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290th session of the IPU executive committee meets in Lisbon, Portugal

HONORABLE Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe and member of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Executive Committee is currently in Lisbon, Portugal attending the 290th Session of the IPU Executive Committee Meeting from 28th to 30 June 2023.

The Executive Committee deliberated several issues including IPU Regional Offices, the status of preparations for the 147th Assembly and Related Meetings scheduled for 23 to 27 October 2023 in Luanda, Angola, the Cremer-Passy Prize and the election of the new President of the IPU.

On 28 June 2023, prior to the commencement of the 290th Session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Hon. Advocate Mudenda paid a courtesy call on Hon. Augusto Ernesto Silva, Speaker of the Assembly of the Republic. Discussions focused on the fraternal relations between the two sister Republics anchored on Portugal’s socio-economic and political ties with Southern Africa, particularly the large Portuguese population and the influence of the Portuguese language spoken in the region. The Host Speaker extended his appreciation to SADC in general and Zimbabwe in particular for the military support being rendered to Mozambique in the fight against insurgence in the Cabo Delgado region. Such support is critical in preventing the spread of terrorism and instability in the region.

The Hon. Speaker recalled the unwavering support extended to Zimbabwe by Mozambique during the latter’s protracted struggle for independence wherein Mozambique provided the rear base for the freedom fighters who were fighting the settler regime. In the spirit of sustained peace and stability in the region, Hon. Speaker Mudenda welcomed the recent integration of the RENAMO army into the National Army as a critical step to ensure internal stability in the country and the need for unity in the fight against insurgency in Northern Mozambique.

Hon. Speaker Mudenda applauded Hon. Duarte Pacheco, President of the IPU and a Portuguese national, for his innovative leadership and his tireless efforts in ensuring that the IPU Strategic Plan and policy direction are adhered to in line with the IPU Statutes and Rules. To this end, the IPU has achieved milestones during the tenure of the Hon. Pacheco’s Presidency.

As the term of Office of Mr. Pacheco comes to an end in October 2023 on the occasion of the 147th Assembly of the IPU scheduled for Luanda, Angola, Speaker Mudenda presented his candidature for the position of President of the IPU and appealed for the support of the Portuguese delegation in his bid for the IPU Presidency.

He posited that his decision to contest for the IPU Presidency was reached after careful consideration and soul-searching following pleas from several IPU member Parliaments. Accordingly, he presented the Host Speaker with his official letter seeking support from the Portuguese Parliament.

In affirmation of his suitability for the position of President of the IPU, Hon. Speaker Mudenda informed the Host Speaker that Africa had nominated him as the sole candidate for the Cremer-Passy Prize for the year 2023.

Hon. Speaker Mudenda commended and emulated the Host Speaker on his illustrious career in public service. He expressed confidence in his leadership as he presided over the house given his extensive knowledge in the public affairs of the Portuguese Republic.

As a member of the IPU Executive Committee, Hon. Speaker Mudenda witnessed the signing of the Agreement between the IPU and the Uruguay Senate Speaker on the opening of a regional IPU Office in Montevideo after more than 10 years of canvassing.

This IPU Regional Office is a pilot project designed to extend and deepen the IPU’s engagement with Parliaments in Latin America and the Caribbean region by encouraging inter-Parliamentary cooperation and facilitating the visibility of the IPU programmes. The second Regional Office which will serve the same purpose is expected to be opened in Egypt to cater for the African and Arab regions.

Hon. Speaker Mudenda and members of the IPU Executive Committee had the privilege to meet with the Head of State, His Excellency Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. The Head of State wished the IPU success in championing its Parliamentary diplomacy and attending to challenges affecting humanity. The President opined that no country is an Island in the global village and he, therefore, espoused multilateralism as an anchor to international solidarity and international relations.

Additionally, the Executive Committee witnessed the Parliamentary Session in the Portuguese National Assembly as the final Parliamentary engagement of the IPU Executive Committee.

On 30th June 2023, the Hon. Speaker Mudenda and members of the Executive Committee joined several Speakers of Parliament from across the globe, and other dignitaries in celebrating the International Day of Parliamentarism, a date the IPU was founded 134 years ago. The International Day of Parliamentarism was established in 2018 through a United Nations General Assembly Resolution. To mark the celebrations, the IPU President, seven (7) Speakers of Parliament including Hon. Speaker Mudenda and Prof. Saidov of Uzbekistan who is also an IPU Executive Committee member, reflected on the milestones achieved by the IPU, and the challenges facing humanity. They underscored the critical role of Parliaments as cornerstones for democracy.

They affirmed that Parliaments, as representatives of the people, have a duty to vigorously and collectively address global challenges. Accordingly, the interventions called for urgent action on global inequalities, conflict, climate change, terrorism, food insecurities, gender inequality and youth empowerment, among other issues. Furthermore, the Speakers emphasised engaging in dialogue as the best conflict way of resolving conflict.

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