Parliament and the Outside World
After a largely false start that peaked with the rise to power of Idi Amin and the damage in international reputation that followed, Uganda has steadily retaken its place in the community of nations.
Currently, President Yoweri Museveni is the chairperson of the East African Community, for instance. He has also been chairperson of the African Union and Uganda also took leadership of the Commonwealth after the country hosted Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2007. This is to mention just a few leadership positions that Uganda has taken on the international stage in recent years.
On this journey of offering leadership that has earned Uganda recognition across several parts of the world, the Parliament of Uganda has played a significant role over the years.
From closer to home, the Parliament of Uganda works closely with the East African Legislative Assembly based in Arusha, Tanzania, which is also presided over by Hon. Dan Kidega, a Ugandan.
Further afield in Johannesburg, South Africa, a contingent of Ugandan parliamentarians represent the country in the Pan-African Parliament, which brings together legislators from all over Africa to discuss the issues that afflict the continent.
The Parliament of Uganda is also a member of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), which Speaker Rebecca Kadaga led for a year after Uganda hosted the IPU Assembly in 2012. The Uganda Parliament also plays an active role in the activities of the Commonwealth parliaments, among others.
As the principal diplomats of Parliament, Speaker Kadaga and Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah usually take part in a number of activities in different parts of the world with the view of emulating good practice from different parts of the world and enhancing Uganda’s image abroad.
Apart from engaging with presidents, prime ministers, speakers and other leaders from elsewhere in the world, the Parliament of Uganda also has been engaging with Ugandans abroad as a cardinal part of its activities in the outside world.
This engagement with Ugandans abroad arises from the realisation that Uganda’s Diaspora plays a vital role in enhancing the development of the country, among other things. For this reason, for instance, the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and a number of MPs every year attend conventions by Ugandans in the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
These engagements with the Ugandan Diaspora usually entail the discussion of a number of issues, many of them of a policy and legislative nature that touch on the wellbeing of Ugandans both in Uganda and abroad.
During the latest interaction with Ugandans living in America, for instance, Speaker Kadaga engaged on a number of issues, including easing the acquisition of dual citizenship for Ugandans living abroad, investment opportunities in Uganda, waiving taxes on remittances by Ugandans abroad etc.
These issues are bound to inform policy and legislative debate in the country with the view of helping Ugandans abroad to live more comfortable and meaningful lives, and in return contribute to the wellbeing of their loved ones back in Uganda and the general development of the country.
From the foregoing, it is obvious that the Parliament of Uganda needs to engage the outside world regulary be it leaders of other countries or Ugandans abroad.
Through these engagements Parliament has projected a positive image of the institution and the country and tourism potential and opportunities for investments available in Uganda
In this special report, we cover various activities in which the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and different players from the Parliament of Uganda have been engaged in abroad in recent months.
Parliament engaging the outside world in pictures
LR – Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong and IPU President Saber Hossain Chowdhury The Rt. Hon. Depuy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah 2nd from right Speaker Rebecca Kadaga at the CPA Conference in the United Kingdom Ngora District Woman MP Hon. Jacquiline Amongin stressing a point during a debate on Female Genital Mutilation hosted by UNFPA in South Africa