Commonwealth parliamentarians arrive Abuja, COVID-19, security, economy to top discussions

The African region of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), on Tuesday, arrived Abuja, Nigeria, for its 51st annual conference, where the effects of COVID-19 on member states, economic stability and security, amongst other issues, shall be discussed.

This was disclosed to newsmen by the Clerk, Namibia Parliament, Ms Lydia Kandetu, shortly after presiding over the inaugural meeting of Society of Clerks-at-the-Table, an organ of the CPA that houses Clerks to the Parliament or National Assembly of member states.

According to Ms Kandetu, about 12 countries were expected to send representatives to this year’s CPA, where decisions on various issues shall be taken, saying, other countries might join later.

On the effect of the dreaded pandemic, Corona Virus on the Parliaments, Ms. Kandetu, said the conference would discus whether to resume full sittings in member states or not, adding that Parliamentarians have been meeting at irregular sessions and visually, since the wave of COVID-19.

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“The COVID-19, for example, has hit us so hard. So, this is the platform where we can also discuss issues of wether we can now start meeting physically or contniue visually as the case may be”, she said.

Speaking further, Ms. Kandetu said, the Namibian Parliament, particularly, had to divide its members to sit in different rooms, because of the social distancing.

“It wasn’t very easy, but the members were understanding and we have then decided that, only the parties should be represented in the chamber and other members sat at different rooms where they could also participate, it worked out very very well.

“Many companies closed. Many people lost their jobs. So many people lost their lives. A lot of people died, especially in the months of June – July in Namibia. We have lost a lot of people.

“The conference is going to discuss the issue of the countries that were hit hard and what are the possible solutions that can come up, so that each country can learn from the other country. So each country will tell a story that other countries are going to take back to their countries”, she added.

On his part, the Clerk to National Assembly of Nigeria, Mr. Ojo Olatunde Amos, said the conference would afford member states the opportunity to cross pollinate ideas on how to solve pressing issues in their countries.

Mr. Amos revealed that, the official opening of the 51st conference shall be done by the President of Nigeria, Muhammad Buhari on Thursday, 11th November, 2021.

Previously known as the Empire Parliamentary Association, the CPA was established 1st May 1944, as an organisation which works to support good governance, democracy and human rights.

The African Region of the CPA, which comprises of the 63 national and subnational legislatures, held its 50th conference in Tanzania in 2019, but could not sit in 2020, due to the COVID-19 wave.

Not less than 18 African countries shall be participating in the 51st conference, which holds from 8th to 14th November, 2021 in Abuja, Nigeria.

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