President Yoweri Museveni has challenged members of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) to work towards uniting the African people. Museveni made the remarks during a meeting he had with visiting PAP Chief Fortune Charumbira who paid a courtesy call on him at State House last evening.
Senator Charumbira was accompanied by the speaker of parliament Rt. Hon. Anita Among and her deputy Thomas Tayebwa along with aline of MPs including Abdu Katuntu, Cecilia Ogwal and Felix Okot Ogong.
It is in this meeting that Among informed the president that Uganda had been chosen to host the next sitting of PAP slated for 10-21 October this year.
Among’s announcement left Museveni with smiles and thanked Charumbira and members of PAP for choosing Uganda to host this important sitting.
He however, challenged the members to build unity among Africans to solve the problem of prosperity and strategic security on the continent.
“My question to you now is, why do you fail to unite these Africans whom God united long ago through a common heritage of language and linkages? Why don’t you build unity for them so that they help you in your problem of prosperity and security?” Museveni asked.
Museveni also noted that since PAP doesn’t have the sovereign authority, the organ can take advantage of the advocacy powers it has to defeat what he called the wrong ideology of parochialism.
He pledged to lobby his counterparts from the member states of AU to support the implementation of the PAP objectives.
“I will tell them that I have found priests who are preaching the word of Pan-Africanism and you’re suppressing them by denying them the basics” he said to which Charumbira commended him for supporting PAP since it’s inception on 2004.
“Uganda is one of the members that have been supporting PAP consistently and was among the first to ratify the protocol to establish the body. I still remember how sharp you were when delivering your speech. After address delegates, we realized that you were very knowledgeable about the affairs of the continent. We were very impressed” he told the president before highlighting the challenges the continental body is facing.
Meanwhile, speaker Among who is the brain behind the bid to host this session, commended Museveni for championing the campaign to promote Pan-Africanism, saying the man from Rwakitura has always advocated for a united, coordinated and consistent Africa that speaks with a common voice.
“Uganda is the pearl of Africa, very peaceful under Gen. Museveni. That is why we’re able to promote what you’re fighting for” she said.
ABOUT THE MEETING
We understood that sometime back, the parliament of Uganda headed by Among bided to PAP Bureau to host the 4th Ordinary Session of the 4th PAP.
“Your Excellency, this in accordance with Article 16 of the Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union relating to the Pan-African Parliament. The article states that “the seat of the Pan-African Parliament shall be determined by the Assembly and shall be located in the territory of a State Party to this Protocol” Among told an attentive Museveni at State House.
However, according to Among, the Pan-African Parliament may convene in the territory of any Member State at the invitation of that Member State, something Uganda did and a chance was granted.
“Your Excellency, our interest as the Parliament of Uganda is based on consolidating the aspiration of the African peoples for greater unity, solidarity and cohesion in a larger community transcending cultural, ideological, ethnic, religious and national difference” she said, adding that the good news is that the Pan-African Parliament Bureau accepted Uganda’s bid to host this important session.
WHY UGANDA SHOULD HOST THIS SESSION
The speaker told the president that this meeting will have various benefits to the East African region which will be visible to the rest of the African Continent as well as the World.
In addition, she said; the meeting will provide a platform to tell the Ugandan story including its heritage and culture and also provide business to various service providers including those in the tourism and hotel sectors, transport among others.
The speaker said as Parliament of Uganda, it believes that the Session will provide responses to some critical issues that have affected the African continent right from the times of the liberation struggles to dismantle colonialism from the continent.
Among assured Museveni that as Ugandan parliament, they are also optimistic that some priority areas envisaged by the founding fathers of the Pan-African Parliament will be addressed at the meeting in relation to the Parliament’s core mandate.
She outlined to the president some of the priority areas including Unification of Africa to achieve the status of “One People, One Voice”, The adoption of the spirit of Independence in the individual states and the continent, and the possibility of halting any mechanism that allows colonialism to return in any disguised form through trade and development.
Other priority areas are on management and exploitation of these African resources. Among said that the fact that 60% of arable land in the World is in Africa and huge Mineral and Oil deposits in the same continent, the question of how best to harness these resources.
The meeting will also look at the structures we have in place as a continent to stop driving development in already developed countries through the export of raw primary products which feed their industries. Among said such export of raw materials from Africa create employment for their people while Africans are wallowing in unemployment and poverty.
Among also told Museveni that issues of gender, transport, media are of great importance to Africa.
The speaker requested the president to champion efforts to implore the African Union Commission and the African Union summit to empower the Pan-African Parliament. Of particular importance according to Among is the issue of adequate funding and strengthening the Parliament by transforming it from being Advisory to Legislative. Other areas of empowering PAP is by ensuring that all resolutions that are adopted be transmitted to all National Parliaments for endorsement and implementation. She added that PAP should put in place mechanisms to monitor implementation of its resolutions and to apply sanctions where there is non- compliance.
“PAP’s mandate as the legislature of the African Union Commission should include appropriation of funds to all agencies and organs, and monitoring compliance to good corporate governance practices” Among said.