayebwa is worth reiterating here – the regionalization of African states should not undermine our continental unity. Instead, we must leverage this strategy to bolster our collective strength. We must address trade imbalances, democratic deficits, and other pertinent issues affecting us,” he emphasized.

The OACPS-EU JPA comprises an equal number of elected MPs from ACP states and Members of the European Parliament.

The Chief Opposition Whip, Hon. John Baptist Nambeshe, highlighted the significance of Tayebwa’s appointment for Uganda and the region.

“Our region faces unique challenges that demand assertive negotiators like Rt. Hon. Thomas Tayebwa to champion unity. We observe attempts to create divisions among African nations, and with a formidable team led by Tayebwa, we aim to foster unity across Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific regions,” Nambeshe remarked.