Inter-Parliamentary Union On Africa
By Kisaka Robinson
This year Uganda hosted the 126th Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference on the theme of “The Parliament and People”. Over 2000 delegates from 160 countries were present although the remaining 33 of the UN’s 193 countries remain absent. The conference has helped Uganda and Africa to enjoy the global spotlight from March 31st to April 4th. The IPU was established in 1889 during the period of the scramble and partition of Africa before Africa’s states became what are now considered nations.
The IPU’s main aim is world-wide parliamentary dialogue and to work for peace and co-operation among people and democracy. The country to host the conference must, then, have its own democracy criteria checked. Now, since Uganda was chosen in Geneva 2009 by the IPU governing council, the rest of Africa should copy a lesson from her, as many African states lack transparency and democratic leadership and fail to award their citizens freedom to express themselves.
One of the key points of the meeting focused on the delegates blasting of Mali’s coup d’etat and they denounced its membership; but this was later was recalled after the coup leaders promised to restore parliament. Also the first global parliamentary report was unleashed at the IPU summit jointly with United Nations Development Programme and this shows ways in which parliament can help to promote democracy and human development. The report, “The changing nature of parliamentary representation” was launched in Kampala to refer to parliaments across the globe. One of the major issues addressed in the report includes “Challenges that face parliament as institution in the world today” as noted by Anders Johnson IPU Secretary General.
The 115 page report also recognized parliament as a central institution of democracy and urged that governments across the globe respect the necessity for a functioning democratic parliament. The issue of gender balancing within democratic institutions was also emphasized. The African states should focus on the expectation of the millennium development goals as many children in Africa in general still lack their freedom and acts like taking child soldiers are still rampant. Also diseases like HIV Aids, Malaria and TB continue to kill many; high mortality rates among women are still a challenge. The issues of poverty, deforestation leading to global warming, unemployment among youth, and human right abuses are also key factors that must be addressed moving forward. African governments should aim at capacity building of human rights and democratic governance in their respective countries so that we can enjoy the bright future for tomorrow’s generation.
Opinion Piece by Kisaka Samuel Robinson, Kampala.