Speaker of the National Assembly, the Right Honourable Nelly Mutti, MP has called on Parliamentarians to embrace diversity of ethnic, culture and religion in order to fighting injustice and intolerance in societies. 

Hon Mutti said that an inclusive society is key to peaceful coexistence among people in every society. She observed that intolerance in Africa has unfortunately had a devastating impact on the continent, which sadly, has led to deaths and displacement of many people especially women and children She said that this has further worsened their socio-economic status.  

Speaking at the on - going 146th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Manama, Bahrain Honourable Mutti, MP urged the gathering of Parliamentarians to urgently address intolerance with the involvement of all stakeholders. 

She challenged the Parliamentarians to put in place some measures to address the challenges which may include putting up policies aimed at reducing inequalities, facilitating interpersonal healing and promoting ideologies that build on communal identities.

‘It is therefore imperative for parliaments to position themselves and spearhead an ambitious fight against intolerance, owing to their centrality by virtue of being representative institutions and through their legislative, oversight, and representative functions’ she stated Hon Mutti.

She informed the gathering that Zambia was largely and predominantly heterogenous in terms of tribes or ethnic groups but despite its diversity, the country remains a model of peace and stability in the Southern African region because it has generally undergone peaceful transitions between political regimes.  

She however observed that there are some factors that have led to some degree of intolerance or exclusion which can be clustered into political, leadership contestations which can be either political or within ethnic groupings, land and boundary issues, intolerance due to poverty and inequality, among others.

Hon Mutti informed the gathering that in order to address these challenges, the Zambian Parliament takes advantage of various opportunities and also uses different initiatives and parliamentary tools, one of which was overseeing the progress made in the application of national values and principles in line with our Republican Constitution.  She further said that the Republican President reports to the National Assembly on the progress the country would have made in the implementation of these values and principles the previous year. 

Hon Mutti, stated that, through its legislative function, the Zambian Parliament has also played a critical role in creating an enabling environment for peaceful coexistence and inclusivity by enacting relevant pieces of legislation to promote peaceful coexistence. 

‘We have passed laws that speak gender equity, equality and integration; protecting minority persons such as the disabled; against cyber-crime; criminalisation of actions that are undertaken with the intention of raising discontent among the inhabitants; criminalisation of electoral violence, which acts as a stumbling block to some citizens, especially women and the youth; and promotion of equal opportunities in employment, among others”, she said.

She noted that the Zambian Parliament has strived to lead by example by practising inclusiveness and peaceful co-existence by having parliamentarians of different sex, age, ethnicity, occupational and educational backgrounds in the Committees, Caucuses as well as on parliamentary delegations.

The Assembly which is being held in Manama, Bahrain has attracted over 30 Speakers of Parliament and over 1700 delegates in attendance from across the world. The Assembly is being held under the theme “Promoting peaceful coexistence and inclusive societies: fighting intolerance”