VIOLET MENGO, Lusaka
SPEAKER of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini says the 134th Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) is an important platform for resolution of conflicts that threaten democracy.
Dr Matibini said this in Lusaka yesterday during a press conference ahead of the start of the meeting today.
â€œThe IPU provides a very important space for people from different parts of the world to sit down and resolve some thorny areas of conflict which are a danger to democratic governance,â€ Dr Matibini said.
He said the hosting of the 134th IPU assembly and related meetings is an important milestone in the rich history of the African continent.
He said the IPU has campaigned tirelessly to improve the status of women and, in particular, to encourage their participation in politics.
Dr Matibini said the meeting of the women parliamentarians held on March 17 was a resounding success, an indication that women are ready to take their rightful place in the different parliaments around the world.
â€œI have no doubt in my mind that the Zambian women parliamentarians will use the knowledge they gathered from experiences of other parliamentarians to help them to encourage as many women as possible to not only stand for parliamentary seats, but to also turn up on voting day to cast their ballot,â€ Dr Matibini said.
He said this yearâ€™s theme, which is â€˜Rejuvenating democracy; giving voice to the youthâ€™, could not have come at a better time than now when the majority of the constituents whom parliamentarians represent are the youths.
Dr Matibini said hosting the meeting will raise the profile of the city of Lusaka and Zambia.
He said the meeting will bring economic benefits and business investment which will cover transport operators restaurant and hotel owners.
And IPU secretary general Matin Chungong said 670 members of parliaments are expected for the meeting from 125 national parliaments.
He said 88 speakers and deputy speakers are leading their delegations.
And IPU president Saber Clowdhury said the meeting is being held at a time that many countries are struggling economically.
Mr Clowdhury said Zambia has always been an active member of IPU.
â€œIt is particularly pertinent that the main theme of our assembly here is rejuvenating democracy,â€ he said.
VIOLET MENGO, Lusaka