László Kövér, the speaker of Hungary’s parliament, on Monday met his counterpart Moses Masika Wetangula and Amason Kingi Jeffah, Senate’s president, in Nairobi on the second day of his official visit to Kenya.
Kövér is the first house speaker to visit Kenya since the 1989/90 democratic transition.
Kövér called Kenya “the leading economic and political actor in east Africa”.
He praised Kenya’s developments over recent decades and its “stabilising role” in east Africa, including its fight against terrorism and its role in regional security, as well as its management of migration.
Referring to a visit to Budapest in 2019 by Wetangula’s predecessor, Justin Muturi, Kövér said that his visit would hopefully facilitate closer bilateral ties and put relations on a new footing so that Hungary can once again play an active role in the sub-Saharan African region.
He said Hungary supported closer cooperation between the European Union and Kenya and the drafting of the Transitional Economic Partnership Agreement and its soonest possible implementation. Resulting partnerships, he added, would help to create a predictable economic environment and encourage mutually beneficial trade, investment and political cooperation, the statement said.
The sides vowed to establish friendly parliamentary ties as soon as possible.
Respective parliamentary committees for economic affairs could even come to agreements online on specific cooperation opportunities, Kövér added.
Wetangula and Jeffah expressed thanks to the Hungarian government for providing academic scholarships to 200 Kenyan university students each year, a “generous” and far-higher quota than any other EU country provides.
Prior to his bilateral talks, Kövér delivered an address to Hungarians living in Nairobi at an event hosted by the Hungarian embassy to mark the upcoming March 15 national holiday. In his speech, Kövér drew a parallel between Hungary’s 1848/49 revolution and freedom fight and Kenya’s liberation from colonial oppression and becoming independent sixty years ago.
“March 15 is for us, Hungarians, irrespective of where we live in the world, the birthday of our freedom in modern times,” Kövér said. He asked the event’s participants to “tell your Kenyan friends that March 15 is the celebration of freedom of a country that had never had an ambition to colonise any other country in its thousand-year history in Europe”. “March 15 is a celebration of a nation that was has been treated as a colony within Europe many times. But the Hungarian nation has always resisted such attempts and, even at the cost of sacrifices and suffering, it has always defended its own freedom,” Kövér said.