Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia, Rt Hon Mr Justice Dr Patrick Matibini, SC, BA, FCIArb, MP joined other Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Speakers and Heads of Delegation in attending the 50th CPA Africa Region Conference held in picturesque Zanzibar, Tanzania from 30th August to 5th September, 2019. The Conference which was held under the theme: “E-Parliament: Seamless Platform for Facilitating Democracy” was officially opened by H.E Dr Ali Mohammed Shein, President of Zanzibar and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council.

President Shein remarked that by embracing Information, Communication and Technology (ICTs), the region and continent would make further progress not only in development but in democracy as well. H.E. Dr Shein lauded the CPA for the pragmatic topic of discussion. “This theme is important and relevant to technological development and global efforts to promote democracy….Embrace of E-Parliament remains a vital step in enhancing legislation, representation and oversight”, H.E. Dr Shein added. He continued by stating that “Through E-Parliament systems, Members can connect to constituencies and the people they represent and as such, will enable citizens also to present their views and opinions through e-processes and to reduce on costs”.

Other notable speakers during the official opening included the Speaker of East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), Rt Hon Ngoga Karoli Martin who emphasized the role of ICTs, saying it was a key ingredient in revolutionalizing the mode of doing business in all sectors, including Parliaments; and the Speaker of the Kenya National Assembly and Chairperson of the CPA Africa Executive Committee, Rt. Hon Justin Muturi who called for the adoption of “Paperless Parliaments’’ and reiterated that the effective usage of internet was a catalyst in parliamentary democracy. Rt. Hon Rebecca A Kadaga of Uganda who is also the host for the forthcoming 64th CPA International Conference scheduled for 22nd to 27th September, 2019, Rt. Hon Job Ndugai of Tanzania Parliament, and the host for the 50th CPA Conference, Rt. Hon Zubeir Ali of the Zanzibar House of Representatives were the other Speakers who took to the podium during the opening ceremony. 

Zambia’s conspicuous participation in the Conference was evidenced through its leader of delegation, the Rt. Hon Mr Justice Dr Patrick Matibini, SC, BA, FCIArb, MP and the other members of the delegation who included Hon Mwansa Mbulakulima, MP who is also currently serving as the Vice Chairperson of CPA Africa Executive Committee, Hon Peter Daka, MP, Hon Evans Chibanda, MP, and Hon Attractor Chisangano, MP. As leader of delegation, the Rt. Hon Speaker attended the meeting between leaders of delegations and the leadership of the Association. In this meeting, Speaker Matibini provided invaluable judicial and legislative perspectives on some of the important matters under consideration by the Association which will shape its future.

The Zambian delegation made contributions to the resolutions of the Conference and to discussions in plenary in terms of how e-Parliament could facilitate democracy in Africa, thereby contributing to the success of the Conference.