President Museveni urges Commonwealth Parliamentarians to uphold parliamentary democracy at the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference

The President of the Republic of Uganda and Vice-Patron of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), His Excellency Yoweri K. Museveni has urged Commonwealth Parliamentarians to uphold democratic principles and the values of the Commonwealth as he opened the 64 th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (64th CPC) for over 500 delegates in Kampala, Uganda. The President of Uganda spoke of the Commonwealth having great potential through its common language and opportunities for cooperation on trade, culture and governance. The President of Uganda said that one of the Commonwealth’s greatest achievements are its democratic institutions and that the huge population of the Commonwealth – 2.4 billion people – offers great opportunities to work together on trade, peace and democracy. The President of Uganda also read the goodwill message to the conference from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Patron of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and Head of the Commonwealth. Since 1989, the Vice-Patron of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association has traditionally been the Head of State or Government of the CPA Branch hosting the annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference. One of the largest annual gatherings of Commonwealth Parliamentarians, the conference will address key global issues and solutions. Against a backdrop of greater scrutiny of Parliamentarians, the CPA’s annual conference offers the opportunity for Members to benefit from professional development, supportive learning and the sharing of best practice with colleagues from over 180 Commonwealth Parliaments together with the participation of leading international organisations. The main conference theme for the 64th CPC is: ‘Adaption, engagement, and evolution of Parliaments in a rapidly changing Commonwealth’. The 64th CPC is being hosted by the CPA President (2018-2019), Rt Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda who said at the opening ceremony: “The CPA annual conference was last in Uganda in 1967 when the CPA Uganda Branch hosted the 13th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference. The fact that it has taken 52 years to host this conference again might reflect the struggles Uganda’s fledgling democracy faced in the past. But those dark days are long behind us. We have since evolved to become one of the reliable members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), internationally and regionally. I want to believe this is why we have been trusted to host this landmark event again. We are delighted to be hosting the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in 2019 and to welcome Parliamentarians from across the Commonwealth. Parliamentarians are the bridge between the people and the government.”

The Chairperson of the CPA Executive Committee, Hon. Emilia Monjowa Lifaka, MP, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Cameroon said: “The CPA connects, develops, promotes and supports Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and the implementation of the enduring values of the Commonwealth. CPA activities focus on the Commonwealth’s commitment to its fundamental political values, including: just and honest government, the alleviation of poverty, fundamental human rights, international peace and order, global economic development, the rule of law, equal rights and representation for all citizens of both genders, the separation of powers among the three branches of government and the right to participate in free and democratic political processes.” The CPA Secretary-General, Mr Akbar Khan was represented by Mr Jarvis Matiya, CPA Director of Operations at the opening ceremony of the conference and he said: “The CPA is a force for good on democracy, good governance and development. It represents and connects Commonwealth Parliaments, national and provincial, unitary, federal and territorial, large and small. It enables its Members to exchange views and deepen their understanding of their roles and responsibilities as the people’s representatives.” The vote of thanks on behalf of Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff attending the conference was given by the CPA Africa Region Chairperson, Rt Hon. Justin B. Muturi, MP, Speaker of the National Assembly of Kenya.

Zambia is among the participating countries and is being representated by the First Deputy Speaker, Honourable Catherine Namugala, MP, Dr Evans Chibanda, MP, Mr Peter Daka, MP, Mr Mwansa Mbulakulima, MP, Mr Elliot Kamondo, MP, Ms Princess Kasune, MP and the Deputy Clerk-Procedure, Ms Cecilia Sikatele.