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Calls for African Parliaments to espouse the principles and fundamental values enshrined in their respective constitutions

Saturday, August 18- Gaborone, Botswana

Calls for African Parliaments to espouse the principles and fundamental values enshrined in their respective constitutions characterised the opening ceremony of the 49th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (Africa Region) at the Grand Palm Resort in Gaborone, this morning. Speaking when he officially opened the Conference, the Vice President of the Republic of Botswana, H.E Slumber Tsogwane called upon Speakers and Members of African Parliaments to live true to the calling of their mandate for the Parliaments to retain their sancitity and respect from the citizenry. " It is important that we seek ways to ensure that the Parliamentary Processes in each of our Member States meet certain standards and are beyond reproach, noted, Hon.Tsongwane.

Addressing the delegates, the President of the CPA Africa Region and Speaker of the National Assembly of Botswana, Hon. Gladys Kokorwe, urged her colleague MPs to ensure that economic growth is accompanied by job creation if the issue of regional security is to be effectively addressed. Noting that Parliament is an important institution through which voices and the will of the people is expressed, she called upon Parliaments to uphold integrity and promote democracy so as to safeguard the diminishing public faith in the institution of Parliament.

The Outgoing Chairperson of the Executive Committee , CPA Africa Region, Hon. Lindiwe Maseko, noted that the 49th Conference offers the delegates an opportunity to brainstorm on the old and emerging security threats on the African Continent. She implored upon the delegates to innovately design new responses to these new challenges. Hon. Maseko steps down from her position after serving in the executive committee since 1996. The Speaker of the National Assembly Hon. Justin Muturi, is poised to succeed her, during the elections to be held during the Annual General Meeting, slated for Tuesday.

During the opening session, Speaker Muturi who has been at the forefront of championing for the change of Status of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association from a charity to an International Organisation, was commended.

The Deputy Speaker in the National Assembly of Cameroon who is also the Chairperson of CPA international, Hon. Emilia M Litaka, paid tribute to Speaker Muturi for his guidance as the chair of the committee of the experts that was reviewing the CPA (Africa Region) Constitution, and for being at the forefront to advance African agenda and reforms at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Headquarters. She also thanked Kenya's Premier Parliamentary Institute, the Centre for Parliamentary Studies and Training (CPST) for partnering with the CPA to develop capacity for legislators and staff.

The Conference which ends on 22nd August, also saw Zimbabwe and Gambia, who had exited the association, express their willingness to resume their membership.