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  • Hon. Musikari Kombo MP elected to ACP-EU JPA Presidency 30/11/2011

    In the just concluded 26th session of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Parliamentary Assembly and the 22nd Session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, which took place in Lomé, Togo, from 16 to 23 November 2011, Kenya was greatly honoured by the election of Hon. Musikari Kombo, MP, to the position of President of the ACP Parliamentary Assembly and Co-President of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.  

    Hon. Kombo joins the European Union’s MP, Louis Michel of Belgium, to form the presidium of the Parliamentary Assembly for the next two years. Hon. Kombo will represent the interest of the 78 countries of the ACP Group in all the ACP parliamentary affairs. This being the highest position in the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) is a great honour for Kenya, which has never held the position since the inception of the ACP-EU JPA .  In his acceptance speech, Hon. Kombo thanked the Eastern African member states of ACP for their unwavering support, and all the ACP-EU members for bestowing on him the honour to represent and serve them. The Eastern African member states of the ACP are comprised of Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Sudan, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda.  He called for continued support and guidance, and promised to carry out the high responsibility with diligence and to perform the role to the best of his ability.

    The ACP-EU JPA was created to bring together the elected representatives of the European Union in the European Parliament and the elected representatives of the African, Caribbean and Pacific states’ Parliaments who have signed and are part of the Cotonou Agreement.

    The matter of the security situation in Somalia featured prominently in the meetings in Lomé. The Members of Parliament from Kenya made briefings on the threats posed by the Al Shabaab insurgents to Kenya and the Horn of Africa region. They emphasized that the attacks had increased in the last few years, and had reached alarming levels characterized by attacks to African and EU nationals, humanitarian workers in Somalia and Kenya, to AMISOM ("African Mission to Somalia"), and to the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia. They condemned the recent attacks by the Al Shabaab in Kenya and the obstruction of humanitarian aid in Somalia by the militia. The MPs from both the ACP group of countries and the EU commended Kenya for hosting the over half a million Somali refugees at great cost to itself, and called for their redistribution to other countries to ease the burden on Kenya and to ensure better humanitarian assistance. A declaration on the security situation was issued by the Co-Presidents.

    Other important matters were discussed and various resolutions were adopted, including the Inclusion of Persons With Disabilities in Developing Countries (Kenya was co-rapporteur for the report on this), the Impact of Debt on Development Financing in the ACP Countries, the Impact of the Lisbon Treaty on the ACP-EU Partnership, and Declaration on the Security Situation in Somalia and Terrorist Activities of the Al-Shabaab, amongst many others.

    Top on the list was also the effect of the proposed amendment to the EU Market Access Regulations 1528 of 2007, the effect of which will be that the eighteen (18) non-LDCs (Least Developed Countries, Kenya being one of them) which have not signed or ratified the full Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), will have their goods removed from the duty-free quota free access to the EU Market from 1 January 2014. Hon. Kombo informed the meeting that the impact of this will see the Kenyan economy lose about Ksh. 50 billion in 2014 alone. The debate on this is continuing at all possible levels.

    The Kenyan delegation comprised of Hon. Musikari Kombo, MP, as leader of delegation, Hon. Joyce Laboso, MP, Hon. Mohamed Afey, MP, and H.E. Kembi-Gitura, the Ambassador of Kenya to the Kingdom of Belgium, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and to the European Union.