By Mary Poni
South Sudan is expecting more than one thousand parliamentarians from across the East African Community region who are coming to participate in the inter-parliamentary games scheduled to commence on the 25th of this month in Juba.
The Speaker of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly, Rt. Hon. Jemma Nunu Kumba who recently won the chairpersonship of the East African Community speakers’ forum declared the kickoff of the games on 25 November 2022.
She made the confirmation of the games during yesterday’s sitting after her visit to Nairobi with some members of the August House to attend the fourteenth session of the East African community Speaker’s forum.
According to Nunu, there will be 170 delegates from Uganda, 300 delegates from Kenya and 1,000 delegates from Tanzania. Meanwhile the other remaining EAC member States are yet to confirm their list of delegates that are expected in Juba to participate in the games.
The Speaker disclosed that the main agenda in the fourteenth session of the EAC Speakers’ Forum was about the parliamentary games that is set to take place in the country this month and the forum agreed on the final date of the games’ commencement.
The forum listened to the reports of the joint technical committee, the planning committee that visited South Sudan twice to access “our readiness to host the parliamentary games,” she said.
Jemma said the report from the EAC member States was positive and that they were satisfied with the facilities that the country has, the sports facilities in Juba, the accommodation, the health facilities that are available just in case somebody got in to an accident or maybe fell sick.
Speaker Nunu however underscored that they were having challenges on the budget for the games but she said lucky enough last Friday, the Ministry of Finance was able to release some money from the amount that was budgeted for the games.
Meanwhile all those who are preparing to play especially the parliamentarians have been notified that they are left with only few days around ten to nine days to wind up with their training.
Speaker encouraged all the parliamentarians who would be participating in the games to fully get ready such that they can be able to win some of the trophies.
She noted that it is being stipulated in the rules that only parliamentarians and assembly staff will play, there will be verification of the players to make sure that all of them are MPs and the staff of the parliament.
Nunu said the MPs will be 63% and staff will be 37% so that the combination of the players in every game is set to commence well.
“We have to go by the rules and the authorities for the tournaments said there are penalties to any parliament that will go against the rules and punitive measures that can be taken against a particular country” she stressed.
“On the issue of the visa, she said there are some countries that are also members of the East African Community that are still paying visa to come to the country but now we have made some arrangements between South Sudan and Kenya and Uganda for free visa” said Nunu.
She stated that the respective citizens should not require any visa to enter any of these countries though there are some countries like Burundi and Rwanda that are still in the process of the arrangements because it is not yet completed.
Jemma Nunu said the teams coming are requested to get a visa such that they are not charged and there is also an alien fee which is also paid by foreigners that should be waved for the purpose of the games.
She said the security organs and other institutions like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of National Security will coordinate the work because it will give the guests best hospitality that we can offer.