Parliament has trained protocol practitioners with the aim of equipping them with etiquette skills ahead of the forthcoming 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC).
The training, which was held at Parliament on Wednesday, 11 September 2019, was attended by over 100 protocol officers from Parliament, Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
They were asked among other attributes, to be well informed about the Conference, participating countries and Uganda as a country.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga who officiated at the training told the protocol officers that they have to show delegates that they are knowledgeable about their countries.
“When you show a guest that you know them and where they come from, they feel important,” Kadaga said.
The Speaker was quoted telling her Members of Parliament to avoid reckless sex with Commonwealth delegates, wearing miniskirts or ‘overloading’ their plates [eating too much food].
“I don’t want my MPs impregnated by some Jamaican MP who they may never see again.”
She also tipped the protocol practitioners on the importance of having the right flags of all the participating countries.
“When I go for a meeting, the first thing I look for is our flag. If it is not there, I will walk out because you do not know that I am there,” said Kadaga.
She stressed the need for protocol officers to respect cultural diversity, saying that the conference will be attended by delegates from different religious and cultural backgrounds.
“When you are handling a Muslim delegate, do not wear short outfits. I think we shall have to assign Muslim officers to handle Muslim delegates,” Kadaga said.
The Chairperson of the CPC Budget Committee, Hon. Elijah Okupa said the protocol officers should exercise high level of discipline as they execute their duties.
“Try to resist getting angry, always keep calm. We do not want you to give us a bad name because of your indiscipline,” Okupa said.
The Counselor at the Directorate of Protocol and Public Diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Michael Karugaba, urged the protocol team to read more about the conference, saying that they will be the first point of contact.
“You should always be able to provide information to any delegate whenever called upon. If you do not have the information, always know where it can be found,” Karugaba said.
He added that non-observance of protocol creates mistrust and tension, thus, a recipe for disaster.
“Everything that goes wrong is potentially a protocol issue. An incident happened in Munyonyo years ago where the air conditioner malfunctioned and protocol was blamed,” Karugaba said.
He also urged the protocol practitioners to give guidance on the usage of Uganda’s national symbols during the conference.
Uganda is slated to host the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference from 22 to 29 September 2019, after last hosting it 52 years ago.
The conference will take place in Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort under the theme, ‘Adaptation, Engagement and Evolution of Parliaments in a Rapidly Changing Commonwealth’.