SA backs Dr Ackson’s IPU presidency bid

South Africa has lent its support to the candidature of the Speaker of the National Assembly of Tanzania, Dr Tulia Ackson, to be the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

“We believe that the IPU needs a young and vibrant person with new ideas to take the IPU forward and ensure that transformation takes place where necessary.

“Dr Ackson has the necessary expertise for the role,” Mapisa-Nqakula said on Monday.

Mapisa-Nqakula led the South African parliamentary delegation to the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) Executive Committee (EXCO) meeting in Mahe, Seychelles, from 27 to 28 May 2023.

She said other SADC countries will start lobbying other groups within the continent to support Ackson’s candidature, who is also the chairperson of the Africa Geo-Political Group.

The IPU is the global organisation of national parliaments. It empowers parliaments and parliamentarians to promote peace, democracy and sustainable development.

Mapisa-Nqakula described the outcomes of the EXCO meeting as a positive step towards the establishment of the SADC Parliamentary Forum that will be well placed to champion the accelerated integration and development of the region and its people.

The two-day meeting considered and endorsed several progress reports on the execution of its programme of action, which includes economic integration, ratification of the SADC PF protocol by various national Parliaments, and the state of readiness for the 53rd SADC Parliamentary Forum Plenary Assembly Session, scheduled to take place in Dar es Salaam from 2 to 8 July 2023.

The meeting also endorsed a number of proposals, including the establishment of a learning institute using a SADC PF facility in Namibia.

It supported calls for united African parliaments to ensure that the continent features a single candidate to canvas for the IPU presidency during the IPU Assembly scheduled to take place in Angola in October this year.

The proposal received the support of most SADC member parliaments at EXCO level, with the exception of Malawi.

Promoting unity

The EXCO also noted with concern the tendency of African parliaments that adopt different positions on critical matters necessary for the continent’s development at global multilateral fora, such as the IPU, and urged all member parliaments to prioritise continental unity.

Emphasis was placed on the need for Africans to prioritise issues relevant to the development challenges plaguing the continent.

It emerged that most of the time, Africa gets to the IPU and ends up endorsing emergency items imposed on the Africa Geo-Political Group by other regional blocks.

As a region, the EXCO has agreed that this is a matter that has to be raised at the level of the Geo-Political Group.

Mapisa-Nqakula said Africa must be better organised and coordinated to ensure that it supports one emergency item at the IPU.

“[We] will have to compromise where it is necessary and focus on issues that really affect the continent in a profound way,” the Speaker said.

This will also ensure that the serious challenges facing the continent, which include the conflict in Sudan and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, will receive the necessary attention.

“These conflicts affect the lives of women and children, with the Sudan conflict described as having even far-reaching destructive consequences on Sudanese civilians.

“This challenge of conflict is part of the issues we believe should be discussed so that when we get there, we understand as a region what should be our priority to support,” Mapisa-Nqakula said. –

Source: South African Government News Agency