The 9th Executive Council Meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU-IGAD) has opened with a call on regional speakers to use their positions to protect people from economic exploitation, vagaries of weather and bad governance.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting in Kamuli town on Sunday, the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga challenged her colleagues to also think about using their traditional tools of legislation, oversight and representation to champion the interests of the people.
“We are meeting at a time when South Sudan and Somalia still don’t have peace and security; when climate change is devastating our region; when many women and girls in our region are still subjected to cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment and torture under the name of cultural values,” she said.
The 9th Executive Council Meeting is being held at Century Hotel in Kamuli, 18 – 19 September 2016. Delegations from South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, Sudan and Uganda are attending the Meeting.
Although parliament has come under fire, with concerns raised over alleged conflict of interest for hosting the event at a Hotel owned by the Speaker, she has said the Meeting is being held in Kamuli to give chance to visitors to see and experience Uganda’s countryside and how local people live and cope with development challenges.
“We wanted you to see the roads, dwellings, gardens, markets, hospitals, our rural people and their hospitality,” said Kadaga.
The objectives of IPU-IGAD include to promote unity and strengthen ties of cooperation among member states; promote peace, security and stability within the sub-region and promote good governance, transparency and rule of law within member states.
“IPU-IGAD possesses the potent, at least from its objectives, to address some of the challenges faced in our region. Let us make it work for the common person in the region, the voiceless, the marginalized, disadvantaged and oppressed,” said Kadaga.
The Secretary General of the IPU-IGAD Member States, Amb. Mohamed Adam said the meeting was testimony of countries’ commitment to the grand goals and visions.
“These visions are embodied in economic development, political and social integration. The aspirations of the people of this region can be achieved since they have more in common than the Europeans who achieved the European Union,” said Amb. Mohamed Adam.
He said that there was need to work together to achieve peace in the region so as to combat poverty, environmental degradation, migrations, human trafficking and drugs.
Story By Catherine Ageno