Ugandan scoops leadership position in continental Parliament

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MIDRAND, SOUTH AFRICA: A Ugandan legislator has been elected Vice-Chair of the Women Caucus of the Pan African Parliament.

Honourable Anifa Bangirana Kawooya (NRM, Sembabule) was elected unopposed during the East African Caucus Meeting of the continental legislature on Monday in Midrand, South Africa. The African legislators have currently convened in Midrand for the Fourth Ordinary Session of the Assembly where they will debate a wide range of issues affecting the continent.

am excited about the opportunity to serve at the continental legislature and I would want to thank the Eastern Region for the trust they have put in me to be the Vice-President of the Women Caucus,” she said adding “I am passionate about issues of gender and I promise to execute this responsibility well. I will not let down my country and the region.”

Kawooya becomes the second Ugandan legislator to hold a position of leadership in the PAP after Hon. Jacqueline Amongin, who is currently the Chairperson of the Committee on Rural Economy, Agriculture and Natural Resources.

In her position as Vice-Chair of the Women Caucus, the legislator has an uphill task to advocate for issues of women and girls on the continent where Female Genital Mutilation and child marriages are still prevalent. Her role in the continental body will be to push for legislation that protects women and girls from such harmful cultural practices. According to a recent UNFPA report, over 3 million girls are at risk of FGM in Africa with an average of 2 million underage girls giving birth in Africa every year.

The 4th Ordinary Session of the Pan African Parliament opened Monday and will run from 8th – 19th May 2017. The African legislators gathered in Midrand, South Africa will discuss among others, the activity report of the Pan African Parliament; the food security situation in Africa including matters of peace and security. The MPs will also debate the draft African Union model laws on protection of cultural property and the law on Policing in Africa. The role of the African Parliament in promoting free movement of people and the African passport is also part of the agenda.

Established in 2004, with its headquarters in Midrand, South Africa, the Pan African Parliament, was set up in order to ensure the full participation of African peoples in the development and economic integration of the continent. It was envisaged from the onset that PAP should have full legislative powers with its Members elected through universal adult suffrage but as it stands now, the organ exercises only consultative and advisory powers.

The Pan African Parliament is composed of five parliamentarians from each of the African Union member states, whose members, the Treaty says, must reflect diversity of political opinion in each national parliament.

Uganda’s delegation to the PAP includes Hon. Jacqueline Amongin (NRM, Ngora), also leader of the delegation; Prof. Morris Ogenga-Latigo (FDC, Agago North); Hon. Anifa Bangirana Kawooya (NRM, Sembabule); Hon. Felix Okot Ogong (NRM, Dokolo South) and Hon. Babirye Kadogo (Ind. Buyende).