Development Legal and Parliamentary Affairs

IPU’s Angola meeting spotlights role of women and youth in Parliamentary processes

Dignitaries attending the 147th Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly
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The Speaker of Parliament, Hon Advocate J.F.N Mudenda, and President of the Senate, Hon M.M Chinomona are in Luanda, Angola, attending the 147th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly and Related Meetings. Speaker Mudenda is a member of the IPU Executive Committee representing the Africa Geopolitical Group. Concomitantly, he attended the Executive Committee meeting on the 21st and 22nd of October. The Executive Committee meetings precede the Assembly meetings and subsequently submit reports for adoption by the Governing Council of the IPU.

The activity report by the IPU President Duarte Pacheco for the past six months was well received and covered all the five Geopolitical Groups of the IPU. The Executive Committee commended the IPU President for the extensive Committee Report and that of the Secretary-General. Several members of the Executive Committee extolled the sterling work undertaken by the IPU President, in particular, Speaker Mudenda commended Honorable Pacheco’s work ethic and vigorous energy in reinforcing the visibility of the IPU globally. The high standard that he has set should be emulated by the incoming President, who is hoped will operate at the same level and possibly strive to surpass the bar set, Speaker Mudenda opined.

In the spirit of inclusivity with a special accent on the role of women and youth in Parliamentary processes as reported on by Hon Pacheco, Speaker Mudenda highlighted that Zimbabwe had made significant strides as highlighted by the incorporation of the constitutional provisions that guarantee 10 seats for the youth in the National Assembly. It was encouraging that 40% of recently elected MPs in Zimbabwe have an average age of 40 years and below. This speaks volumes of the commitment by the Government of Zimbabwe to uplift the formerly marginalised demographic groups in tandem with IPU resolutions regarding youth inclusion in political participation in Parliamentary processes.

The meeting commended Speaker Mudenda, especially the outgoing IPU President who acknowledged Speaker Mudenda’s clarity of thought and solid legal insight which have enabled the Executive Committee to make sound decisions guided by the IPU Statutes. On this score, the outgoing IPU President, Hon. Duarte Pacheco, lamented the anticipated loss of Speaker Mudenda on the Committee as his tenure of office terminates at the conclusion of the 147th IPU Assembly. President Pacheco suggested to the Committee that it consider a special advisory role to be assumed by Speaker Mudenda.

Furthermore, the IPU Executive Committee discussed in depth the state of the financial affairs of the IPU after the presentation of the financial statements by the Chairperson of the Finance Sub-Committee as buttressed by the Secretary-General. What emerged was that the IPU finances are quite sound and have been prudentially managed. This position has been confirmed by the independent external auditors who gave an unqualified assessment in the 2022 audit report. An observation that came through the report of the Chairperson was that a few member Parliaments were in arrears, subsequently, the Chairman urged that member Parliaments should be encouraged to update their subscriptions so that they are not suspended or lose their voting rights. Geopolitical Groups were encouraged to cajole member Parliaments to expunge their arrears.

In the same vein, it was reported that development partners continue to support the IPU through regular annual donations. What was stressed, which impressed the Executive Committee, was that these contributions should not be in excess of 25% of the total IPU Budget. This guarantees that the IPU remains an independent and autonomous international and multilateral organisation that should not be beholden to donors.

The 2024 estimated Budget was subsequently presented by the Finance Committee covering the five strategic areas of the IPU Development Strategy Plan (2022-2026), namely, Building effective and empowered Parliaments, Promoting inclusive and representative Parliaments, Supporting resilient and innovative Parliaments, Catalysing collective Parliamentary action and strengthening the IPU’s accountability. In that context, the Executive Committee resolved to implement the 3% subscription increase as resolved in Bahrain during the 146th IPU General Assembly meeting. It is hoped that this increase will boost the implementation of IPU programmes.

Senate President, Hon M.M Chinomona is expected to contribute to the work of the Forum of Women Parliamentarians during the course of the week where she will articulate the country’s position on Women‘s Parliamentarian issues.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende