By Nangayi Guyson at Munyonyo in Kampala
Parliamentarians from around the world are meeting today in Uganda’s capital Kampala to attend the Inter –Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference which has kicked off here at the Commonwealth Speke Resort Hotel, Munyonyo.
The IPU is the focal point for world-wide parliamentary dialogue and works for peace and co-operation among peoples and for the firm establishment of representative democracy. The theme for today’s meeting is Parliaments and people: Bridging the gap.
The main items on the agenda will be: – Election of the President and Vice-Presidents of the 126th Assembly, Consideration of possible requests for the inclusion of an emergency item in the Assembly agenda, General debate on the political, economic and social situation in the world with the overall theme of Parliaments and people: Bridging the gap, approval of the subject items for the 128th Assembly and appointment of the Rapporteurs, access to health as a basic right: The role of parliaments in addressing key challenges to securing the health of women and children (Third Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights), Redistribution of power, not just wealth: Ownership of the international agendas (Second Standing Committee on Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade) , Promoting and practicing good governance as a means of advancing peace and security: Drawing lessons from recent events in the Middle East and North Africa (First Standing Committee on Peace and International Security).
The conference agenda will debate as emergency, recent events in the Middle East as well as the situation in Syria is threatening and the parliamentarians will focus much on calling for an immediate end to the violence and human rights abuses currently taking place in Syria. The Egyptian, United Arab Emirates and Canadian parliaments have so far submitted proposals on Syria that would get lawmakers around the world join international efforts to find a peaceful and democratic solution to the conflict.
Last night, the current IPU President Abdelwahad Radi announced the suspension of Mali from the IPU following a military coup last weekend that toppled the government of President Amadou Toumani Toure’s government. The IPU leaders condemned the Mali coup leaders for ousting the democratically-elected government of President Toure.
Speaking to the press at Serena hotel in Kampala last night, Mr Radi said that Mali has been suspended from all IPU meetings due to what happened on March 22 when the army took over the country and there is no parliament as of now. He went on to say that the coup d’état was not democratic and that it would be good if the mutinous soldiers handed back power to the elected government in order to restore peace in the country. Radi revealed that all Mali MPs ran away to neighbouring countries after the coup. He said since the union is for MPs, Mali currently has no Parliament and has therefore been suspended until when it elects a new parliament.