64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference shaping the Global Agenda.

Security. This is the hallmark of the NRM’s many achievements in Uganda and Africa. In 2007, Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) deployed to Mogadishu. Many did not agree with this tactical decision BUT President Museveni, thankfully, stuck to his decision.

2007 was also the year a delegation from the Republic of Somali land attended the 20th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at Munyonyo in Uganda. This 20th meeting also marked the first appearance of both HRH Prince Charles together with the Duchess of Cornwall at a Commonwealth High Level Summit. Today both Somalia and Africa are much safer from the scourge of terrorism.

We have the Security to Imagine, to Innovate and to Prosper. We have the security to enjoy democracy’s benefits. This is why Parliament of Uganda, for 8 days starting September 22nd, is hosting the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC). The CPC is one of the largest gatherings of Commonwealth parliamentarians and is a unique and valuable opportunity to network with legislators for shared-learning and to build diplomatic relations.

CPC will this year include the landmark 30th Anniversary Conference of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) as well as the election of the new Chairperson of CWP.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference is themed as Adaption, Engagement and Evolution of Parliaments in a Rapidly Changing Commonwealth. In excess of 500 parliamentarians, parliamentary staff and decision makers from across the Commonwealth are expected. CPC affords Uganda and the entire Commonwealth a networking opportunity. It also offers the prospect of the coming together of the CPA’s global membership of Parliamentarians and Parliamentary staff to address the critical issues facing today’s Parliaments.

Across the Commonwealth, the role of parliaments is safeguarding nations ‘sovereignty’ as  well as promoting and championing the rule of law, respect of human rights, also fighting poverty and climate change cannot be underscored. In Uganda, following the promulgation of our constitution in 1995, Parliament has continued to be an active arm of government.

It continues to pass legislation that helps Uganda confront our national challenges and within globally accepted responses to crises such as Climate Change, Refugee policy, Security engagements etc.

Our Speaker Rt. Hon. Rebecca Alintuma Kadaga is a globally respected icon of Adaption and Engagement. Among her many honorable achievements is being Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Chairperson of Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) from 2013-2016. She had previously been the Vice-Chairperson of Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (International) as well as an Executive Committee Member of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly representing Africa. She is an embodiment of the strength and vitality of WOMAN in a Ugandan setting – a setting deliberately encouraged by the NRM’s ideology.

This ideology has seen significant improvements made in the accessibility and quality of girls’ education in Uganda. The female literacy rate has increased from 45 percent in 1991 to 68 percent in 2014. Continuing this trend for girls’ education in Uganda is necessary to transform the country.

At the 63rd CPC held in Bangladesh, the conference program included two plenaries and eight workshops, with some workshops including presentations by experts from international organizations. Workshops were held during the conference on a wide range of topics including the role of Parliamentarians in building stronger ties within Commonwealth; giving voice to the youth: mechanisms for ensuring effective participation of the youth in the governance process; how can CPA Members work with their own governments in ensuring that the SDG goals have a proper gender lens, to ensure success in the areas of alleviating poverty and women’s empowerment; small jurisdictions and big problems: Logistics and infrastructure challenges.

This ideology was part of an original set of 10 strategic interventions by the NRM government – 10 point program. The first two of these points were the return and inclusion of all adult Ugandans in issues of governance through village committees and parliament. This would be a basis for a rejection of Insecurity because the rights of citizens would be safe guarded.   

In many ways, these goals have become part of the UN’s Sustainable development by goals. They are important for parliaments within the Commonwealth to create new nuances.

With an expanding repertoire of first class hotel and tourism packages, the CPC is an excellent showcase opportunity for Uganda to Adapt, Engage and Evolve.

The writer is a Communications Assistant at Government Citizen Interaction Centre (GCIC), Ministry of ICT and National Guidance.